Columnist Joseph Goodman to discuss NIL, Auburn’s sudden recruiting success

Columnist Joseph Goodman to discuss NIL, Auburn’s sudden recruiting success

Auburn is dropping one commitment after another from the recruiting portal, and it’s making at least one well-known coach frustrated to the point of venting some frustrations on Twitter.

The latest transfer acquisition for the Tigers is a senior center who played for East Carolina last season. Avery Jones was originally headed to Illinois, but he suddenly changed his plans, and now he’s the latest addition for coach Hugh Freeze at Auburn. Jones is one of three future transfers for Auburn projected to start along the offensive line next season.

The Tigers have added 11 transfers to the recruiting class of 2023. According to recruiting website 24/7, the addition of Jones now gives Auburn the third-best transfer class nationally this recruiting cycle behind only Florida State and Colorado.

How are the Tigers doing so well on the recruiting trail? Illinois coach Bret Bielema has a theory. When Jones tweeted his commitment on Tuesday, Bielema took the opportunity to explain how he lost the commitment.

“College football is changing every day #NIL,” Bielema wrote, using Jones’ celebratory social media message for context in a tweet of the quote.

There are many reasons why an Illinois commit could change his mind and choose a prominent SEC team instead, but Bielema’s tweet suggests Jones was also offered more money through Auburn’s NIL collective.

The way I read it, Bielema implies this is a bad thing, but it’s just the new world of college football. Good for Auburn, great for Jones, apparently, and tough luck for Illinois. Maybe just don’t be so poor.

I’ll be discussing Auburn’s successful run of transfer commitments and other NIL-related stuff at 3pm CT on Thursday during a live Reddit chat on the popular college football subReddit, r/CFB. The conversation is part of Headline Studio’s NIL Now podcast. The podcast, which can be found here, is hosted by ESPN’s Lauren Sisler and r/CFB’s Bobak Ha’Eri. The r/CFB subReddit features 1.8 million members and is pretty much a daily must-read for college football fans. The discussion will center around the NIL era and how players’ ability to monetize their name, image and likeness is changing the college game.

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It’s no secret to college football insiders that Auburn is using its NIL powerhouse On To Victory to quickly reshape the football team’s roster for coach Hugh Freeze’s first season on The Plains. Jones represented Auburn’s fifth transfer commitment during a six-day stretch, and I don’t think Auburn is done making headlines either.

Joseph Goodman is a columnist for Alabama Media Group and author of We Love Bama: A Season of Hope and the Making of Nick Saban’s ‘Ultimate Team’. You can find him on Twitter @JoeGoodmanJr.

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