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December 19, 2010
AU leads for No. 3 DB after visit
Valley (Ala.) four-star Erique Florence had been to Auburn's campus numerous times. He'd seen the Tigers' facilities, met with the coaches and felt comfortable with the environment.
The 6-foot-2, 180-pound safety didn't need to take an official visit to Auburn, but did.
Florence and several members of his family including his mother, Chyristal Florence, spent the weekend in Auburn.
"It was a great experience," said Erique Florence. "My family got a feeling of what Auburn has to offer. I had seen everything I needed to see, but my family got a chance to go more in depth with the academics and the football program. They got to see the facilities.
"We all really enjoyed it. I'm glad I took the visit."
Florence, ranked the nation's No. 3 safety and state's No. 3 overall recruit, arrived on the Plains Friday and spent the next two days with 10 other official visitors. He hung out with his fellow recruits as well as current Auburn players.
"I got to see what it's like to be an Auburn Tiger," Florence said.
And apparently liked the idea of it.
"They are No. 1 right now," Florence said Sunday following the visit. "It's where I feel most comfortable. I'm more comfortable at Auburn than anywhere else. I feel like I can trust the coaching staff and I think we can do great things at Auburn if I go."
In addition to the 11 official visitors, Auburn hosted a few recruits on unofficial visits including four-star quarterback commitment Kiehl Frazier. Frazier, ranked the No. 4 dual-threat quarterback, drove down from Springdale, Ark. to spend the weekend with potential future teammates.
Frazier and Florence were able to utilize the weekend to begin building a friendship.
"For him to come to Auburn after he won the (Arkansas) state championship, the MVP, the great player he is, it is huge," said Florence. "It's great to be able to go to Auburn and hang out with him a couple of days, figure out what kind of guy he is off the field, build a relationship with him."
Florence had the chance two weeks ago in Mobile at the Alabama-Mississippi All-Start Classic to build friendships with a few fellow top in-state recruits. He took advantage of that opportunity as well.
"(Russellville five-star linebacker/running back) Brent Calloway was there and he is committed to Alabama, but talks about Auburn," said Florence. "There were a lot of big recruits there and all of us talked about where we might end up."
Two other recruits Florence spoke to in Mobile were Auburn commitments Jonathan Rose, the four-star cornerback out of Leeds, and Anthony Swain, a big-hitting safety from Gadsden City.
"They are both big-time Auburn commits," said Florience. "If I went to Auburn, the secondary would be pretty strong in the future."
The possibility of teaming up with Rose and Swain at Auburn is a strong possibility.
"I'm looking for the place I feel most comfortable, where we can win ball games and get a good education," said Florence. "I want to sit down with my family and see if they want me to go far off or if they feel more comfortable with me being closer."
And if it's staying closer to home, Florence has a good feeling about Auburn. After the visit this weekend, so does his family.
"They enjoyed it and I enjoyed it," he said. "It was a great experience for all of us."
Florence doesn't plan on announcing his college choice until Signing Day in February. He will take official visits to USC (Jan. 14-16) and Alabama (Jan. 21-23) before making his decision.