Auburn has made a late offer to one of the state’s top seniors at running back.
Milton High School’s Peyton Barber said he got a “random call” on Sunday from Auburn’s new coach, Gus Malzahn. Barber is committed to Ole Miss.
“I didn’t know who it was, at first,” Barber told the AJC. “Coach Malzahn said he had nothing to do with the old coaching staff at Auburn. He said if he had been there, I would’ve definitely had an offer before the season. (Malzahn) felt like I was one of the best running backs he’s watched this year. He liked the way I ran, blocked and caught balls. He said I could be an every-down back there.”
The 6-foot, 225-pound Barber was overlooked by many colleges because he missed nearly all of his junior season with torn ligaments in his ankle. Ole Miss gambled with an early offer to Barber, who committed to the Rebels last summer.
Barber remains committed to Ole Miss, but will take official visits to UCLA on Jan. 11, Arizona State on Jan. 18, the Rebels on Jan. 25, and maybe Miami on Feb. 1. He also may take a midweek trip to Tennessee.
“I feel like things are really good with Ole Miss,” Barber said. “But I’m taking the visits because anything can happen in recruiting. A coach could get fired or leave or something. I just want to make sure I’m making the right decision with Ole Miss. But I like Coach (Hugh) Freeze because he’s a man of faith, and I’m pretty big on faith, too. He’s not afraid to discuss that topic with me. I also feel like Coach Freeze is doing something good there.”
There’s an interesting angle with the Auburn offer. Barber’s Milton teammate and close friend is defensive end Carl Lawson, who is the nation’s No. 2-ranked prospect by ESPN. Lawson remains committed to Auburn but will likely visit some other schools because of the coaching change.
Could this be part of a “package deal” from Auburn to secure Lawson?
Barber is not sure if he’ll visit Auburn but did say “I definitely feel like Coach Malzahn is going to bring them back to the Auburn everybody knows.”
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