- Greg Ostendorf, ESPN Staff Writer
There had been plenty of rumors surrounding the Auburn head-coaching job. Names like Bobby Petrino, Jimbo Fisher and even Kirby Smart surfaced, but the program went with a familiar face, former Auburn offensive coordinator and Arkansas State head coach Gus Malzahn.
It’s not the home run hire many fans were hoping for, but it’s still a smart hire in terms of recruiting.
Malzahn coached at Auburn from 2009 to '11. He was the orchestrator behind AU’s offense in 2010, when the Tigers won the national championship, and 2011. He helped recruit a number of the players currently on the roster.
He also developed relationships with potential 2013 and 2014 recruits during his first stint at Auburn, and that could prove to be helpful now that he’s returning as the head coach.
The first order of business for Malzahn when he gets to Auburn will be to try to keep the current 2013 recruiting class intact. It’s ranked No. 10 nationally by ESPN.com and features ESPN 150 stars Carl Lawson, Dee Liner, Reuben Foster and Tashawn Bower.