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Travis Williams The Recruiter

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What has made Travis Williams such a successful recruiter?

Tom Green - al.com

The tweets started going up shortly before 6 p.m. Tuesday.

First it was a photo of a pit bull, then a graphic with the words "because this is Auburn." Those were followed by a slew of retweets of other Auburn staff members. That's when Travis Williams, Auburn's linebackers coach, posted a video of his daughter, Reign, singing the Tigers' fight song along with him.

Needless to say, Williams was considerably fired up Tuesday evening, and for good reason: Auburn just earned a commitment from five-star linebacker Owen Pappoe, the No. 1 outside linebacker in the nation and the No. 8 overall recruit in the 2019 class. Oh, and Auburn edged out rival Georgia in the process.

It was a huge get for Auburn, which has been on a bit of a roll on the recruiting trail of late, and for Williams, who in just his third year as an FBS assistant has built a reputation as an ace recruiter -- not just among Auburn's coaching staff, but nationally as well.

"I take pride in how well I coach and recruit," Williams told AL.com last week. "I don't want to be just known as a recruiter; I'm a football coach that happens to relate to players."

 

5-star linebacker Owen Pappoe commits to Auburn

During the 2018 recruiting cycle, Williams was the Tigers' top recruiter, according to the 247Sports recruiter rankings. He was rated as the No. 12 recruiter in the nation, fifth-best in the SEC, and he was credited with helping land eight of the Tigers' 24 signees, including four-star prospects Quindarious Monday, Zakoby McClain, Michael Harris, Christian Tutt, Matthew Hill and Richard Jibunor.

So far with the 2019 class, following the commitment of Pappoe on Tuesday, Williams is currently rated as 23rd among college assistants as a recruiter. Along with Pappoe, 247Sports credits Williams with being the primary recruiter for three-star center Jakai Clark, one of Pappoe's teammates at Grayson High in Loganville, Ga. The addition of Pappoe is particularly meaningful for Auburn, as the 6-foot, 209-pound running back is set to become the third-highest rated recruit in program history, behind former defensive lineman Byron Cowart and former linebacker Tray Blackmon.

So, what is it about Williams that has made him so successful on the recruiting trail? In his eyes, it's quite simple: He's straight forward and honest with these high school kids and doesn't just feed into the endless hype surrounding many of these blue-chip prospects.

"I just keep it real," Williams said. "Don't be a used-car salesman. Just from experience with me as a player, these guys want realness. One thing they can understand is when somebody is not real. You know, so when I say real, I mean being honest with them, shooting straight. They're in your office for a reason. They know they're a five-star or a four-star; they don't need you to tell them that. I just think that's what I try to do, is be as honest as possible."

 

Where Auburn's assistant coaches finished in 2018 recruiter rankings

That authentic approach, paired with Williams' vibrant personality and youthful exuberance (he is just 35 years old, after all), has played well with recruits, who have found the Tigers' third-year linebackers coach relatable.

It has certainly helped Williams' cause that he has been in their shoes, both as a recruit who had to deal with "used-car salesman" coaches and as a former Auburn player who now uses his story and his experience on the Plains to his advantage. Williams, an All-SEC linebacker in 2004, has said multiple times since being promoted to linebackers coach following the 2015 season that it's easy for him to recruit to Auburn because he believes in the product.

"You could read between the lines, the whole dog and pony show, coaches saying, 'You're our top guy,' and then you leave and they'll go tell the next guy they're the top guy," Williams said of his experiences as a recruit. "Nah, man. I'll be honest."

Williams' honesty and steadfast belief that Auburn is the best program around is also why, he said, he doesn't participate in negative recruiting by disparaging rival programs who may be competing for the same recruits.

"I talk about Auburn," Williams said. "I don't talk about other schools. We have enough to sell, so we don't have to talk about other schools. I don't get into all of that stuff because I don't give anybody free publicity. I don't talk about other schools, I talk about Auburn."

It has worked out so far for Williams, and for Auburn.

 

 

Edited by ellitor
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One thing that the article doesn't mention that I think really bodes well for him, and will for Kodi as he continues to improve as a recruiter, is that both of them basically are Auburn. They played here, they started coaching here, and in T-Will's case, he pretty much been a fixture here since he got into coaching. Nothing sells a place better than someone who is truly part of that place and that place is a part of them. 

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T-will said as much! Being an Auburn player, coach, and still young enough to relate makes a huge difference.

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I love that he said he doesn’t give anyone free publicity. 😂😂😂 PREACH! 

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I hear so many of our fan base say other schools do negative recruiting so we must. I love hearing our best recruiter doesn't believe in that and his results seem to prove you can be the best without lowering yourself to the level where you need to bad mouth the other team to succeed. I also like the fact that he says he is a coach who happens to be a good recruiter. It seems many coaches are one dimensional either a great position coach or a great recruiter. T-Will is unique in that he is both. It is going to be hard to keep him as I expect a lot of teams will be coming after him after this year. Auburn needs to keep him happy and home.

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2 hours ago, WFE12 said:

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3 hours ago, WFE12 said:

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For a young coach looking to move up, money is not all that important. If some P-5 school offers him a D-coordinator job a few more bucks from Auburn won't make any difference.

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9 minutes ago, Mikey said:

For a young coach looking to move up, money is not all that important. If some P-5 school offers him a D-coordinator job a few more bucks from Auburn won't make any difference.

 

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13 minutes ago, Mikey said:

For a young coach looking to move up, money is not all that important. If some P-5 school offers him a D-coordinator job a few more bucks from Auburn won't make any difference.

Agree with this. I would rather stay at Auburn and be happy than take a ton of money and move on. And all I got was a degree. T Will has way more invested than I do. It doesn't get any bigger for a college coach than that.

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T-Will was an undersized LB from Spring Valley High that had one offer from a division one program. Auburn. And that offer was in the process of being pulled when a visit from coach Whitt to pull that offer turned positive when coach met his family. That visit changed T-Wills life and he is Auburn inside and out because of it. Love the guy! 

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On ‎5‎/‎2‎/‎2018 at 9:57 PM, Mikey said:

For a young coach looking to move up, money is not all that important. If some P-5 school offers him a D-coordinator job a few more bucks from Auburn won't make any difference.

It may have just been all talk but T-Will has said that he wants to be the next Joe Whitt and stay at AU. But I still think we need to make it rain money and make him happy.

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21 minutes ago, kd4au said:

It may have just been all talk but T-Will has said that he wants to be the next Joe Whitt and stay at AU. But I still think we need to make it rain money and make him happy.

I looked for that interview yesterday to no avail!  I do remember him saying that, but he was probably just in the moment. I do believe he loves Auburn and would love to stay as long as we want him!

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8 minutes ago, toddc said:

I looked for that interview yesterday to no avail!  I do remember him saying that, but he was probably just in the moment. I do believe he loves Auburn and would love to stay as long as we want him!

Odds are...

Rocker - gone

Willis - gone

Craig - gone

Pelton - gone

TRob - gone

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3 hours ago, kd4au said:

It may have just been all talk but T-Will has said that he wants to be the next Joe Whitt and stay at AU. But I still think we need to make it rain money and make him happy.

"Make it rain money", ok but..... When he gets a big raise, who does he pass on the salary chart? There are other's feelings and staff relationships to consider. It's more complicated than just shower him with money.

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He needs to at LEAST be at Kodi's level. That would be a substantial raise for him but I wonder what another school would offer him. 

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1 hour ago, Tiger said:

He needs to at LEAST be at Kodi's level. That would be a substantial raise for him but I wonder what another school would offer him. 

a lot

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20 hours ago, Mikey said:

"Make it rain money", ok but..... When he gets a big raise, who does he pass on the salary chart? There are other's feelings and staff relationships to consider. It's more complicated than just shower him with money.

If the other guys don't realize that he's putting water under their boats, then it's probably ok if they seek opportunities elsewhere. It's not an insult to the other guys to acknowledge that he is outperforming most of them and should be compensated accordingly.

You want the best linebackers on the field regardless of seniority, yes?

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On ‎5‎/‎4‎/‎2018 at 12:03 PM, AUDevil said:

Odds are...

Rocker - gone

Willis - gone

Craig - gone

Pelton - gone

TRob - gone

Some were better coaches than others......a degree from AU does not earn a person a life-time job.    Hoping he decides to hang around a while....and that we have a opening that is attractive to him.  

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1 hour ago, McLoofus said:

If the other guys don't realize that he's putting water under their boats, then it's probably ok if they seek opportunities elsewhere. It's not an insult to the other guys to acknowledge that he is outperforming most of them and should be compensated accordingly.

You want the best linebackers on the field regardless of seniority, yes?

Williams has been handed the richest recruiting area in the Southeast. (Possibly in a tie with the Miami area) Williams's assigned area is in close proximity to Auburn. UGA is the only other school as close as AU and they can only take 25 a year. If Williams did anything other than lead the pack he'd be a complete failure.

Now, I think he's a very good recruiter who is doing a great job but there are others on staff that are working just as hard. Williams is not the end-all be-all of recruiting. He is excelling and he should be excelling when considering what he's got to work with.

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37 minutes ago, Mikey said:

Williams has been handed the richest recruiting area in the Southeast. (Possibly in a tie with the Miami area) Williams's assigned area is in close proximity to Auburn. UGA is the only other school as close as AU and they can only take 25 a year. If Williams did anything other than lead the pack he'd be a complete failure.

Now, I think he's a very good recruiter who is doing a great job but there are others on staff that are working just as hard. Williams is not the end-all be-all of recruiting. He is excelling and he should be excelling when considering what he's got to work with.

I wonder why he got assigned our most important and target-rich area. 

However, the initial assertion wasn't about his performance. It was that he shouldn't pass anyone on the payroll because it might hurt their feelings. I don't think that's normal or appropriate.

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43 minutes ago, Mikey said:

Williams has been handed the richest recruiting area in the Southeast.

That was a smart move by Gus if he is the one that handed it to T-Will. It surprises me that you would not be thrilled with T-Will and the job he has done with LB'ers and LB'er recruiting. 

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4 hours ago, kd4au said:

That was a smart move by Gus if he is the one that handed it to T-Will. It surprises me that you would not be thrilled with T-Will and the job he has done with LB'ers and LB'er recruiting. 

I'm thrilled with him and his results. I'm simply not into worship mode.

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4 hours ago, McLoofus said:

I wonder why he got assigned our most important and target-rich area. 

However, the initial assertion wasn't about his performance. It was that he shouldn't pass anyone on the payroll because it might hurt their feelings. I don't think that's normal or appropriate.

I didn't say he shouldn't pass anybody. I stated that there are other considerations and it's more complicated than "throw money at him".

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