During Hugh Freeze's introductory press conference as Auburn's head coach on November 29, 2022, he emphasized how much of a priority recruiting would be. Through his first year on the job, he has kept his word.
The Auburn football program was not in a good spot when Freeze took over. The Tigers had just finished their second straight losing season. Team morale was not as bad as it could have been, however, thanks to Carnell "Cadillac" Williams' efforts during his time as interim head coach.
Recruiting was in rough shape at that time. Auburn was ranked outside of the top 50, according to 247Sports. By National Signing Day, Freeze had gotten the Tigers into the top 20.
Those efforts have not gone unnoticed. Freeze was adamant about wanting Auburn's 2024 recruiting class, his first full class as the program's head coach, to finish in the top 10. With National Signing Day in the books, 247Sports has Auburn at No. 8.
Freeze has stressed how much of a team effort recruiting is. He has made sure to give everyone credit from his assistant coaches to the team pilots. These staff-wide efforts are something that was missing from the previous tenure and they are producing results Auburn has not seen in quite some time.
Before Freeze got to Auburn, it was commonplace for Auburn to lose recruiting battles for in-state talent to out-of-state programs. Freeze has focused on putting a stop to that.
On National Signing Day in 2022, Auburn flipped Keldric Faulk, a highly-rated instate 4-star defensive lineman from Highland Home, from Florida State. Faulk was the No. 7 player in the state of Alabama, according to 247Sports.
As of National Signing Day of this year, three of the top 10 recruits in the state of Alabama have signed with Auburn including the No. 1 player in 5-star wide receiver Cam Coleman. This is the first time Auburn has signed the state's top prospect since it signed 4-star running back Kerryon Johnson in 2016.
Auburn also has a good chance to flip Ryan Williams, a 5-star wide receiver and the No. 2 player in the state, from Alabama. That would give Auburn four of the state's top 10 players to Alabama's three.
Freeze has also gotten Auburn back to landing some of the country's top talent. Prior to this year, Auburn had not landed a 5-star recruit since linebacker Owen Pappoe in 2019. This year, the Tigers signed two 5-star recruits for the first time since 2017.
Additionally, Auburn has flipped players from programs such as Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Texas A&M during this recruiting cycle.
These are all things that would not have seemed possible before Freeze showed up last November.
The effort Freeze has put into recruiting does not seem to be just a one-year thing, either. Auburn's 2025 recruiting class is currently ranked No. 5 in the country, according to 247Sports.
Freeze said during his National Signing Day press conference that the goal for the 2025 recruiting class was to finish in the top five nationally. There is still a lot of time, but it seems well on its way to achieving that.
When it comes to recruiting, Auburn has found the man for the job.
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