After Auburn hired former Tigers star Dameyune Craig as its receivers coach and co-offensive coordinator in January, this is what head coach Gus Malzhan had to say:
Thus far, Dameyune Craig has hit a homerun on the recruiting trail.
"Dameyune is one of the top young coaches in college football and has established himself as one of the best recruiters in the country."
Thus far, Craig has lived up to -- and perhaps even exceeded -- the hype from his boss.
It's still early in the 2014 cycle, but as of Sunday Craig holds the No. 1 ranking in the Southeastern Conference and nationally in the 247Composite Recruiter rankings, which measure the recruiting success of assistants.
Craig, whose primary recruiting areas include the Mobile, Ala., region, Florida panhandle, Mississippi Gulf Coast/New Orleans and parts of metropolitan Atlanta, has been the primary recruiter with six of Auburn's nine commitments.
Three of them are members of the prestigious Top247. Four are 247Composite four-star players.
Here's a snapshot of Craig's pickups:
-Joshua Casher, OL, Mobile (Ala.) St. Paul's Episcopal: No. 1 center in the 247Composite.
-De'Shaun Davis, ILB, Mobile (Ala.) Vigor: No. 20 ILB in the 247Composite, No. 15 prospect in Alabama.
Four-star linebacker Tre' Williams arguably is the biggest commit thus far for Dameyune Craig in the 2014 cycle.
-Nick Ruffin, CB, Atlanta (Ga.) St. Pius: No. 155 overall in the 247Composite.
-Kamryn Pettway, RB, Prattville (Ala.): No. 14 prospect in Alabama.
-Justin Thornton, DE, Mobile (Ala.) Vigor: No. 65 overall in the 247Composite, No. 3 at WDE.
-Tre' Williams, ILB, Mobile (Ala.) St. Paul's Episcopal: No. 38 overall in the 247Composite, No. 3 at ILB.
On Saturday, Ruffin committed during Auburn's Big Cat Weekend recruiting event.
Of Craig, he noted, "He is definitely a very spiritual man and lives up to the hype of understanding this is more than just a game. It’s about developing young men. For me, that spoke volumes. To be able to have an opportunity to learn from him, not just about football, but becoming a man in life, I’m honored.”
Another prospect on hand Saturday, four-star defensive tackle Elisha Shaw of Tucker (Ga.), also had positive comments about Craig's recruiting.
"Coach Craig is one great recruiting coach," Shaw said. "He does good at his job.
Success for Craig at recruiting is nothing new.
Craig's recruiting prowess isn't a surprise to those who follow recruiting. While at Florida State, he had great success on the trail. In 2012, Craig was the primary recruiter with two five-star signees -- quarterback Jameis Winston and defensive end Chris Casher.
"He's been one of the top recruiters in college football for a few years," said JC Shurburtt, National Recruiting Director for 247Sports. "Now that he's back at an in-state institution where he played and has a long history, and he's recruiting in his hometown for an in-state power -- and Auburn is one of the better programs in college football -- it sets him up for success. But make no mistake about it, he is very good at recruiting and building relationships. That's kind of the primary thing he does. Down in Mobile, there are a lot of good players every cycle. It makes sense to have one of your top dogs down there. He's not only one of the top dogs at Auburn, but in all of college football."
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