NCF On The Trail: Martez Ivey

SEC 2015 recruiting in review 

February, 13, 2015
Feb 13
It was another incredible year of recruiting in the SEC. More than one-third (117 prospects) of the ESPN 300 signed with SEC schools. The conference also signed 12 of the 20 five-star prospects, and 218 four-star prospects. All but two of the 14 SEC schools finished in the top 40 of the final ESPN class rankings. Here is a closer look at the 2015 recruiting cycle in review.

For all the solid work Jim McElwain and his coaches did down the critical 2015 recruiting stretch in the past month, those efforts should stand as a starting point for Florida's football program. That is by no means an end game or a standard for the Gators.

Not to sound like I'm getting ahead of myself too much, but Florida's 2016 recruiting class is critical to the success McElwain hopes to have during his tenure in Gainesville. The SEC is too good and the threat of sliding further and further in the SEC is nothing for the Gators to play around with. Just look at how long it's taken Tennessee to get back to relevancy, and that journey back toward the top still has a steep climb ahead for the Vols.

McElwain has yet to name a starting quarterback, let alone coach a single moment of practice, but in a fast-paced, cutthroat college football society, he and his coaches can't waste any time getting some sort of time with this 2016 class, which really could make or break McElwain's time at Florida. That might sound harsh or even like a bit of hyperbole, but look where Florida's program is now and look at the SEC around it. You can't afford to be a weak link in a conference as cannibalistic as the SEC.

The good news for McElwain is that he and his staff proved they have a clutch closing gene that helped transform a once hopeless 2015 Florida class into a top-20 group equipped with two five-stars and six ESPN 300 members. Another thing to consider is that recent new coaches in this league have had very good success with their second recruiting classes. From Urban Meyer to Butch Jones, a handful of first-year coaches in the SEC have cleaned up in recruiting with their second classes, and McElwain has to continue that trend.

What McElwain got in his first class with the Gators was a mixed bag -- some contents quality, some unknown. Landing immediate-impact five-star prospects Martez Ivey (offensive tackle) and CeCe Jefferson (defensive end) and playmaking hopefuls like running back Jordan Scarlett, wide receiver Antonio Callaway, and athletes D'Anfernee McGriff, Jordan Cronkrite and Chris Williamson gives the Gators a solid early foundation to work with, but it's no secret Florida needs more star power in its 2016 class.

McElwain desperately needed depth along the offensive line and signed five lineman, including two ESPN 300 recruits. That certainly helps with depth, but getting a little more quality there in 2016 will be essential. The same is absolutely true about the wide receiver spot, where Florida again needs legit playmakers, and quarterback, where questions abound this season.

Florida currently has just one 2016 commitment -- wide receiver Rick Wells -- but if recent history is any indication, McElwain and Co., who can sign a big class with such low scholarship numbers for this current team, could really make a statement with next year's class.

Not to immediately compare McElwain to Meyer and Nick Saban -- although Gators fans are hoping he reaches their level -- but those two went from having OK first classes at Florida and Alabama, respectively, to consensus top-five classes by major recruiting services (, and in Year 2. Florida ranked No. 1 in ESPN's class rankings in Meyer's second year (2006), while Alabama ranked third in Saban's second year (2008). Meyer went on to win two national titles at Florida, while Saban has won three at Alabama.

After bringing in a top-20 class during his first year at LSU in 2005, Les Miles landed a consensus top-eight class nationally in 2006 and won the national title in 2007. Former Auburn coach Gene Chizik reeled in a top-25 class in 2009, then won a national title in his second year and brought home a top-five class in 2010.

Even coaches who haven't won titles have recently had second-year recruiting success in the SEC. Hugh Freeze began his time as Ole Miss' coach in 2012 with a class that barely registered on the recruiting radar and then signed arguably the school's best class ever in 2013 with headliners like Robert Nkemdiche, Laquon Treadwell and Laremy Tunsil.

Butch Jones signed a top-30 class in 2013 and now has back-to-back No. 5 classes in ESPN RecruitingNation's class rankings. Of course, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn has signed back-to-back top-10 classes in his two years at Auburn, but he's just bragging at this point.

McElwain has a long way to go as a coach and a recruiter at Florida, and he hasn't even seen his team run actual plays on a field yet. But having a strong second year of recruiting is essential to righting Florida's ship. Heck, even his predecessor, Will Muschamp, signed the No. 4 class nationally in his second year, so there's a formula for recruiting success McElwain can follow. And with the way the SEC is moving, McElwain can't afford to get behind and must emulate those before him.

SEC signing day roundtable: Coach under pressure

February, 10, 2015
Feb 10
There is only one new face among SEC head coaches this year -- Florida’s Jim McElwain -- but a number of the league’s head honchos face increased pressure to perform in 2015.

Continuing this week’s SEC series of post-signing day roundtable discussions, today we’ll examine the conference coaches who are under pressure to make something happen after signing their newest class of recruits.

Edward Aschoff: Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss
Year 4 of the Freeze era is beginning, and expectations are about to explode in Oxford. After being on the cusp of an SEC West title and a spot in the first College Football Playoff, Ole Miss now has to stay in the thick of the title hunts. While Freeze has been enormously successful during his time at Ole Miss, he has now signed three straight top-20 classes, and now the 2013 class (the crown jewel of Freeze’s tenure) will be all grown up. If the bulk of that class is going to bring a championship to Ole Miss, the time is now because the heavy hitters, like Robert Nkemdiche, Laquon Treadwell and Laremy Tunsil, will likely head to the NFL after this coming season. There’s too much talent in Oxford for Ole Miss not to compete for a spot in Atlanta, and anything else will be considered a failure.

David Ching: Derek Mason, Vanderbilt
I was tempted to focus on Mark Richt or Les Miles because the natives seem to be getting restless at Georgia and LSU, but let’s go in a different direction. Mason probably needs to get more out of this 2015 class immediately than those two SEC veterans. Last season was a mess at Vandy, with the Commodores failing to put up a good fight in most of their nine losses. Their three wins came against UMass (by three points), Charleston Southern (by one) and Old Dominion (by 14), and they lost by an average of 18 points per game in SEC play. Now Mason enters his second season with two new coordinators (actually he’ll be his own defensive coordinator) and a recruiting class that ESPN ranked No. 44 nationally, dead last in the SEC. Mason told reporters on signing day that he staked his reputation on the quality of this class, which is all well and good. But if the Commodores don’t start looking like a more competent team this fall, I’m not sure Mason’s reputation as a head coach will be too great.

Sam Khan Jr.: Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M
I think Travis Haney said it best Insider that Sumlin must begin to reap the fruits of the recruiting labor he and his staff have put in over the last three years. The Aggies' classes ranked eighth, fourth and 12th nationally in Sumlin's first three full recruiting cycles, and the team now enters its fourth year in the SEC. He made significant coaching staff changes (including paying a pretty penny for former LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis), and overall the Aggies have recruited better than any team in their own state -- which is talent-rich -- since Sumlin has been there. It's time for the recruiting hauls to translate to the standings.

Chris Low: Mark Stoops, Kentucky
As it turns out, the sky didn't fall at Kentucky after the Wildcats lost six commitments in a span of eight days leading up to signing day. Thanks to some hustle by Stoops and his staff, Kentucky was able to plug some of the gaps late and finish with the nation's 43rd-ranked class. The problem was that Stoops reeled in the 20th-ranked class the year before, so expectations were lofty. As Stoops enters his third season at Kentucky -- with a brand-new contract that will pay him an average of $3.57 million per year -- expectations will be equally high on the field. Kentucky will be aiming for its first winning season since 2009. The Wildcats looked like they were on their way in 2014 after starting out 5-1, but wound up losing their last six games.

Greg Ostendorf: Jim McElwain, Florida
All things considered, McElwain deserves credit for this class. He took over two months before signing day and closed with a top-20 class that included five-star prospects Martez Ivey and CeCe Jefferson. But this class had a chance to be more than solid. It had the potential to be great. Florida missed on a number of homegrown prospects, including Byron Cowart and Jeff Holland, who both decided to leave home to play at Auburn for the man McElwain replaced. The first-year coach deserves a pass for this class, but he can’t keep letting the top players out of the state. Losing battles to Florida State is one thing. Losing battles to Will Muschamp and Auburn is another.

Alex Scarborough: Steve Spurrier, South Carolina
The great thing about Steve Spurrier is that you can take him at his word. But this time I think his openness hurt him. By telling reporters he thought he'd stay at South Carolina 2-3 more years, he had to turn some recruits off. I mean, who would commit to a program knowing the head coach wouldn't be there the whole way through? Though his 31-man signing class was solid, coming in at No. 21 overall in the country, it was what was missing that Gamecocks fans should find troubling -- most notably, four-star defensive players Damon Arnette and Arden Key, who both decommitted heading down the stretch. While you have to appreciate Spurrier’s honest assessment of himself, reading a head coach say this has to be jarring: "I don't think I did a very good job of maybe going full-speed as much as we needed as it turned out."

Derek Tyson: Butch Jones, Tennessee
After two top-five recruiting classes in a row, Tennessee head coach Butch Jones now has the talent on his roster to make a move in the SEC East. With Josh Dobbs showing promise last season and several other freshmen having standout years, including Derek Barnett, Jalen Hurd and Todd Kelly Jr., the talent is in place to have a big season on the field this year. Another 7-6 season could have Tennessee fans getting a little restless.
Give Jim McElwain this: He appears to have the closing gene.

After a late start and a major game of catch-up for Florida's brand new staff, McElwain & Co. were able to finish stronger than most expected in this staff's first recruiting season in Gainesville. A week ago, the Gators weren't even a blip on the SEC recruiting radar. Light years away from even top-40 class, the general consensus was that McElwain's first class with the orange and blue was going to be a dud -- maybe the worst in school history.

The firing of Will Muschamp coupled with the simple fact that McElwain wasn't the big-name coach that would electrify recruits appeared to be weighing on Florida's 2015 recruiting class, which was in the single digits at the end of January.

[+] EnlargeMartez Ivey
ESPNNo. 1 offensive tackle Martez Ivey is the jewel of Florida's recruiting class.
Then, the final recruiting push happened, and the Gators roared to a solid finish by bringing in seven four- or- five-star prospects in the last week, including five-star gems Martez Ivey and CeCe Jefferson. (Jefferson committed Wednesday but Florida has still has not received his letter of intent. According to Jefferson’s father, Leo Jefferson, Jefferson is still thinking about his decision.) Not counting Jefferson, four of those six eventual signees were ESPN 300 members, giving the Gators five for their 2015 class. Nineteen of Florida's 20 signees came from the states of Florida and Georgia.

It wasn't the elite class that a school like Florida expects, but after mired in a recruiting funk and even with the prospect of not signing Jefferson, it's hard to argue that McElwain delivered one of the best closing acts of the 2015 recruiting season.

"For our first signing class, first and foremost, the momentum that we've gained has been fantastic," McElwain said. "The doors that we've opened in this short period of time back in the places that we need to be successful at when we go out and recruit, go out and recruit, and obviously that's in the state of Florida first, and bumping into that five-hour radius part as we go up into Georgia is something that we need to make sure that we work on and keep getting better at.

"We knew it was going to be late because we were getting in late on a lot of guys. We had to go back and re-evaluate a lot of players to fit the criteria that we felt were going to be successful Gators and I feel really good about those guys that ended up coming."

Disaster seemed to be the theme of this class until the Gators got Ivey's much-needed commitment. The nation's No. 1 offensive tackle temporarily washed away the pain of losing out on RecruitingNation's No. 1 overall recruit, defensive end Byron Cowart, who picked Auburn over the Gators. You know, the school where Muschamp is now the defensive coordinator. A string of prospects then began picking Auburn over Florida, including ESPN 300 members Jeffery Holland (linebacker) and Ryan Davis (athlete). Not to mention the fact that ESPN 300 offensive lineman Mike Horton flipped to the Tigers early on signing day.

But Ivey was the prized possession of the class -- he always was. With the pitiful offensive line numbers the Gators currently have on campus, landing Ivey, who could start immediately at one of the tackle spots, was critical.

As the day went on, Florida addressed its needs at offensive line (signing five linemen), got a playmaker at receiver in ESPN 300 member Antonio Callaway and snatched up four-star athletes Jordan Cronkrite and D'Anfernee McGriff (an Auburn flip), who could both play running back.

On Monday, the first real momentum-building domino fell when the Gators grabbed former Miami running back commit Jordan Scarlett, also an ESPN 300 member. So while this wasn't exactly a who's who of a recruiting class, Florida's late surge shows recruiting promise for the future.

And that's now where the focus lies.

McElwain and his staff have to get more elite players on campus. Florida didn't sign a quarterback in this class, which means that McElwain now has a full year to find one. Only two receivers signed, and everyone knows the need for playmaking receivers is crucial to turning Florida's offense around. And of course, Florida will need to continue to build on that offensive line.

McElwain's finish to the 2015 class was very impressive, and it just makes you wonder what he and his staff can do with a head start of a full year.

Stop, for a moment, at the close of another wild and unpredictable signing day, and remember these eight therapeutic words: Not a single football game was played Wednesday.

Now, proceed to lose your mind.

In possibly the final signing day of its kind, college football grabbed the spotlight for its annual, offseason showcase of the bizarre. Winners and losers emerged. Mostly, though, it went off about as scripted -- and by that, we mean totally, beautifully unscripted.

[+] EnlargeSoso Jamabo
Matt Garnett/Icon SportswireSoso Jamabo helped start signing day, and UCLA's run, with his commitment to the Bruins.
Wednesday out West, signs pointed to a raising of the stakes in the Pac-12.

UCLA won the morning with big scores over Michigan for tight end Chris Clark, Texas for athlete Soso Jamabo, Georgia for No. 2 outside linebacker Roquan Smith -- more on Smith later -- and Oklahoma for offensive guard Joshua Wariboko.

The Bruins later snagged receiver Cordell Broadus, son of Snoop Dogg, but by mid-afternoon, the fireworks shifted to the USC Trojans' side of town.

USC won out for top-ranked inside linebacker John Houston Jr., No. 1 cornerback Iman Marshall and defensive tackle Rasheem Green Wednesday, along with athlete Porter Gustin, linebacker Osa Masina and defensive tackle Kevin Scott earlier in January. The Trojans' late rush helped their class finish No. 3 overall.

National champion Ohio State of the Big Ten made a morning splash by retaining the commitment of quarterback Torrance Gibson, who gave late consideration to Auburn and LSU. The Buckeyes flipped offensive tackle Isaiah Prince from Alabama's No. 1 class, which was otherwise largely put to bed weeks ago.

Texas flipped safety P.J. Locke from Oregon to punctuate Charlie Strong's 29-man, No. 9-ranked class that might signal the return to prominence of the Longhorns.

And the SEC added its share of drama, starting with the Auburn-Florida battles, in which former Gators coach Will Muschamp loomed large.

Muschamp's new program beat his old one for linebacker Jeffery Holland and the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect, defensive end Byron Cowart of Seffner (Florida) Armwood.

Cowart, though, failed to fax his signed letter of intent to Auburn for some seven hours while reports bounced back and forth about his eventual decision.

Clearly, he was torn, feeling compelled to consider Florida coach Jim McElwain and his staff, on the job for two months.

"It's not their fault they're new," Cowart said. "In the recruiting process, [coaches] tell you what you want to hear, and when you get there, everything switches."

So ultimately, Cowart went with Auburn -- and the coach he trusted.

The Tigers, after the great start, lost No. 1 offensive tackle Martez Ivey and second-rated defensive end CeCe Jefferson to Florida and top-ranked defensive tackle Terry Beckner Jr. to Missouri.

Tennessee claimed victory with the signing of elite defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie, a longtime commitment out of California, and the late flip of offensive tackle Drew Richmond from Ole Miss to secure the nation's fifth-rated class -- No. 2 in the SEC.

Ranked No. 1 nationally, for the fourth straight year, was the Crimson Tide.

"One of the very good things about this class is we didn't have a lot of drama today," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "These guys have been committed to us for a while.
"That's not the way to get the most attention from the media, but that certainly speaks highly of what a commitment means."

LSU, with its new all-star cast of recruiters headlined by Ed Orgeron, finished with good news early in the week on defensive end Arden Key, followed by the Wednesday addition of guard Toby Weathersby -- a former Texas pledge -- and the flip of receiver Brandon Martin from Missouri.

Martin punctuated his change of heart with this hashtag on Twitter.

And then there was the case of Smith, the linebacker out of Macon County High School in Montezuma, Georgia, who announced his choice of UCLA over Georgia on ESPNU but never faxed his letter of intent.

Why? Because in the moments after signing, Smith learned from reporters at his school -- as Georgia coaches furiously called with the same news -- that UCLA defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich was up for a job as the Atlanta Falcons' linebackers coach.

Ulbrich recruited Smith, who plans to wait "a couple days to figure things out," Macon County coach Larry Harold told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Ah, there's nothing quite like signing day, which could change considerably for the next class of recruits if a proposal is approved this spring by the Division I conference commissioners to add a three-day early signing period in December.

So, if this was the last of its kind -- with the full-on drama and star power that only a once-a-year event can provide -- then signing day as we know it went out in style.
videoThe national signing day ceremonies have concluded, the ink has dried and the fax machines have been turned off. The Class of 2015 is mostly in the books. As is the case annually, there were a number of winners -- and a couple of losers -- on national signing day. Here is a look at the schools that excelled and the schools that had a rough day.


UCLA: The Bruins began the day at No. 17 in the ESPN RecruitingNation class rankings, but they quickly moved up to No. 11 with a run of ESPN 300 commitments. No. 111 prospect Chris Clark, a tight end, got the day started and was followed by RB Soso Jamabo (No. 28), OG Joshua Wariboko (No. 105) and OLB Roquan Smith (No. 29). The day got even better in the early afternoon when No. 130 recruit Cordell Broadus, a wide receiver, picked the Bruins over Arizona State. All five of the recruits who committed to UCLA on Wednesday are from different states.

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Martez Ivey, Cyrus KouandjioIcon Sportswire, AP PhotoMartez Ivey is a physical specimen like Cyrus Kouandjio coming out of high school.
Martez Ivey, No. 5 in the ESPN 300 and the No. 1-ranked offensive tackle prospect, committed to Florida over Auburn on Wednesday morning in a ceremony at Apopka (Fla.) High. Ivey's recruitment has been back and forth due to a strong relationship with current Auburn fullback Chandler Cox, as well as his family. In the end, Ivey followed his heart and went with his childhood favorite, the Gators.

Commitment impact: Ivey is a huge win for Florida and head coach Jim McElwain. Not only is offensive tackle a glaring position of need immediately and in the future for the Gators, but landing the five-star in-state prospect is a huge perception win for the Florida program. While Ivey needs time to fill out his frame to maximize his ability, he is expected to play his way into the rotation quickly if not challenge for a starting position.

[+] EnlargeMartez Ivey
ESPNNo. 1 offensive tackle Martez Ivey committed to Florida on signing day.
What he brings:

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Just a week ago, people were wondering if new Florida coach Jim McElwain would have much of a 2015 recruiting class given how little time he had to pull it together.

Now, only hours away from national signing day, people are wondering if the Gators can have the strongest recruiting closing of the year after an impressive few days on the commitment front.

Florida is far from an elite class, but McElwain and his coaches have had some very good luck in the past few days, and some people much more familiar with recruiting than me are feeling pretty confident about what Wednesday could bring Florida. What appeared to be a train wreck of a recruiting class less than a month ago is shaping up to be a solid one for Florida's new coaching staff.

Since Jan. 25, the Gators have received eight verbal commitments, none bigger than Monday night's flip of former Miami running back Jordan Scarlett, who could make an immediate impact for Florida, which has many offensive questions. The ESPN 300 member decommitted from the Canes over the weekend, only to commit to Florida on Monday, giving the Gators a much-needed weapon in a class still in desperate need for some solid offensive firepower to take into the 2015 season.

Joining Scarlett on Monday were three-star prospects Chris Williamson (No. 58 athlete) and Kylan Johnson (No. 80 safety), who flipped from Kansas State. Now, these guys aren't those cream-of-the-crop, five-star wonders everyone wants, but the scouting report on Williamson is that his stock exploded a few months ago, and he started gaining attention from a lot of bigger schools. Maybe he's a steal -- maybe not -- but the addition of Williamson and Johnson provided the Gators with some positive momentum to start a crucial week, and they give Florida a couple more bodies to work with in an already impressive secondary.

As it stands now, Florida's 2015 class is comprised of 16 commits, with four being ESPN 300 members. Eleven are three-star prospects. So on paper, people are probably pretty ho-hum about it. And that's understandable. In a recruiting world controlled by golden stars, you can't fault people for snubbing their noses at the current shape of this class.

And I'm sure McElwain and Co. aren't hoping this is how it ends. I'm pretty sure they are hoping for bigger -- and better -- things to come Wednesday. And that's where things get interesting for the Gators because they are still in the mix for a handful of top players, including five-star recruits Byron Cowart, Martez Ivey and CeCe Jefferson. All three are top-10 prospects, according to ESPN's RecruitingNation, and all three have Florida as finalists.

Ivey might be the most important of the bunch, considering he's the nation's No. 1 offensive tackle and the Gators need all kinds of help with a very thin offensive line, but getting two top defensive ends in Cowart and Jefferson would be a home run for McElwain and his staff.

Florida is also in the running for four-star athletes Ryan Davis and D'Anfernee McGriff, who are both ESPN 300 members, and four-star wide receiver Antonio Callaway, who is also a ESPN 300 member. Four-star athlete Jordan Cronkrite, who will likely play running back at the next level, is also very interested in Florida, as are a couple of other offensive line prospects.

Obviously, nothing is set in stone with this class. I mean, it's recruiting for crying out loud, and nothing is true until pen meets paper. But Florida has certainly created some positive momentum to start the most important week of McElwain's start with the Gators.
With national signing day two days away, recruiting fans have plenty of questions about how the final few days play out. Where are Byron Cowart, Martez Ivey and CeCe Jefferson going to end up? Which team will close the strongest and what schools have been the biggest surprises so far?

With that in mind, I took part in an Ask Me Anything on Reddit’s College Football subreddit page. Check the link out for a recap of the hour-long question and answer session.
AUBURN, Ala. -- At his introductory news conference, new Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp was asked when he would start recruiting.

"As soon as we get done and walk out that door, we are going," Muschamp responded.

He hasn't stopped. In less than two months, Muschamp and his former assistant Travaris Robinson have helped Auburn land two commitments, bring countless visitors to the Plains, and they have the Tigers in position for what could be a significant haul on signing day.

But Gus Malzahn knew that. He knew the advantages to hiring the former Florida coach with so many top recruits hailing from the Sunshine State in this class. He knew Auburn's chances of landing five-stars Byron Cowart, Martez Ivey and CeCe Jefferson would all improve drastically with Muschamp on his staff.

And he was right.

All three players, along with ESPN 300 linebacker Jeffery Holland and four-star athlete Ryan Davis, visited Auburn two weeks ago.

"It was great," Cowart said after the trip. "It was great seeing [Muschamp] here. We're real locked in. He made everything feel like home. I was comfortable, had fun, no stress, no worrying about anything."

Cowart, the nation's No. 1 recruit, has since narrowed his list to Auburn and Florida and plans to make his decision Wednesday morning.

In Jefferson's case, it was his first trip to Auburn since his freshman year. And he probably wouldn't have made it if Muschamp and Robinson weren't on staff.

"That's huge," Jefferson said. "You want to go somewhere where you know. There are knowns and there are unknowns. I have a lot of knowns (at Auburn). I feel comfortable with these guys. I know how they're going to use me in their defense. I know what they're about. My dad and all of them have good relationships."

That familiarity is also why four-star athlete Tim Irvin is already enrolled at Auburn.

Irvin, a native of Palmetto, Florida, visited the same weekend as the others. He was committed to Texas at the time and had plans to enroll in a matter of days. However, he left Sunday as an Auburn Tiger, and he started classes three days later.

Irvin had never been to Auburn. When he made his commitment earlier that month at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, Auburn wasn't even a finalist.

"It was just Coach Muschamp and T-Rob, the relationship I had with those guys," Irvin said after he flipped. "They were like a dad to me. I talked to them almost every day in the recruiting process. They were talking the positives and the negatives about me. Most coaches didn't tell me about my positives and negatives.

"So those guys, they helped me through the process. They've been there for me since Day 1, and that's why I want to play with those guys."

That was just the beginning.

The very next weekend Miami products Carlton Davis and Jeremiah Dinson visited Auburn. Both reopened their recruitment after the trip. Dinson committed to the Tigers a day later, and Davis, a former Ohio State pledge, could join him this week.

Deon Cain and Ray-Ray McCloud III, a pair of Clemson commitments from the Sunshine State, both reportedly visited Auburn this past weekend. The list goes on.

Obviously, the Tigers won't sign every one of these players. They might not even sign half of them. But just adding one player the caliber of Cowart or Jefferson on signing day would be a huge coup for Malzahn and his staff considering where they stood with both prospects just two months ago before the arrival of Muschamp.

It's unclear how long Muschamp will stay at Auburn, but whether it's one year or five, this 2015 recruiting class will have his footprints all over it.

SEC tipping point classes 

January, 30, 2015
Jan 30
Signing day is just around the corner, and most SEC teams have a chance to finish in the top 40 of the ESPN class rankings. Two schools, however, could make or break their overall recruiting classes in this last week.

Auburn and Florida are in a unique situation that could certainly have an effect on both of their recruiting classes. Former Florida coach Will Muschamp is now the defensive coordinator at Auburn, and several top recruits from the state of Florida grew up Gators fans but have a great relationship with Muschamp. Here’s a closer look at how these two teams could finish.

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Recruit breakdown: OT Martez Ivey 

January, 29, 2015
Jan 29
video What he brings: Martez Ivey is a long and flexible O-line prospect with tremendous upside. He's tall with almost other-worldly length and possesses a lean, athletic build with a frame that can continue to be developed. His strength at this stage is as a run blocker with the ability to come off with low pads and quickly get into a defenders and drive them back. He is agile and athletic for his size and possesses excellent range as a second-level blocker. He is a little less experienced as a pass blocker but possesses the tools to be outstanding in this area. With his length and ability to quickly set, he can mirror rushers with ease. This is a big man with excellent physical tools. And while he's a good football player at this stage, there is still room to grow and improve.

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APOPKA, Fla. -- With one week remaining until national signing day, five-star offensive tackle Martez Ivey is finally closing in on his decision.

The fifth-ranked player in the ESPN 300 will announce his decision between Auburn and Florida next Wednesday on ESPNU but contemplated announcing early just to get the process over with.

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SEC's top recruiting visits 

January, 23, 2015
Jan 23
Signing day is less than two weeks away, and there are only two remaining weekends for prospects to take official visits. Other prospects who have already taken all five of their allowed official visits will take unofficial visits to help decide where they will want to attend school. Here is a closer look at some of the top visits to watch in the SEC over the weekend.


The Crimson Tide have already put together an unbelievable class, and are hoping to top it off with one or two more prospects. Long-time Georgia commit Terry Godwin will take an official visit to Alabama just a week after taking a visit to Auburn last weekend. Georgia still appears to be the front-runner, but anything can happen when a recruit goes on a visit.

Auburn safety commit Darrell Williams is also visiting Alabama this weekend. Williams had heavy interest in Alabama before making his pledge to Auburn early in the process. He will certainly be one to watch.


The Tigers, after the commitment of ESPN 300 defensive back Donte' Jackson this week, are up to 17 commits, including seven ranked in the ESPN 300, and are hoping to add a few more key prospects on signing day. Five-star Ohio State athlete commit Torrance Gibson, fresh off an Auburn visit, will visit LSU. The dual-threat quarterback has been concerned about the logjam at quarterback at Ohio State, and both LSU and Auburn run offenses that suit his playing style.

In addition to Gibson, another five-star prospect -- defensive back Iman Marshall -- will also take a trip to Baton Rouge. Marshall has kept his recruitment close to the vest, but the Tigers have already put together an incredible defensive back class. Four-star offensive lineman Toby Weathersby will also take a visit to LSU this weekend. Running back commit Derrius Guice will visit LSU this weekend, and announced on Twitter that he will take a visit to Alabama next weekend. Obviously the LSU coaching staff would like to nail down his commitment and prevent Guice from taking that final visit to Alabama.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

January, 20, 2015
Jan 20

National signing day is less than three weeks away and it’s coming down to crunch time. This past weekend was one of three remaining weekends for recruits to take official visits before signing day and some of the top prospects took full advantage of the available weekend. Auburn had a monster recruiting weekend and, though not to the same extent, so did Alabama, Texas A&M, Florida, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and others. Here’s a closer look at the top news from this past weekend.

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