How Auburn football program used newfound basketball success to help recruit

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Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Auburn Tigers football recruiting notebook with Auburn recruiting beat writer Benjamin Wolk. It’s Sunday, and in honor of March Madness, let’s look at how the Auburn football program has used the new-look success of the basketball program to help recruit.

How Auburn football program has used newfound basketball success to help recruit

For the first time in 15 years, Auburn won an NCAA Tournament basketball game.

The Tigers have battled their way through plenty of adversity to capture the hearts of Auburn fans everywhere. Bruce Pearl’s team has grabbed the attention of the top basketball programs across the country, but the heavy interest hasn’t stopped on the hardwood. Not on the Plains, at least.

Gus Malzahn and the Auburn football program took notice early in the season that the Tigers basketball success could be used for football recruiting gain. A few of the official visitors late in December were able to attend basketball games, as were the January official visitors.

The basketball role has had a bigger influence on the 2019 class than the 2018 class, however.

Many of the 2019 visitors are getting their first taste of Auburn fandom through the Saturday arena environment. There will be no more home games this year to host prospects, but several have already experienced it during the first three months of the year.

Several Auburn recruits mentioned the basketball environment after visits — and how it plays a role in their view of the Tigers.

Here are the basketball-related reactions among football recruits:

“Oh, I loved the atmosphere. I want a family feel to the university. They tell me it’s a family. Everybody is a family around here. The way the football team was supporting the basketball team, it was cool.” — 5-star LB Nakobe Dean, Horn Lake, Miss.

“The atmosphere was above the roof. It was loud, real loud.” — 3-star CB Raydarious Jones, Horn Lake, Miss.

“It was the first basketball game I’ve been to in college. It was a great atmosphere.” — 3-star Florida LB commit Jammal Abrams

“It’s a nice fan base. I went to the basketball game and noticed they have a great fan base. Nice people, nice coaches.” — 4-star WR Dannis Jackson

“It’s little things with Auburn, like how everyone was just hanging out at the basketball game, all the coaches and players and everything. You can get a feel for a school and their fans at a game like that even if you know football games are a lot different.” — 3-star TE Sean Brown

“The basketball game stood out from this visit. They’ve never been a basketball school, at least as far as I’ve ever heard of. The basketball team, they’re doing good right now and the fans are doing their part.” — 4-star Auburn 2020 DL commit Andy Boykin

“It was a great atmosphere at the basketball game. You don’t see that everywhere.” — 3-star Miami OL commit Kingsley Eguakun

“I love the environment, the atmosphere. Everybody is happy. It feels special here. The highlight for me was everything, but the basketball game, that was really good. That just shows me the energy the fans have around here.” — 4-star RB John Emery

“I went to the basketball. Basketball was a loud environment, and I know it will be on Saturday nights [in the fall], too.” — 3-star TE Luke Deal

And then there are the Auburn football coaching staff reactions, which are even more priceless:

Miss a previous Auburn recruiting notebook? Find every daily recap of Auburn Tigers recruiting right here.

The post How Auburn football program used newfound basketball success to help recruit appeared first on SEC Country.

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