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THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2007
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AU pulls in its best class since 2002

By Bradley Handwerger
bhandwerger@decaturdaily.com 340-2462

AUBURN — The Connally Room in the Auburn athletic complex isn't fancy.

A conference table, some wheeled swivel chairs, a marker board are about all that fill it up.

But on Wednesday, it was the place to be if you follow Auburn football.

It was Auburn's signing day war room, the place where NCAA letters of intent came pouring in minute after minute.

Those 30 letters that Tommy Tuberville's staff received have combined to produce one of the best signing classes ever for Auburn's head coach of eight years — the Tigers finished a consensus top 10 by the recruiting services, including No. 6 by National Blue Chips and No. 7 by Rivals.com and SuperPrep.

Tuberville's previous best was No. 6 by Rivals in 2002.

"The key to recruiting, as I have found out over my 30 years of coaching and recruiting, is winning games — winning games and having a great product here at Auburn, a great academic institution," Tuberville said.

Tuberville added, "Our football program going the way it is, it hasn't been real easy because there is a lot of competition out there, but it has been very fruitful for us."

Auburn has posted a 50-14 record in the five seasons since Tuberville signed the 2002 class.

That class included eventual Auburn standouts such as Devin Aromashodu, Brandon Cox, Ben Grubbs, Marcus McNeill and Ben Obomanu.

This new class could prove to be just as good. Then again, it might not be.

"We won't know until they get on campus and see the next few years to see how it turns out," Tuberville said.

Headlining the new class are Enrique Davis and Kodi Burns, two offensive specialists long known to be coming to the Auburn, but big recruits nonetheless.

Davis, a 5-foot-11, 212-pound running back from Lynn Haven, Fla., could see early playing time, Tuberville said.

"Enrique reminds me a lot of Ronnie Brown and (former Ole Miss running back) Deuce McAllister," Tuberville said. "He's got height and he runs a little bit tall, but I think that helps his vision. He'll have an opportunity to play next year."

As a senior, Davis ran for 1,293 yards and 16 touchdowns. Add that to his 1,817 yards and 24 touchdowns as a junior, and he had more than 3,000 yards and 40 touchdowns in two years.

He is a Parade All-American, is ranked as the nation's No. 2 running back by Rivals.com, and made seemingly every top 100 list put out by Southeastern newspapers.

Davis will have to fight for playing time as Auburn already has junior Brad Lester, sophomore Ben Tate and senior Carl Stewart at running back.

Then there's Burns, a 6-2, 195-pound quarterback. Tuberville compared him to former Tigers quarterback Dameyune Craig.

"He's a quarterback with mobility," Tuberville said. "He's got a strong arm. He'll have an opportunity to come in next year and see what he can do."

Burns threw for 1,903 yards and 23 touchdowns and ran for 835 yards and 13 scores as a senior. In his three-year career as the starting quarterback at Northside High in Fort Smith, Ark., Burns passed for 6,020 yards and 65 touchdowns.

Rivals has him as the No. 8 dual-threat quarterback in the country and Arkansas' No. 2 recruit.

While 30 sounds like too many — schools are only allowed by NCAA rules to enroll 25 signees a year — six of those who pledged to attend Auburn on Wednesday will go to junior college or prep school.

Auburn's five to watch

  • Enrique Davis, RB, Mosley in Lynn Haven, Fla.:Ranked by Rivals as the 30th best prospect in the country, No. 4 in Florida and No. 2 among the nation's running backs.

  • Lee Ziemba, OT, Rogers, Ark.:Ranked No. 61 in the nation, first in Arkansas and fourth among the country's offensive tackles.

  • Michael McNeil, DB, Davidson in Mobile:No. 86 on the Rivals national list and fourth in the state.

  • Kodi Burns, QB, Northside in Forth Smith, Ark.:Ranked second in Arkansas, behind Ziemba.

  • Chris Slaughter, WR, Hargrave Academy in Chatham, Va.:Ranked the sixth best prep school prospect in the nation.

    Rivals.com

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