247Sports names Auburn a winner of the coaching carousel

Hugh Freeze has yet to coach a game as Auburn’s head coach but there is plenty of optimism around his tenure.

While some of this is the excitement that Bryan Harsin has been replaced and that the next head coach surely won’t be as disastrous, Brandon Marcello of 247Sports believes there was a lot to like about Auburn hiring Freeze. In fact, he named Auburn one of his winners of the coaching carousel for the hire.

Freeze, however, is the man who has proven capable of not just challenging Nick Saban but is also a threat to beat him every year — even in seasons Freeze has less talent. He did it at Ole Miss and he’ll do it again at Auburn, where talent is not in short supply. The trajectory has certainly changed for the Tigers. Freeze quickly turned Auburn into a top-5 spot in the Transfer Portal while elevating a high school recruiting class that ranked in the 60s nationally under Harsin to 17th in a matter of weeks, according to the 247Sports Composite.

While having a good head coach is important, it is equally important that he surrounds himself with good coordinators and assistant coaches. Freeze appears to have done this by retaining several stars from the previous coaching staff and bringing in his guys.

There is no better example than him retaining and promoting Cadillac Williams who helped bring Auburn’s program back to life after he was named the interim head coach to end the season. He also retained ace recruiting Zac Etheridge, who has already landed several key recruits.

The staff Freeze built is anchored by Auburn legend Cadillac Williams, who successfully lifted the Tigers out of the dirt as interim head coach in November, and veteran coordinators in former Tulsa head coach Philip Montgomery and Baylor defensive coordinator Ron Roberts, who turned down overtures from Arkansas to choose Auburn. Freeze also brought former Auburn receiver Marcus Davis home to coach receivers and hired his right-hand recruiting man at Ole Miss in 2012: secondary coach Wes McGriff.

The staff will soon have its first test as spring practice is set to start on Feb. 27 and end with the A-Day game on April 8.

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Story originally appeared on Auburn Wire