News Sports Opinion Photos Social Classified Obits Contact

Freeze Turning the Tide: The first big sign that Auburn's football program may be ready to turn the corner came last week. No, they've not yet announced their starting quarterback yet.

Five-star linebacker Demarcus Riddick has been flipped from Georgia to the Tigers. Riddick, a Chilton County standout, is part of the 2024 class and will play at J. E. "Hot" O'Brien against Tallassee this season. We also saw him last year in Clanton.

Riddick picked Auburn over Alabama after ditching Georgia and is the first five-star in Freeze's first class. He also happens to be the first five-star pickup on the Plains since 2019.

And...more breaking news - there's another one right there. Foley five-star Perry Thompson, a receiver in the 2024 class, is also headed to Auburn. He is another flip, formerly committed to Nick Saban at Bama.

Bryan Harsin is gone because he couldn't (or chose not to) recruit. His classes were built on three-star players. Freeze has already begun the "process" in upgrading the talent with blue-chip prospects.

His 2024 class already has ten four-stars of the 14 commits, plus Riddick and Thompson as two of the nation's very best high school seniors.

Compare that to last year when 12 of Auburn's 22 commitments were three-star players (55%). The blue-chip ratio was 45 percent. No team in the CFP Playoff era has won a national championship with under a 50 percent blue-chip ratio (four- or five-stars).

Auburn's blue-chip ratio thus far is 86 percent. Compare that to the 77 percent of the top class currently at Georgia. The Bulldogs are basically done in recruiting. They have 26 verbals.

Alabama has 14 so far. Of those, 11 are four- or five-star picks (79%).

If you want to compete at the highest level, you need to get the pick of the litter. If only a few teams in the NFL Draft got first-rounders each year while everybody else split up second- and third-rounders, there would be a great divide.

You kind of have that in college. The best recruiting teams stand apart from the also-rans. Auburn has been among the second and third tier teams in recent years.

Over the past seven years, Auburn has grabbed only two five-star recruits. During that same span, Alabama has gotten 17.

Work remains undone, not just with this class but those moving forward. Freeze has begun making noise however. It may not be at bullhorn volume yet, but it's on the decibel meter. That murmur from Harsin never registered.