Commentary: 5-star recruit likes Auburn’s Muschamp hire

first_imgShades Valley defensive tackle Daron Payne had more reasons to be happy than upset after Saturday’s Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game at Cramton Bowl.He didn’t play in the second half of the all-star game due to an ejection, but watched Alabama pull out a 36-30 thriller on Justin Johnson’s 30-yard touchdown catch with no time remaining.“It was a great finish for my team,” said Payne, who admitted to retaliating after being pushed while trying to go to the locker room when asked about the ejection at the end of the first half. “I’m glad they pulled it out.”Payne was also impressed Auburn hired Will Muschamp as its new defensive coordinator. Muschamp replaced Ellis Johnson, who was fired after two seasons following Auburn’s 55-44 loss at top-ranked Alabama.“It sort of makes me think harder about my decision,” the 6-foot, 3-inch, 335-pound Payne said. “It’s a great hire. We’ll just wait it out. I don’t know much about him. I just know he’s a great coach.” has the five-star recruit receiving offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Georgia, Clemson, South Carolina, Texas and Kentucky. Florida hasn’t offered him a scholarship, but Payne expects to meet Muschamp for the first time Sunday.“He works well with recruits and he’s going to be out there recruiting,” St. James tight end Jalen Harris, an Auburn commit. “Ellis Johnson wasn’t really much of a recruiter. So he’s going to be out there on the road recruiting guys. I was talking to Daron Payne and he was like, ‘man, I like the Muschamp hire.’ So hopefully we can get him and a lot more big-time, five-star recruits and big-time commits like him.”From Birmingham, Payne said he figured Auburn would hire Muschamp, but he hasn’t verbally committed to anyone.Richard McBryde has.The Charles Henderson standout linebacker committed to Auburn in the summer when all was well and secure with Auburn’s coaching staff. At 6 feet, 2 inches tall and 205 pounds, McBryde was seen as a ‘star’ linebacker/safety in Johnson’s scheme.Six months later, Johnson is no longer there. Before the firing, McBryde wasn’t sure how he’d fit in Johnson’s defense. McBryde believes he’ll find a role in Muschamp’s system.“I really don’t know much about Coach Muschamp, but I’m pretty sure it will be a great fit for me,” McBryde said. Florida is one of several schools lists to have offered McBryde a scholarship. Auburn, Alabama, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Miami (Fla.) and Southern Cal have also offered.So Muschamp should have an idea of what McBryde can do. McBryde admitted he hadn’t seriously watched Florida play since Tim Tebow was there playing under Urban Meyer, but he did catch some of Muschamp’s last game against Florida State, which the Gators lost, 24-19. If McBryde winds up sticking with Auburn, he’ll find out soon what Muschamp can do.McBryde is an aggressive player who finds his way to the ball. In a perfect world, McBryde said he’d like to play either linebacker or strong safety.“I can hit and I can cover,” said McBryde when asked why he would like to play strong safety.McBryde’s body type is ideal for a safety, but he’s a natural at linebacker. The question is can he play pass coverage?In the all-star game, McBryde defended a fade pass to the end zone that fell incomplete. A flag wasn’t thrown, but at the next level, it would have been a penalty.This isn’t saying he couldn’t learn pass defense at the college level.“It’s just going to change up my first step,” McBryde said.By hiring Muschamp, Auburn has further secured one commit and made another take the Tigers more seriously. So Auburn has two more reasons to be happy as well. ( Duane Rankin is a columnist and sports reporter for the Advertiser. Follow him on Twitter at @DuaneRankin. He can be reached via email at [email protected] ).last_img

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