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Late splash targeting impact positions pushes Auburn’s 2016 recruiting class into top 10

Michael Niziolek

mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

Video: Auburn coach Gus Malzahn discusses special 2016 recruiting class

Auburn finished with a top 10 recruiting class in the country thanks to high-profile additions of Derrick Brown (DL) and Nate Craig-Myers (WR). Coach Gus Malzahn discussed his team's recruiting strategy this year, the battle at quarterback and mor
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Auburn finished with a top 10 recruiting class in the country thanks to high-profile additions of Derrick Brown (DL) and Nate Craig-Myers (WR). Coach Gus Malzahn discussed his team's recruiting strategy this year, the battle at quarterback and mor

Auburn closed out national signing day by keeping Georgia’s top prospect away from its SEC rival.

Five-star defensive tackle Derrick Brown announced he was picking the Tigers over Tennessee and Georgia on ESPN2 late in the afternoon.

“I thought it was big that we signed the number one player in the state of Georgia,” Malzahn said. “I think it’s the first time in school history we did that. Georgia is very important to our success. Almost half of our players are from the State of Georgia. That will give us great momentum for the future with that.”

Brown’s decision had the added benefit of propelling the Tigers’ Class of 2016 featuring 21 players into the top 10 on Rivals (9th) and 247 Sports (9th).

Without the defensive lineman, Auburn would have finished just outside the top 10 on the recruiting websites for the first time in four years.

Brown is one of five previously undecided players Auburn landed on national signing day.

Wide receiver Nate Craig-Myers, defensive back Jayvaughn Myers, offensive lineman Prince Sammons and safety Daniel Thomas all joined Auburn’s 2016 class Wednesday. 

Craig-Myers’ decision came in front of the entire student body at Tampa Catholic and was also carried by ESPN’s network of channels.

Auburn’s push to land Brown and Craig-Myers was part of a concentrated effort to bolster the Tigers’ defensive line and receiving corps.

“This class is a special class,” Malzahn said. “It's probably from the standpoint that there are true impact players at impact positions. The defensive line sets the tone for defense. Receivers, guys who can make impact plays with that. I'm real excited and real proud of our staff. This class, I think people will look back on in years to come.”

The team addressed both areas of need in quantity and quality with five defensive lineman and four wide receivers.

Brown and Greenville’s Marlon Davidson are both 5-star prospects on the defensive line while Auburn landed three of the top 100 receivers in the country.

Malzahn set high expectations for both position groups.

“Our defensive line class I really believe is the best in the country, I really believe we’re building a foundation for a Top 10 defense so I’m real excited about that…” Malzahn said. “Also our wide receiver class, I think is the top in the country. They are guys we went after over a year ago. They are guys we hand-picked and we went after and we got them.”

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Michael Niziolek covers Auburn football for the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. Email him at mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com or follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+

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