March 1, 2011

AU recruiting Lone Star State

The state of Texas had 345 prospects sign a football scholarship with a Division-I school in 2011, the most by any state in the country, but none of them signed with Auburn.

It was Gene Chizik's first recruiting class at Auburn without a signee from Texas.

The Tigers didn't target many Texas recruits in 2011 due to the success in their primary recruiting grounds of Alabama, Georgia and Florida. Eighteen of Auburn's 24 signees in 2011 were from Alabama, Georgia or Florida.

"We will always focus on Alabama, Georgia and Florida," said Auburn recruiting coordinator/running backs coach Curtis Luper. "Our roster will consist predominantly of players from those states, but we will spot recruit states like Texas and try to get a couple of players from there."

The Tigers signed three from Texas in 2009, Chizik's first class at Auburn, two of which have already made immediate impacts on the Plains in former four-star receiver Emory Blake (S.F. Austin) and defensive end Nosa Equae.

Blake has been a big contributor in each of his first two seasons at Auburn. He has played in 24 of 27 games totaling 38 catches for 566 yards and seven touchdowns. Eguae redshirted his first year at Auburn after suffering an early season injury. As a redshirt freshman in 2010, Eguae recorded 18 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks.

Quarterback Tyrik Rollison, the only one of the three 2009 Texas signees, who was recruited by Tommy Tuberville's staff, transferred to Sam Houston State in 2010 after the Tigers signed Cam Newton in 2010.

Newton signed with the Tigers out of Blinn Community College in Brenham, Texas. In his only year on the Plains, Newton rushed for 1,409 yards and 20 touchdowns, passed for 2,589 yards and 28 scores and won the Heisman Trophy.

"It helps that we have signed players from Texas and they've had an immediate impact," said Luper. "It also helps that we have several coaches from Texas."

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