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Bryan Harsin said to be absent on the recruiting trail

The Athletic's "inside (state of) Alabama recruiting" piece is illuminating, in a bad way, for the Tigers

The 2023 recruiting class for the state of Alabama is considered by some to be a generational class - there are seven five-star players (247Composite), with eleven top 100 prospects and 15 top 200 recruits. 

As of Wednesday morning, Auburn's 2023 recruiting class is ranked 54th in the country with ten commitments, and after the decommittment of WR Karmello English, the top-rated in-state commitment is four-star RB Jeremiah Cobb of Montgomery Catholic, #15 on the list. 

Aaron Suttles of The Athletic dropped his "inside Alabama recruiting" piece ($) on Wednesday morning, part of an ongoing series where he provides anonymity to high school coaches in specific states in return for candid assessments of the recruiting efforts and styles of the major programs in the state.  

Let's just say the high school coaches of Alabama were not kind to Bryan Harsin's Tigers. 

When asked by The Athletic how they'd describe the way Auburn recruits their players: 

Coach 2 (Mobile area): I gotta be careful because I don’t want to get hung out here, but Bryan Harsin hasn’t been to our school. He’s never been here. That’s been a surprise. They’ve got a lot of outstanding recruiters on their staff, though. I think that (Harsin) has put together a good staff. But I don’t know the head coach there. 

Coach 3 (East Alabama): I think they do a great job. With us being close, it allows them to see them a lot too. I think they do a really good job, and I think it’ll continue because our kids know most of the coaches that are there.

Coach 6 (Central Alabama): (Offensive line coach) Will Friend does an excellent job. (Running backs coach) Carnell Williams is good. They’ve got a lot of outstanding young coaches. I think they’re going to do well, but I don’t know their head coach at all. Nick Saban comes to our school every year — every year he makes a trip to our school, whether he’s recruiting a guy or not.

Coach 1 (Birmingham): Honestly, they do a poor job in recruiting. I’ve never met the man (Harsin) in person. I do want to meet the guy because I think a lot of my kids could play at Auburn. But just as a rule, they just haven’t done a very good job recruiting our kids.

Coach 4 (West Alabama): I took a player down there that had some good offers, and I don’t think they realized who he was. But I’ll tell you something cool about Harsin, which is probably not the popular thing right now. I talked to that joker for about 45 minutes on the phone. That’s not something you see coaches in Division I doing. You don’t see any head coaches doing that really. I thought that was really cool. I thought he did a good job.

When asked about the differences between Auburn and Alabama, most responses were that Alabama's recruiters were out recruiting and evaluating every permissible chance they had, while Auburn needed to be more aggressive about getting out on the trail. Coach 1 (Birmingham-area head coach) has the most direct response to what the difference was, and it was glaring. 

When these same coaches were asked about the best recruiters, from any school, they've come across, many names were former Auburn staffers: Kevin Steele (Miami - mentioned twice), Dameyune Craig (Texas A&M), Rodney Garner (Tennessee), Nick Eason (Clemson). The only Auburn staffer to be named among the eighteen names given was linebacker coach Christian Robinson. 

To close the piece, Suttles asked what was the thing he needed to know about that wasn't yet discussed, and two of the four coaches mentioned the importance of NIL to a player's recruitment, while the third discussed Alabama being a machine that's "figured out" everything and stays ahead of the curve. The fourth head coach discussed the transfer portal, and how so many colleges are taking smaller classes because they're saving room for portal players. 

Overall, a damning indictment of Bryan Harsin's recruiting efforts across the state of Alabama. Read the entire piece at The Athletic ($).