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Sunday, February 3, 2013
Ole Miss RB commit flips to Auburn

By Greg Ostendorf

AUBURN, Ala. -- Auburn University has been looking for more help at the running back position in 2013, and the Tigers added a key piece this weekend.

Former Ole Miss running back commitment Peyton Barber (Alpharetta, Ga./Milton) flipped his verbal pledge to Auburn today following his official visit to The Plains. His father Ken Barber joined him on the visit and talked about his son’s decision.

“It’s just a combination,” the elder Barber said. “I guess you could say it’s the perfect storm, to a degree. Peyton was at Ole Miss last week, had a great visit also. After this weekend, it just really confirmed that it was the right fit for him.

“The great thing is that Peyton will have an opportunity to get a great education. Auburn University definitely offers that. Being close to home really means a lot. Family is very big for Peyton and all of us, also. It was just a great fit.”

It also helped that Barber’s high school teammate and fellow Auburn commitment Carl Lawson was on campus this weekend for his official visit. Lawson, a five-star defensive end who is ranked No. 2 at DE overall, reaffirmed his commitment to the Tigers after the weekend.

“They’re both very excited,” Ken Barber said. “They’re like two kids right now. They’re very excited. It just so happens that it’s just not being teammates, but they happen to be best friends, also. They just really feel like it’s a good fit.”

The 5-foot-10, 210-pound Barber is excited about the possibilities on offense that new head coach Gus Malzahn will bring to Auburn. He joins junior college transfer Cameron Artis-Payne, the only other back in the class.

"I think the offense fits [Peyton] absolutely perfect,” his father said. “It’s very similar to what they ran at Milton, so he’s very familiar with that.

“Based from the past as far as [Malzahn] working with great backs -- Felix Jones and Darren McFadden and also the year that Auburn won the national championship with [Michael] Dyer -- as a freshman, he will have an opportunity to get in there and really make a mark and hopefully help Auburn get back on top. That’s what we’re really excited about.”

Auburn now has 20 commitments in 2013, including six recruits in the ESPN 300.