Recruiting is in a no-contact dead period at the moment, but Auburn received a new lease on its recruiting life in the form of coach Rodney Garner. The Tigers pried Garner away from Georgia, where he had coached defensive line for the last 15 seasons. He also served as Georgia's recruiting coordinator. Garner played for Auburn in the late 1980s.
Auburn snagging ace recruiter/DL coach Rodney Garner from UGA is one of the bigger assistant moves this yr.— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) December 21, 2012
This is an excellent hire by new head coach Gus Malzahn. Auburn has lost seven commitments since the announcement of Malzahn as head coach, with five of the decommitments coming on the defensive side of the football. Garner is surely known to some of those decommitments, and could help the Tigers to bring one or two back into the fold. More importantly, Garner could potentially help Auburn keep defensive line commitments Carl Lawson and Dee Liner (yes, there is a top defensive line recruit named "Dee Liner").
Garner might also help Auburn in its pursuit of Montravius Adams, arguably the top defensive tackle recruit in the country out of Georgia. Defensive tackle is a major need for the Tigers, particularly after they missed out on JUCO defensive tackle star Lavon Hooks Thursday. Adams is one of the few high school defensive tackle recruits capable of playing significant snaps in the SEC as a freshman. Adams had Auburn in his top group of schools throughout the recruiting process, but recently did not list Auburn as a school that would receive an official visit. Garner can change that.
Late Thursday night, Adams told the AJC that Garner's hire now puts Auburn back in the picture.
"I just found out," Adams told the AJC on Thursday night. "Yes, it affects how I feel about Georgia, but I'm not sure how much. I'm still trying to take it all in."
Rather than have a negative impact on UGA, it will probably be more of a positive for Auburn. Adams said he may take his fifth official visit with the Tigers, now that Garner is hired. "Yes, that will probably be it," he said.
Auburn's gain is Georgia's loss.
I wondered via Twitter Follow @SBNRecruiting if the move was solely about money -- a worry over which a Georgia source had speculated to me in November. The source said he thought Georgia was too cheap to keep some of its coaches, should other SEC schools come calling with ridiculous salaries. Auburn experts, however, don't see it that way.
@sbnrecruiting Probably not solely. Pretty good feeling that he wanted to come back home to Auburn.— wardamnlegal (@wardamnlegal) December 21, 2012
It's also worth noting that Garner turned down offers from Tennessee and LSU earlier in the decade, so this was probably not solely about money.
The good thing for Georgia is that the Dawgs weren't slated to bring in a huge class of defensive linemen, and that plenty of good recruiters remain in Athens.
Garner's ability as a recruiter is not irreplaceable, but the loss hurts because recruiting is about relationships, and Georgia's new defensive line coach simply won't have much time to build them with recruits.
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