What Auburn football is getting in 5-star 2024 WR Cam Coleman
Flipmas came early this year, as the Tigers have landed a local product who is set to be the highest-rated offensive signee in program history.
5-star WR Cam Coleman (Twitter)
On Monday, with the pain of a last-second loss to Alabama still fresh and still stinging, Auburn head coach Hugh Freeze was asked about one big positive from the near-historic upset.
While Auburn couldn’t finish the job in what was the most brutal close loss of a challenging 2023 season, the Tigers had a huge number of recruits — the lifeblood of Freeze’s project to bring the program back to a true contender — in attendance.
They didn’t witness a legendary Auburn victory. But they witnessed what Jordan-Hare Stadium looks like at its peak and how they could be the ones to help the Tigers get closer to where they want to be.
“Everything but the win,” Freeze said. “That would've been huge. The recruits, I think, see it. The battles are never over when you're talking about battling for the top guys in the country. But for them to have that as an experience, it certainly is a positive for us. I don't know that they've been to a game that was quite like that, and so I think it was a step in the right direction for us to get to the finish line with some of those guys.”
Freeze is right in that the battles are truly never over for the elite prospects. His reputation as a recruiter has been one of flipping high-profile players from other programs at the 11th hour — something he did shortly after getting hired at Auburn, netting instant-impact freshmen Keldric Faulk, Kayin Lee and Connor Lew.
And he only needed a few days to prove how true it really would be in the 2024 class, which already had flipped Perry Thompson from Alabama and Demarcus Riddick from Georgia in the summer.
On Friday afternoon, 5-star wide receiver Cam Coleman announced that he was flipping from Texas A&M to Auburn, with just a couple of weeks left until the early signing period.
It’s hard to overstate how massive of a recruit Coleman is for Auburn. According to the 247Sports Composite — which combines the numbers from all four major recruiting services — Coleman is the No. 7 player in the country, the No. 3 wide receiver in the class and the No. 1 player in the state of Alabama. His commitment alone bumped Auburn up six spots to No. 11 nationally for 2024.
Coleman’s composite score of 0.9962 would rank No. 3 for Auburn in the modern recruiting era, which dates back to the early 2000s. Defensive linemen Byron Cowart and Derrick Brown are the only ones ahead of him, making him the highest-rated offensive commitment in program history.
This summer, there was plenty of buzz linking Coleman — a superstar talent from Central High School in nearby Phenix City — to Auburn. But Coleman made the rather surprising announcement that he was committing to Texas A&M, which had a strong track record of pulling in prospects under Jimbo Fisher with its vast NIL resources.
Auburn didn’t give up after Coleman pledged to Texas A&M, though. He made three unofficial visits during the season, including the Iron Bowl last weekend. Freeze, receivers coach Marcus Davis and a loaded wideout class led by fellow 5-star Perry Thompson continued to put the recruiting pressure on Coleman to flip.
Then Texas A&M fired Fisher after another underwhelming season, and it was announced that former Auburn quarterback and assistant coach Dameyune Craig — the Aggies’ wide receiver coach — wouldn’t be retained under new head coach Mike Elko.
The race was on from there, and less than a week after the ultimate gut punch in the Iron Bowl, Auburn is getting a major consolation prize for the future of its program.
Coleman’s flip to Auburn is significant from a rankings standpoint and a historical context standpoint.
Central-Phenix City, whose head coach is former Auburn quarterback Patrick Nix, usually doesn’t send many players to the Plains. Top wide-receiver prospects such as Justyn Ross and E.J. Williams elected to go away from home for college, opting to join Clemson. Karmello English switched his commitment from Auburn to Michigan.
Even though the Red Devils have consistently been one of the best programs in the state of Alabama, right in their own backyard, the Tigers haven’t signed a recruit from there since John Broussard Jr. back in 2016.
On top of that, elite wide receiver prospects just don’t go to Auburn. As we detailed here at The Observer in the summer, the Tigers have only signed one composite 5-star wide receiver ever, and that was Ben Obomanu — back in 2002.
The arrival of Freeze, who has a history of producing highly productive wide receivers, appears to have changed things. Thompson has remained firmly committed since his flip from Alabama in the summer. Bryce Cain and Malcolm Simmons are talented in-state 4-stars who have boosted the numbers at a position of great need. And the Tigers will continue to work to flip Auburn legacy Ryan Williams, a 5-star in the 2025 class who might reclassify to 2024 in the coming weeks.
All of that matters, and it still pales in comparison to what Coleman means as an actual on-the-field prospect.
Throughout his senior season at Central, which will play for a 7A state championship next week, he’s proven why he’s been treated as such a special recruit.