Recruit 'pranked' into believing he received scholarship from Auburn

Miami Central High School offensive lineman Taurrian Stafford briefly thought he had an offer from Auburn. (AP)
Miami Central High School offensive lineman Taurrian Stafford briefly thought he had an offer from Auburn. (AP)

The world of recruiting can be cruel.

We hear far too often about kids losing scholarships amid a numbers crunch, but what happened to Taurrian Stafford, a class of 2018 offensive lineman from Miami, goes way beyond that.

On Tuesday, Stafford received what he thought was a phone call from Auburn offensive line coach Herb Hand. During the call, whoever was on the other end offered him a scholarship — Stafford’s first from a major college program. However, Stafford later found out it wasn’t Hand calling him after all.

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Stafford told he was the victim of a cold-hearted prank:

“I went and Googled him,” Stafford said. “I was talking to him and he was like, “I like your film, I like how aggressive you are. I like the way you drive block.’ “

And then, the person on the other end of phone gave him some unexpected news.

“He was like, ‘I would like to offer you a scholarship,’ “ Stafford recalled. “I cried. When I got that offer, it was the high point of my whole life.”

But, there was a problem. It wasn’t Hand on the other line. And, as Stafford would later learn, there was no offer.

“I got pranked,” Stafford said Thursday evening.

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Stafford’s coaches at Miami Central High School got in contact with the Auburn football program in effort to verify the offer. They soon found out from Herb Hand himself — the actual Herb Hand — that he hadn’t made the phone call.

Stafford, understandably, was devastated.

“(Hand) called and said, ‘I’m sorry for the incident, but that was not me who called,’” Stafford told 247Sports.

Something positive did come out of the experience, however. Herb told Stafford, who is listed at 6-foot-4 and 320 pounds and has an offer from Florida A&M, he would make the trip down to Florida during the spring to evaluate him in person.

Hand also offered a message to the demented individual who called Stafford.

Well said, coach.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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