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Wednesday, February 6, 2013
First LOI to Auburn is a flip

By Jared Shanker

A recruitment filled with twists and turns, it only seemed right for Elijah Daniel (Avon, Ind./Avon) to flip to Auburn the morning of signing day following a late visit to The Plains.

Daniel, No. 34 overall in the ESPN 150, faxed his letter to Auburn on Wednesday morning despite entering signing day as an Ole Miss commitment. He was previously committed to Clemson as well.

What is the impact of Daniel’s decision?

What it means for Auburn: The Tigers land an elite defensive end to pair alongside No. 2 prospect Carl Lawson (Alpharetta, Ga./Milton), who is expected to stick with his Auburn commitment.

What it means for the teams that lost out: It is a tough blow for Ole Miss, which landed his commitment only a few weeks ago, but the Rebels can overcome it. They have a talented haul on the defensive line as well, headlined by No. 1 prospect Robert Nkemdiche.

Turning point: Daniel took an official visit to Auburn this past weekend and immediately connected with the coaching staff. Tigers assistant Rodney Gardner recruited Daniel’s older brother when Gardner was a coach at Georgia.

Surprise (scale of 1-5): 4. Daniel has family in Alabama, but he usually talked about the Tide when bringing up his family. Auburn only entered the picture a few weeks ago and was able to flip him from the Rebels, who were toward the top of Daniel’s list since November.

Immediate impact (scale of 1-5): 3. With a new coaching staff, there will not be any allegiances to the players already at Auburn, although head coach Gus Malzahn spent time on The Plains as offensive coordinator on the Tigers 2010 national championship team. Daniel could see some time as a situational pass-rusher by season’s end.