Archived Story

Ghosts of Signing Days past

Published 12:42pm Wednesday, February 6, 2013

By Andy Graham

Today marks the first Wednesday in the month of February, which can only mean one thing … National Signing Day has finally arrived and not a moment too soon!
College football prospects around the country have the opportunity today to make a true “commitment” to the school of their choice by autographing a binding legal document, which guarantees their future place of residence.
The unpredictable and cutthroat world of recruiting has been on full display all across the country in the last several months with blue-chip prospects committing and de-committing on a weekly basis. However, the melodrama that has taken place on the recruiting trail inside the state of Alabama this year has been second to none.  In lieu of the ridiculously over-hyped soap opera that this day has become, I give you my five most over-hyped Auburn recruits in the last 10 years.
5.  Tray Blackmon was a five-star prospect out of LaGrange, Ga. that was rated the no. 1 linebacker in the country.  Blackmon signed with Auburn in 2005 with everyone expecting him to have an immediate impact, but his first year resulted in a redshirt.  He was an incredible physical specimen with speed, power and a ferocious style of play well suited to his position.  Due to discipline issues and injuries, Tray played in a grand total of 21 games in his Auburn career, amassing 81 tackles.
4. Leon Hart was a five-star offensive line prospect out of Columbia, S.C.  He was rated as the no. 3 offensive tackle in the nation and signed with Auburn in 2004.
His combination of size, speed and quickness had Auburn coaches and fans believing the offense would have an anchor for years to come.  Hart never truly found a home at any position along the line and was relegated to a backup for practically his entire Auburn career.
3. Tyrik Rollison was a four-star quarterback prospect from Sulfur Springs, Tex. who signed with the Tigers in 2009.  He was a high school All-American known for his incredible athletic ability.  He put up monster passing numbers in high school, but also had good speed and mobility.
Auburn fans could already see him as the next Jason Campbell leading Auburn to an undefeated season.  Rollison would never see the field transferring after one year.  Auburn decided to sign another quarterback for the 2010 season and took a risk on a guy named Cam Newton.
2. Greg Smith was a little-known defensive tackle out of Chattanooga, Tenn. who originally signed with Auburn in 2004, but failed to qualify.  He re-signed with Auburn out of Northeast Mississippi Junior College in 2006 as the no. 1 JUCO defensive tackle.
Rumors of Smith’s strength and physical prowess reached mythical proportions among Auburn fans.  He would come to rival only Chuck Norris in people you didn’t want to mess with.  Smith would never see the field in an Auburn uniform.
1. Raven Gray originally signed with Auburn in 2006 out of Enterprise, but would also fail to qualify.  He too would go to junior college and re-sign with Auburn as a five-star defensive end prospect with overwhelming talent.  Tommy Tuberville once described Gray as a young Ray Lewis.  Gray would never play a single down for the Tigers and as a bonus he also accused Auburn of providing him with improper benefits during his recruitment on HBO.
Quote the Raven, nevermore.
Graham is a columnist for the Outlook.