AUBURN | Corey Lemonier waited until National Signing Day to announce his decision between Auburn and Florida State in 2010.
Former assistant coach Trooper Taylor jumped for joy when Lemonier chose the Tigers during a live ESPN telecast. Lemonier was a four-star defensive end said to have enough speed to pressure defenses from the outside and enough brawn to neutralize the running game as well.
He didn't disappoint.
Lemonier ended his Auburn career after the 2012 season with 98 tackles, 17 sacks and seven forced fumbles. He was named to the All-SEC team on four occasions (pre- and post-season in 2011 and 2011) and gave the Tigers a meaningful perimeter presence during even the earliest stages of his college career.
Lemonier is projected as a second- or third-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, which begins tonight. Despite being involved with draft preparations, the South Florida native reached out to AuburnSports.com Thursday in an effort to let Auburn fans know how much he has appreciated their support and friendship during the past three seasons.
Here is Lemonier in his own words:
"As I try to manage the anxiousness that today brings, despite my best efforts not to, I find myself reading anything and everything on the internet regarding the NFL Draft, that starts tonight. And last night, one thing stood out: Lutz's Thank You Letter to those close to him during his time at Auburn. He was able to capture the emotion that so many of us feel towards those who have been supportive over the last few years so perfectly, and I did not want to let his good idea stop with him.
"So, THANK YOU.
"Thank you to my coaches and teammates. I came to Auburn as a boy and you all helped me become a man. The blood, sweat and tears; the happiness and joy; the struggle; the defeats; and the achievements all prepared me to tackle the next stage of my career. The bonds and friendships forged through Hard Work are lifelong and I am excited as we all move forward, not only to see what we all do, but also to our reunions where we can revisit our past and share in what the future holds. I knew I had to be a part of this program when Coach Chiz came to my house on his official home visit. One of my most distinct memories of him was when my mother insisted that he drink a Haitian delicacy of coconut milk and sugar, which most people do not care for. Coach Chiz drank a few sips before getting sick in the bushes; and so to not insult her, came back and finished his drink.
"It was right then that I knew I had to be a part of a family where the head coach was willing to get sick for me and take one for the team.
"Thank you to my family and friends. You all have been here for me through difficulties and joy. We supported one another and built relationships that will forever be a part of who we are. I love you all.
"It is said: 'You can choose your friends, but you can't choose your family'; well, God has blessed me with the best family possible and even if given a choice, I could not have chosen better. The friends that I have chosen have surrounded me with positivity and have given me the courage to chase my dreams.
"You all are my inspiration.
"And as importantly, Thank you to the Auburn Family. The unbridled optimism and love you feel for our school was one of the reasons I chose to move from South Florida to Central Alabama. I felt it when we first met and I share in it now. You all have cheered our achievements and loved us despite our defeats and I am so grateful for you. Playing football in the SEC is tough. Being a full-time student requires dedication. Maturing from childhood to an adult demands patience. Auburn has given me the perfect place to conquer all of these trials, and the Auburn people have provided unqualified love throughout the last three years.
"While sad that this chapter has come to an end, the great anticipation and excitement the future holds is reason to rejoice. As wonderful as my life has been up to now, I have faith my future holds many amazing experiences; and I will always consider Auburn my true home!
"God bless and War Eagle."