Former UGA recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner was named to 247sports.com’s Top 50 recruiters for the Class of 2013.
Garner, who was hired away by Auburn in late December, was also a finalist for the nation’s top recruiter (which went to Alabama’s Mike Groh).
Garner was at Auburn for only six weeks, and recruited at a level – during that short period – that was unequal with anybody else in the country. Here’s a closer look at his magic:
Montravius Adams, DT, Dooly County: This was the stuff of recruiting legends. You’ve got to realize that 10 days before national signing day, Adams wasn’t even going to visit Auburn on the last weekend. Adams was worn out from the recruiting process, and he thought about skipping the final weekend to rest. Garner and Ellis Johnson visited Adams to urge him to visit. Adams said he needed a day or two to think about it. He did decide to go, and the rest is history. Credit Garner and his friendship with Adams. And yes, if Garner was still at UGA, maybe Adams would’ve signed with the Bulldogs. This is yet another example how recruiting is all about ... relationships.
Elijah Daniels, DE, Avon, Ind.: Garner helped flip the consensus 4-star from Ole Miss to Auburn. It was just about the only thing in recruiting that went wrong this year for Ole Miss. Garner called Daniels two days after he committed to Ole Miss. Daniels told Scout.com's Amy Campbell: "Ole Miss, I really like them and respect them, I just felt Auburn was the better fit because of how long I’ve known Coach G, my position coach, and how much he knows about my family and how he stayed in contact with my family. I feel like family is the most important thing in the world, and to find a coach that really knows your family is a big thing.”
Carl Lawson, DE, Milton: Garner did an amazing job of salvaging his damaged relationship with Lawson, the nation’s No. 2 overall prospect by ESPN. Lawson never de-committed from Auburn but he looked closely at (and visited) both Tennessee and Clemson. When Garner was hired by Auburn, ironically his top recruit was Lawson – who Garner passed on while he was at UGA. The Bulldogs had to dispatch a different coach to Milton (defensive coordinator Todd Grantham), and that happened two months after Lawson had committed to Auburn last spring. It would be easy to simply say that once Garner got to Auburn, he made amends with Lawson, and that secured him for the Tigers. However, even though Garner will get credit, Lawson’s decision to go there had as much or more to do with Auburn’s tradition, fan base, facilities, and environment as it did with his new position coach, according to his father. Garner also got former Auburn stars such as Takeo Spikes and Victor Riley to call Lawson and talk about the glory days.