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QB Pike No Longer An Auburn Player

August is usually the month of comin’s.  But August 1st was a day of goin’s on the Plains of Auburn.

As his team arrived on campus and started fall camp, Gene Chizik confirmed last evening that defensive back Jonathan Rose is no longer on the AU squad and plans to transfer.  That much we knew.  We also knew that freshman quarterback Zeke Pike was still out of state after an arrest for public intoxication that led the coach to send him home to Kentucky earlier this summer.

But Chizik announced yesterday that he would be transferring, too, and that he is no longer a member of the Tiger football team:


“They’re not with our football team anymore.  Their intent is to transfer to another school.  We wish them the best.”


Pike was a highly touted recruit once chased by a number of SEC schools.  But his career dating back to high school has been marred by what appear to be attitude issues.  Pike was booted from a summer tournament as a high school junior for throwing a football at an official.  He was suspended for the first and last games of his final high school season.  After committing to Auburn, he fired off a number of jabs at Alabama fans on Twitter (who started the back-and-forth depends on the whether you have crimson or orange and blue sheets).  Then came his June arrest.

The Auburn starting quarterback job was expected to come down to a battle between Clint Moseley and Kiehl Frazier anyway, but now the team’s depth has taken a hit with Pike’s departure/dismissal.

As for Pike, he’s the perfect example of why recruiting rankings can’t be taken as gospel.  We show those types of grades to you because you’re interested in them and because if you look at them correctly, you can get an idea of which school’s are getting better.  If you think every 4-star kid will pan out, you’re not reading those rankings correctly.  If you look at a signing class and say Team X signed more 4-stars than Team Y so therefore Team X has better odds of finding a few true studs, then you know how to read those grades.

Some highly-recruited kids never adjust to life away from home.  Some get injured.  Some don’t develop physically.  Some don’t work hard enough at developing.

And some — seemingly like Pike — just have some growing up to do.

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Pike Leaves Auburn For The Summer After Arrest

Yesterday we wondered aloud if freshman Zeke Pike’s weekend arrest for pubic intoxication might cost him a shot — albeit a long shot — at winning Auburn’s quarterback derby this fall.  It seems we have our answer as his departure from the Plains for the rest of summer signals bigger issues.

The 19-year-old prospect will return home to Fort Mitchell, Kentucky and miss the usual informal summer practices and workouts with his Tiger teammates. That’s no way to come from behind to win a quarterback race.

A source told Charles Goldberg of that this “was not Pike’s first off-the-field issue,” either.  We assume he means while at AU.

But before even arriving on campus, Pike made news when he was tossed from a camp last April for allegedly throwing a football at an official.  (Pike said the issue was overblown and that he and the official apologized to one another afterward.)  He was also suspended from his high school’s first and last games during his senior year.  And his Twitter usage last summer — including several barbs lobbed at Alabama fans — drew attention as well.

In other words, this young man may just have an attitude that needs a bit of an adjustment.

That’s why Kevin Scarbinsky — also of — believes it might be good in the long run for Pike to get out of Auburn ASAP.  “You already needed a scorecard to keep track of the strikes against the freshman quarterback,” he writes.

While Scarbinsky wonders why Gene Chizik and his staff chose to ignore some warning signs about Pike — an in-game fight led to one of his high-school suspensions and it’s believed that synthetic marijuana might have played a role in the other — he also touches on the fact that Auburn doesn’t need any more bad press with one player from the 2010 BCS title squad having recently been handed a 15-year jail sentence for armed robbery and three more of his teammates awaiting their own trials over the same incident.  Good point.

We’ll toss in another.

Considering it was less than two weeks ago that a pair of ex-Tiger football players and another man were shot and killed at an Auburn apartment complex, that community as a whole has no need right now for someone else who seems to have a habit of making poor decisions.  There’s been enough worry, heartache, trials and tribulations at AU the past few months without a freshman QB adding to the mess.

If Pike can get his act together this summer, there still might be a day when he’s trusted to make good decisions on the field as Auburn’s starting quarterback.  Someday.  For now, however, it appears that someone needs to reel Pike in.  (Rimshot.)

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AU QB Candidate Pike Arrested For Public Intoxication

It’s college.  He’s a freshman.  You live and you learn.

But for Auburn quarterback candidate Zeke Pike, you have to wonder how much an early Sunday morning arrest for public intoxication will impact his chances of landing the Tigers’ starting quarterback gig this fall.  The 19-year-old was hit with the misdemeanor charge after being taken into custody on South College Street in Auburn shortly after midnight yesterday morning.

New offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler said during spring practice that his QB race could last the length of fall/preseason practice.  Pike — a three-star prospect from Kentucky — competed with sophomore Kiehl Frazier and redshirt junior Clint Moseley in the spring after enrolling early.

Might this arrest lead Loeffler or head coach Gene Chizik to question the young man’s leadership capabilities at this stage of his career?  Possibly.  But if Pike turns out to be the clear best choice to run Loeffler’s offense, then probably not.

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Don’t Write Off The Spread At Auburn Just Yet

Following the introductory press conference of Scot Loeffler yesterday, many pundits began writing the epitaph for Auburn’s spread offense.  After all, the new offensive coordinator said that he wanted to “protect the defense” and that likely means chucking the no-huddle, hurry-up part of Gus Malzahn’s system.  (Makes you wonder if Gene Chizik and Malzahn might not have seen eye-to-eye when the OC had to slow down his offense at the HC’s request last season.)

Auburn also welcomed aboard Jay Prosch, a transferring fullback from Illinois last week.  There certainly wasn’t a traditional fullback in Malzahn’s spread, either.

Further muddying the water, Loefler and Chizik danced around specific questions about Auburn’s new offensive style.  “I like it all,” Loeffler said.  “What we’re going to do here is take our personnel, assess exactly where we are, and we’re going to build a system to get our playmakers the football.”

“Everybody’s going to talk about spread and pro,” Chizik said.  “What they’re called, that’s overrated.  It’s real simple on offense right now.  Create the offense, and have the flexibility to get your best players the football.”

A slower pace.  A fullback.  Both coaches refusing to say the spread would be back.  All have been taken as clear signs that the days of Malzahn’s influence are at an end.

But remember that one thing still lives on from the Malzahn era — a roster specifically recruited for the spread offense.  If Auburn wants to go from spread to pro-style on a dime, the Tigers could be looking at some of the same issues faced by Florida’s new regime in 2011.  Ask Will Muschamp how easy the Gators’ transition was.

We find it far more likely that Loeffler — a man with experience in both spread and pro-style systems will simply start the move from spread to pro-style.  That may be a multi-year project depending on how quickly Auburn can begin to recruit to Loeffler and Chizik’s desired system.

So what do we think you’ll see on the Plains this fall?  Listen to what receiver prospect JaQuay Williams said last week that Chizik told him:

“He said it’s going to be a little bit o the same.  Four receivers.  Three receivers.  It’s be more a little pro-style.  It’s going to be good.”

That sounds reasonable.  The Tigers have recruited the skill positions hard.  If Loeffler can coach up one of Auburn’s quarterbacks — Clint Moseley, Kiehl Frazier or newcomer Zeke Pike — it makes sense that AU would still try to spread teams out across the field.  They also lost their best offensive weapon in running back Michael Dyer.

With Dyer off to Malzahn’s Arkansas State squad, Onterio McCalebb is the Tigers’ leading returning rusher.  But McCalebb has most often been used on sweeps as AU’s speedy “Mr. Outside.”  Could he become a traditional, workhorse, SEC back?  Good question.  See: Jeff Demps at Florida.

Florida-transfer Mike Blakely (close to Dyer’s 5’9, 210 frame) and Alabama-transfer Corey Grant are options as well, but current commitment Jovon Robinson might be the closest thing to a prototypical, pro-style back at 6’0, 215.

Suffice to say, Loeffler might not have the personnel to run a tried-and-true pro-style offense.  For that reason we anticipate Auburn will continue to spread teams out (think NFL Saints and NFL Patriots rather than Malzahn’s or Oregon’s spread) and will continue to utilize the occasional sweep or end-around to take advantage of talents like McCalebb’s.

We do agree with most others that it sounds like the hurry-up is going bye-bye.

But to suggest a wholesale system change in Year One?  That would be inviting the same kind of troubles that Muschamp and Charlie Weis experienced last season.  To see those issues first-hand, Chizik would only need go dig out the game tape from Auburn’s 17-6 win over the Gators last season.

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QB Trotter Walks Away From AU Football Team

Barrett Trotter began the season as Auburn’s starting quarterback.  By mid-October he’d been replaced by Clint Moseley and Kiehl Frazier.  After sitting for five games, Trotter came off the bench to help lead the Tigers past Virginia in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

Now he’s walking away from the see-saw and will forgo his senior year of football.  Trotter graduated last August and is currently enrolled in graduate school on the Plains.

“My four years at Auburn has been a great experience and I’m thankful for the opportunities that I’ve had.  I’m truly blessed to have been a part of winning seasons and championships during my time at Auburn.

I’m also very appreciative of Coach (Gene) Chizik and the coaching staff, as well as my teammates and the entire Auburn family.”

Trotter said the he will not transfer to another program.  He can take part in Auburn’s pro day if he wants to pursue an NFL career, though it’s unlikely he’ll get a look in the pros.  For his career, Trotter passed for 1,248 yard and 11 touchdowns.

Chizik and the person he hires as offensive coordinator will have Moseley, Frazier and highly-touted incoming freshman Zeke Pike to choose from when it comes to Auburn’s quarterback position in 2012.

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SEC Recruiting Headlines – 11/15/11

1. Offensive lineman Brandon Hill became Alabama’s 20th commitment for the class of 2012.

2. The recruitment of defensive end Jordan Jenkins is “too close to call” with Georgia now getting into the mix.

3. DeVondre Seymour, son of NFL lineman Richard Seymour, has received an offer from Georgia.

4. Auburn quarterback commit Zeke Pike has decided to enroll in January.

5. Houston Nutt believes the history of the state of Mississippi can hurt recruiting at Ole Miss.

5. Here’s a recruiting notebook for the SEC and ACC.

6. Here’s a nice story on 2013 defensive line prospect Greg Gilmore.

7. Running back Keith Marshall had a “good” visit to Clemson last weekend.

8. The basketball programs at Kentucky and Tennessee popped up in this Rivals mailbag.

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Zeke Pike: No Place Better Than Auburn

Zeke Pike’s commitment to Auburn is strong.

The quarterback from Edgewood, Ky., made that clear during his visit to Auburn for the Tigers’ Big Cat Weekend. Pike was in town to help recruit many of the top uncommitted prospects to Auburn.

“I try to tell them I’ve been everywhere,” Pike said. “I tell them, ‘Everybody you have an offer from, I’ve had a chance to see. There is no place like this.’ It’s such a special place. I try to get them to understand that.”

One person who bought the pitch was offensive lineman Shane Callahan, who committed to Auburn during his visit. Others walked away impressed without giving their pledge to the Tigers.

“(Pike) was trying to get me to commit there with him,” Memphis athlete Brian Kimbrow said. “He just kept telling me this is the place for him.”

Auburn could be the place for wide receiver Cordarelle Patterson from Hutchinson Community College. That wasn’t the case before the weekend began.

“At first, Auburn wasn’t on my top list,” Patterson said. “When I came here they jumped on my top so quick. I didn’t expect it to be like that so fast.”

Auburn has six commitments for the class of 2012.

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SEC Commitment Comparison – 5/10/11

With releasing its initial Top 100 prospect list for 2012 on Monday, we thought it would be a good time to check the commitment numbers for each SEC football program.  Of the Rivals list, only five players are currently committed to SEC teams:

20.  Eddie Williams, DB — Alabama
43.  Avery Johnson, WR — LSU
49.  Jessamen Dunker, OL — Florida
72.  Zeke Pike, QB — Auburn
97.  Torshiro Davis, DE — LSU

Below are the current numbers for each SEC school including the number of in-state commits lined up per team:

Total Commits
In-State Commits
S. Carolina
Ole Miss
Miss. State

The state producing the most SEC commitments so far is Georgia.  It looks like a number of SEC teams are hoping to build a “Dream Team” with Peach State players this year:

SEC State
SEC Commits So Far
South Carolina

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Thursday Evening One-Liners

Here are some recruiting headlines for your Thursday evening,

Alabama and Kentucky are battling Kansas for 2011 basketball prospect Trevor Lacey.

Kentucky native Anthony Hickey will visit LSU this weekend. He’ll make a decision on May 6.

The top in-state Georgia basketball coaches will be battling for the same prospects.

Arkansas is pushing for quarterback Jamil Golden now that Zeke Pike is headed to Auburn.

An Oklahoma State commit is now giving serious consideration to Arkansas.

Jamie Newberg looks at the recruiting method that works for Alabama coach Nick Saban.

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“God Thing” Leads 5-Star QB Pike To Pick Auburn

Five-star quarterback prospect Zeke Pike has committed to Auburn today.  The Edgewood, Kentucky native chose the Tigers over Michigan, Purdue, and Arkansas.  He also visited Clemson, Georgia and Tennessee in recent weeks.

“It was a God thing — I can’t explain it,” Pike said of his decision.  “I had no intention of going down there and then committing… but I didn’t expect to get the feeling I got when I was there.”

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