Ok, for those of you whose lives don’t revolve around local sports talk radio: After two years of losing virtually all of the state’s top prospects to Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide, Auburn decided to make a big splash on the recruiting trail last week. How you ask? By piling their coaching staff into a stretch Hummer limo and road-tripping to various high schools across the state, of course.
The stunt has captivated football fans throughout the state and the country, earning a story on ESPN.com as well as a mention on several of the network’s afternoon talk shows. Local beat writers have been tracking the truck’s every move, constantly updating its location and future itinerary, to the point you’d think Al Cowlings was driving the thing.
But despite all the attention and instant analysis, one thing no one can agree on is whether the gimmick was a good idea or not? The answer is as simple as the gimmick itself: Of course it’s a good idea.
Recruiting is all about making an impression on a bunch of 18-year-old kids. As Birmingham News columnist Kevin Scarbinsky recently pointed out, us jaded adults see a stretch Hummer and regard it as a ridiculous symbol of excess in an increasingly depressed economic environment. High schoolers see a stretch Hummer and regard it as a friggin’ awesome stretch Hummer. Impression made.
Of course, we won’t know the true fruits of the Tigers’ labor until Signing Day 2010 next February.