February 26, 2013

Garner facing new challenges

AUBURN | Defensive line was the epicenter of the Tigers' impressive Signing Day 2013 haul, where three members of the Under Armour All-American team will spend their college careers.

End Carl Lawson wasn't a surprise. He remained committed to Auburn for the final 11 months of the recruiting cycle - and publicly reaffirmed his allegiance three days before signing.

The additions of end Elijah Daniel and tackle Montravius Adams were far bigger surprises. Both players were recruited primarily by assistant coach Rodney Garner, though his tight relationships those player didn't alleviate his anxiety the morning of Feb. 6.

"I felt good about it, but I've been in this thing long enough to know that even though they're telling you one thing, things change at the 12th hour," Garner said. "Until you get that fax coming across that machine, you never know. Conversations I'd had with Elijah and Montravius, it all indicated that they were going to come to Auburn."

Daniel signed early. No drama there.

Adams, the burly tackle whose run-stopping ability matched Auburn's biggest need, wasn't as soothing. He didn't announce until later in the morning and began his televised announcement with what appeared to be a red top.

Some assumed Georgia had become Adams' preferred destination.

Then he removed the top to show an airbrushed shirt adorned with Auburn colors - and a picture of Adams growling in an Auburn jersey. The coaches' war room burst into celebration. Still, Garner wasn't totally convinced.

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