February 21, 2013

Craig aims to extend AU's reach

AUBURN | Dameyune Craig was at Florida State last season and signed three major prospects from the state of Alabama.

It was his crowning achievement as a college recruiter.

That superlative didn't last long. Craig, hired by Auburn in January, played a central role in the Tigers' remarkable, come-from-behind power play on the recruiting trail that yielded a top-10 signing class earlier this month. The work that went into this staff's first Auburn class won't soon be outdone.

"We had to do three-week recruitment process that usually takes a year, a year and a half, sometimes two," Craig said Thursday. "With me, I felt like we had to get done in a week. Once these kids hit campus, you had to strike while the iron was hot. If it had gone past a week, we probably wouldn't have got them. We had to get them on campus, we had to recruit them for a week and we had another week to get them committed. It was crazy, but it got done."

Craig, a former Auburn quarterback with deep roots in Mobile, focused his efforts primarily on four wideouts, offensive lineman Austin Golson and quarterback Nick Marshall.

All but Golson signed with the Tigers.

His pitch was simple, but didn't include the message you expected. Craig said he rarely discussed his time as Auburn's quarterback - or even that he holds an Auburn degree -- when seated in the living rooms of prospects and their families. He insisted that the university and the program's new promise, anchored by fast-paced offensive system and defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson, should be enough to curry favor with recruits.

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