By Jeff Shearer
AUBURN, Ala. - If anyone is qualified to weigh in on what makes for a great gameday atmosphere, it’s Tom Luginbill, ESPN’s national recruiting director.
In his role as a sideline reporter for ESPN and ABC, Luginbill, a former quarterback at Georgia Tech, has seen what just about every big-time program has to offer.
Auburn checks in at No.3 on Luginbill’s list of college football’s finest atmospheres.
“The fans have a lot to do with that,” Luginbill said. “And in a compact stadium, it feels like they’re right on top of you.”
Luginbill recently ranked his top 5 gameday atmospheres on ESPN’s Recruiting Nation.
“The students in that south end zone,” Luginbill said. “When they’re engaged, especially at night, it’s a factor.”
Luginbill, who has covered college football recruiting for 15 years, says Auburn’s atmosphere creates an inviting venue for prospects.
“If you have a big recruiting weekend, with a lot of guys coming in, you’ll want to bring them when you’re playing a quality opponent, especially at night,” he said.
Auburn will have just such an opportunity Saturday when the Tigers host LSU at 5 p.m. on ESPN.
Fellow SEC West schools LSU and Texas A&M made “Tom’s Top 5,” along with Clemson and Ohio State.
Luginbill considered Auburn’s pregame festivities in his analysis.
Luginbill says, by now, virtually every school has a version of Auburn’s Tiger Walk, but the eagle flight remains, as Public Address announcer Ric Smith says, a “tradition that is uniquely Auburn.”
“It makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up,” Luginbill said.
Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @jeff_shearer