First-year Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn landed his first quarterback commitment on Tuesday as Elite 11 MVP Sean White (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./University School) gave his pledge to the Tigers.
The 6-foot-1, 199-pound quarterback chose Auburn over offers from Cincinnati, West Virginia and Syracuse. After his strong Elite 11 performance, he was also receiving interest from South Carolina, Wisconsin and Tennessee.
White, who passed for 3,348 yards and 40 touchdowns and six interceptions as a junior, said there were several factors why he chose Auburn.
"I just loved everything about Auburn when I visited last weekend," White said. "The stadium, the atmosphere on game days, the level of football and they are so tight -- it's like a family there and then obviously playing for Coach Malzahn and Coach [Rhett] Lashlee and what they can do with quarterbacks there.
"They put up big numbers and score a lot of points. I think we will have a great ability to win in the SEC in the future. I'm just so fired up about everything. It's just an amazing place."
Malzahn, as the offensive coordinator at Auburn, helped mold quarterback Cam Newton into a Heisman Trophy winner and NFL starter. White said it was a special feeling for Malzahn to personally select him to be his future quarterback.
"I think it's huge," White said. "Coach Malzahn knows what he's looking for. So when he thinks I have the ability to come in and play for him and be successful -- it means a lot. He's had a lot of success and he knows what he's looking for, so that's a great thing."
Though White has not decided when he will enroll, he said Auburn fans can expect to get a competitive player.
"They can expect to get a winner and someone that is very competitive and I'm just going to come in and help the program win in any way possible."
That includes helping Auburn recruit for their 2014 class. White was the quarterback for the 7-on-7 power South Florida Express and will be looking to add other South Florida prospects to the Tigers class.
"I know that in South Florida, I know a lot of kids and I think a lot of kids respect me so I think I can definitely pull some kids to Auburn," he said. "I know one kid that I'm going to try to get for sure is Travis Rudolph (West Palm Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman). So I'm going to start working on him.
"I know all the good players down here so I'm going to try to work them all to get them to Auburn and then also, anybody else they are going after, whether they live down here or not. I'm just going to be a big ambassador for the program and try to get the best talent for our class."
One of the few knocks on White has been his lack of ideal size. His ESPN scouting report, though, said he makes up for it with his accuracy and timing.
"[White is] a timing passer who carries the ball high and likes to get it out of his hand as quickly as possible," the scouting report said. "Has a quick release. Compensates with great timing and a live release, but he's undersized and has a very good, but not necessarily great arm."
For White, he believes his arm strength and ability to make plays will help him be a succesfful college quarterback.
"I think people underestimate my arm strength," White said. "I can throw the ball like 75 yards in the air. I'd say my accuracy and the ability to keep plays alive in the pocket is good. I'm also good at, not necessarily running, but just keeping plays alive and extending plays and looking downfield and making good throws on the run."
White recently admitted that Notre Dame was his childhood favorite team and he would love to play for the Fighting Irish. So if Notre Dame offered late, would White listen to their offer?
"No, sir," White said emphatically. "Auburn is the place I want to play. It's a great school. I think it's the best school in the country."
Auburn now has 10 commitments, including six listed in the ESPN 300. The Tigers currently have the No. 17 class in the country.