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Where do we go now?

February 9, 2010

They are immortal words to me, sung by one Axl Rose of Guns n’ Roses: “Where do we go, where do we go now?

Consider the class we inked last Wednesday, Rivals naming two of our coordinators Top recruiters in the nation and the surprise verbal commitment of Spencer Region for 2011.

Conventional wisdom says Auburn is a program on the rise and the sky is the limit. The class of 2010 is a sign of even better things to come in recruiting. The results of 2009, at 8-5 overall, are a foundation for 10+ win season in 2010 and beyond. The coaching staff Gene Chizik assembled is a potent force, linked arm in arm against the dark forces north and west of the Plains.

I wouldn’t call the counter to this argument wisdom of any sort. In Boston, they referred to is as the Curse of the Bambino. In Auburn I’ve heard it sometimes called, “snakebit.” In the business world, they call it “cautious optimism.”

It’s tough looking back and predicting the future and Mr. Woodberry isn’t going there with his post about the 2005 Auburn signing class as much as he’s just rehashing and asking the VH1 question, “Where are they now?”

However, there are likely some kids in the 2010 class who won’t qualify academically. There are some who simply won’t pan out. There are others who will make names for themselves, on-field or off and all we can do is hope for the former.

If, and it is a big IF you assume the hype around Auburn during 2004 has a common denominator to what developed in Team Chizik’s first year, then consider these numbers from ’05:

23% of the signees never played at Auburn

36% played sparingly and / or left early

23% played a role at Auburn, largely as a backup

18% played a starring role at Auburn or are now in the NFL

Or, viewed as either a Player or Not, 59% never contributed while only 41% earned their Tiger stripes

Sure, there are lots of statistics and articles about Coach Tuberville’s attrition, particularly later in his Auburn career, but the class of 2005, while not a Top 10 in most publications was supposed to signify a new foundation for Auburn.

However, all signs point to Chizik & Co., recruiting players who can make the grade and will stand by one another from the moment they step on campus as a student athlete. Call it orange and blue colored glasses, but this class only has two signees which I personally feel may not make it: S. Coleman and J. Richardson. Coleman because I don’t believe he wasn’t a last minute shopper and isn’t fully on-board and Richardson because he has a lot of outside detractors which could ultimately negatively influence him.

Take those two, or any other two away, and you’ve still got one helluva class trotting the track. Where we go and what we do along the way are what makes the wait for first A-Day and then summer workouts all the more excruciating. War Eagle!

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