Phillip's blog: Another level

All it takes is a look at the list of expected visitors for Big Cat Weekend to know how much things have changed for Auburn football.

Neither Auburn nor any other program has its pick of the top players in the country. But a good portion of those players at least have an interest in seeing the Auburn campus, meeting the Auburn players and hearing what Auburn coaches have to say.

And that, for sure, indicates a different day in Auburn football.

Even before Gene Chizik ended his second season as head coach by joining his players in hoisting the crystal football at University of Phoenix Stadium, Auburn recruiting had reached a new realm. But the national championship took it to even another level.

I sat down with Chizik earlier this week for Q&A session you’ll see early next week. Here’s what he said about the national championship’s impact on recruiting:

“No question about it,” Chizik said. “We get a lot of interest right now simply because everybody knows our story. That’s from California to the east coast. When you call a kid for the first time and they are in California or Arizona or New Jersey, they are excited to hear from the national champions. That’s important.”

What all adds up to is that Auburn, for all the hits it has taken from those who don’t believe it belongs, has become a recruiting power. And that doesn’t seem likely to change anytime soon.

Moving on:

Lots of people have expressed disappointment and concern over Auburn’s baseball season, and with good reason. A team that should have been pushing 40 wins instead won 29, lost 29 and didn’t qualify for an NCAA regional.

I will say this: John Pawlowski, Scott Foxhall , Link Jarrett and Ty Megahee are bright guys with track records of success. I’ll be surprised if they don’t figure out what went wrong and do something about it. …

We should know something about soon about quarterbacks Russell Wilson’s plans. I’d still be surprised if he ever takes a snap at Auburn, but that’s just a hunch. …

I’ll also be surprised if running back Mike Blakeley is not eligible to play the 2011 season. …

Former Ohio State wide receiver Ray Small said Friday a campus newspaper twisted his words and insisted he has no knowledge of other players breaking NCAA rules.

"I've come back to retract my words, because there's two sides to every story, and I want to tell the world my side of the story," Small said in an interview Friday with ESPN's Tom Farrey.

Small admitted in the ESPN interview that he broke rules by selling memorabilia, but he said he didn’t know about other players breaking rules.

But, alas, the newspaper, called The Lantern, promptly put the audio from the interview on its web site.

Oh, the tangled webs we weave. …

Until next time …

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