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March 19, 2013

Tigers surge into top five for Rivals100 QB


Norman (Okla.) Rivals100 quarterback David Cornwell made a one-day visit to Auburn on Tuesday. Entering the visit, Cornwell had a top four and the Tigers weren't included. After his trip to the Plains, things have changed.

"I have a top five now, with (Auburn) coming in, this is in my top five," Cornwell said. "It was a great visit to see the coaches and I'll be back in the spring. This is definitely an option, how they respect me and I respect them.

"It's a great place. I love the area, Alabama is one of my favorite states. I like the stadium, Coach (Gus) Malzahn is a great guy and they are going to get it turned around and compete for a national championship."

The 6-foot-5, 235-pound Cornwell spent his visit with Malzahn and offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee. The main topic of discussion was how Cornwell would fit into the Tigers' spread, high-tempo attack.

"Getting to see the offense is nice, a lot of reads, getting the feel like I can pick the offense up and make a run at the starting job, I don't know," Cornwell said. "I've played in both style offenses (pro-style and spread), each will get you to the NFL. This is a great offense, you will get a lot of yards and touchdowns. This would allow reads quicker and it would transition to the NFL, which I believe it would.

"Cam Newton is making a splash and the way the NFL is going, this would be a great option. When you go to Auburn and play in an offense like this, chance of a Heisman, chance of a national championship. This is a great area and a great opportunity."

Malzahn's offenses have had tremendous success everywhere he's been. From Tulsa, to Arkansas, to Auburn and to Arkansas State, the schemes have produced more than stats, they've produced wins. Cornwell knew some of that history, but not all. Learning more about the style of attack and the results that follow was eye-opening.

"Learning how high-profile the offense is -- the success of the last seven years, it's not just SEC," Cornwell said. "The proof is in the pudding. You can put almost anyone with a good arm in this offense and they will be successful. Coach Malzahn will coach them up. It's what we need at Auburn, it's a family. That's Auburn and I really enjoyed that."

So what's next for the nation's No. 63 overall player?

Cornwell is fresh off visits to Tennessee and Alabama. More visits will follow. Cornwell plans a decision by June, as he will be an early enrollee. He only plans one official visit next fall after he makes his commitment in the summer.

With offers from coast to coast, Cornwell is keeping his favorites a secret, but programs like Alabama, Virginia Tech, Tennessee, UCLA and Michigan are surely in the mix. After starting his high school career in Nebraska, before moving to Florida and then Oklahoma, Cornwell isn't set on staying close to home.

In fact, the SEC is likely where Cornwell will end up.

"My dad has put it to me that I can be successful anywhere, I don't need to stay close to home," he said. "I really prefer the SEC, to be honest. It's where national championships stay, where the best players are, and where I feel like I need to be."

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