Last September, Clemson and Auburn appeared to be equally-talented, closely-matched teams.
According to the recruiting rankings of the players on the two squads, that’s the way it should have been.
The comparison makes the two teams’ eventually bottom lines – Auburn’s 13-0 national championship run vs. Clemson’s 6-7 frustration - all the more inexplicable.
Using ESPN’s recruiting rankings as a measuring stick, Auburn recruiting classes were ranked 19th in the 2008, 25th in 2009, and fourth in 2010. Clemson’s 2008 class earned a No. 2 national ranking, and the Tigers followed with 19th-ranked classes in 2009 and 2010.
For 2011, ESPN ranked Auburn’s class 10th and Clemson’s 12th.
The four-year average comes out to a No. 13 average national standing for Clemson and No. 14 for Auburn.
For the ongoing 2012 recruiting cycle, ESPN ranks Clemson’s group of 10 committed players as the seventh best in the nation, while Auburn’s class-in-progress is ranked 13th.
Both Auburn and Clemson mine much of the same recruiting territory, overlapping frequently on players from Georgia and in Alabama in recent years as Swinney, first as an assistant and then has head coach, has expended Clemson’s presence in his home state.
Numerous prospects were offered by both schools during the 2011 recruiting cycle, including Clemson signees Spencer Region, who was once committed to Auburn, and Ammon Lakip. Auburn won out over the Tigers for defensive tackle Gabe Wright of Columbus, GA, and five-star linebacker Kris Frost from Matthews, NC.
Other 2011 Auburn signees offered by Clemson include running back Quin Bray of LaGrange, GA, defensive back Erique Florence of Valley, AL, quarterback Kiehl Frazier of Springdale, AR, and tight end Brandon Fulse of Fort Mead, FL.
Auburn’s 24-man 2011 recruiting class – which was ranked seventh nationally by Rivals (one spot ahead of Clemson) - included one five-star player, a dozen four-star players and 11 three-star prospects. Clemson’s group of 29 signees included four players rated with five-stars by Rivals, as well as six four-star prospects, 15 three-star players and four two-star prospects.
The headliners of Auburn’s 2011 recruiting class include Frost – the Tigers’ lone five-star recruit – and four-star prospects Jaylon Denon, a wide receiver from Hoover, AL; offensive lineman Reese Dismukes of Spanish Fort, AL; running back Tre Mason, from Lake Worth, FL; offensive linemen Greg Robinson from Thibodeaux, LA and Christian Westerman from Chandler, AZ; defensive backs Robenson Therezie of Miami, FL and Jonathan Rose of Leeds, AL; as well as Bray, Florence, Frazier, Fulse and Wright.
Nine of Auburn’s 2011 signees are from the state of Alabama, while five are from Georgia, three from Florida and one each from North Carolina, Arizona, Delaware, Arkansas and Louisiana.
There is currently just one player from the state of South Carolina on Auburn’s roster – redshirt freshman offensive lineman Eric Mack from St. Matthews – while there are six players from Alabama on Clemson’s roster, including redshirt freshmen running backs D.J. Howard and Demont Buice, who were recruited by Auburn for the defensive back and linebacker positions, respectively.
O&W 2011 Season Preview: Auburn