Following a rudderless 2012 campaign that saw one of the most high-profile and swift falls from grace in the history of college football, Auburn’s program continues to feel the scathing pain of an 0-8 conference campaign.
The athletic department really had no choice but to fire coach Gene Chizik despite having won the school a BCS National Championship only two years ago. Now that same athletic department must find a way to keep recruits interested in playing football for Auburn despite the fact that there is no head coach to lead the way.
Fans that were forced to deal with a putrid product on the field must now try not to wince at what is taking place at the prep level.
Chizik, despite what turned out to be a complete ineptitude on the football field (he was signed on to coach at Auburn having accumulated a 5-19 at Iowa State) had not forgotten how to recruit.
Now those same prep stars are being courted by rival programs.
Two, including four-star high schooler Trey Johnson, have already pulled out of their commitments to play for the Tigers.
“Trey wants to be fair to himself and to the teams that he has interest in,” Central Gwinnett coach Todd Wofford told 247Sports. “He isn’t going to address Auburn until they name a coach.”
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Johnson has the prototypical size to play D-I linebacker and had originally committed to join War Eagle Nation back in 2011, prior to his junior season.
Having already taken recent unofficial visits to Southern Cal, Penn State, Florida and Ohio State, Johnson will next be playing in the Under Armour All-American Game in January.
Even before the firing of Chizik was made official, recruits were waffling on their commitments. Another four-star, JaQuay Williams, began looking at other schools despite having committed to play for Chizik in February. His uncle and legal guardian, Kevin Ofchus, provided a pretty simple explanation as to why: His nephew will not get a second chance at this type of choice.
“Auburn is still in it; Don’t count them out,” Ofchus said on November 15. “There’s so much in the air right now that no one really knows what is going on over there. Right now, it’s a very iffy situation; there’s no decisiveness. No one is coming in and saying ‘Yeah, this staff is going to be here next year.’ It’s not like JaQuay will get a second chance to do this. That’s why he has to consider his options.”
After losing all eight conference games in 2012 and now two star recruits, how many more losses are Auburn fans going to have to suffer through before someone comes in and rights this sinking ship?
Latest from around Gamedayr >> Chizik is not the only coach to have been fired thus far; check out the entire list of flame outs here.