Despite hailing from Celina, Texas, 2013 offensive line prospect Jake Raulerson has an affinity for the SEC that brought him to Auburn to check out the national champions.
Raulerson took his first visit to Auburn ever on Friday and left giving the Tigers rave reviews after receiving an offer from the Tigers.
"I had a great experience. I'm an SEC guy, I like the SEC," Raulerson said. "I got to talk to all the coaches, got to meet with coach (Jeff) Grimes and he told me what Auburn had to offer. I got meet coach (Gene) Chizik and he's an awesome guy.
"I think Auburn is a beautiful campus, they are a great program with great things to offer."
The 6-foot-5, 250-pound versatile prospect already held offers from Arkansas, illinois, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, SMU, and Vanderbilt before landing the Auburn offer.
Raulerson spent time with Auburn head coach Gene Chizik, offensive line coach Jeff Grimes, and wide receivers coach Trooper Taylor, and left ecstatic about what he experienced.
"The coaches here seem friendly, especially coach Chizik and coach Taylor," Raulerson said. "They are great guys and a great atmosphere."
While Raulerson is listed as an offensive tackle, he said he is also being recruited as a defensive end, defensive tackle, and offensive center. Raulerson said Auburn likes him at two positions, with coach Chizik liking Raulerson at defensive end, but coach Grimes also seeing his potential as an offensive tackle.
"He (Chizik) said they loved the way I moved and the way I run, and he basically said they think I'm a player that could play here," Raulerson said.
Before Raulerson left, he received the big news from coach Chizik that Auburn would be extending an offer, and Raulerson said the feeling was a special one.
"It's a great feeling," Raulerson said. "I got my first offer from SMU and that was unbelievable, but once you get one from a big time SEC school that's a great feeling. They are the national champions and I thought it was awesome."
Another factor that Raulerson was particularly drawn to with the Auburn coaching staff was the ties to the state of Texas.
Gene Chizik, Trooper Taylor, and Jeff Grimes all have ties to Texas in one way or another, and Raulerson said that familiarity with his home state and now being in the SEC is something he can relate to.
"I think that's awesome, they know where I'm coming from," said Raulerson. "They know what the transition is from the Texas atmosphere to the SEC, they said there's nothing like it and it's a great place to be."
While Raulerson loves the SEC style of play, he said distance was an important factor before his Auburn visit, but not anymore. Raulerson said his parents plan to move with him wherever he plays college football, and while distance is an overall factor, it certainly is not what will make his decision for him.
"It was, but coming down to it, my parents are going to move with me," Raulerson said. "It's a factor, but it's not the most important thing. It's what fits me best as a college, distance is important but it's not everything. I can drive one hour and hop on a plane and fly home if I needed to."
Raulerson still has plenty of time to make his decision, he hopes to have a decision made by this time next year. Atmosphere and overall comfort level are extremely important to Raulerson, but the single most important factor looks to be his relationship with the coaching staff, an area where Auburn seemingly made a lasting impression.
"I have to like where I"m at, where I"m living and the atmosphere of where I'm living," said Raulerson. "But I have to love the coach because he's going to be my dad for four years. The coaches here seem friendly, especially coach Chizik and coach Taylor. They are great guys and a great atmosphere."
Raulerson plans to visit Alabama this weekend for a camp, but as for Auburn, left with lasting impressions that according to him, will keep him coming back starting this fall.
"Auburn is a great school with great facilities and great coaching, that stood out the most. Their coaches are awesome and they know how to coach," said Raulerson. "I'll be back for some games for sure."