By Jeff Shearer
AUBURN, Ala. - After his signing day switcheroo to Auburn from Georgia in 2015, Darius Slayton learned a valuable life lesson.
“You can’t make everyone happy,” said Slayton, a redshirt sophomore from Norcross, Georgia in metro Atlanta. “That whole night was stressful because I didn’t end up deciding until 11 o’clock at night.”
Perhaps underestimating the fervor with which many follow recruiting, the reaction surprised Slayton.
“I really didn’t think people would care,” he said. “Honestly, I really didn’t. Once I made the decision, I made my calls. I called Coach Malzahn. I was really happy with the choice.”
Slayton’s phone froze, he says, with so many twitter notifications. “Some good, some bad,” he said.
“It ended up being a good day,” Slayton said. “There were definitely a lot of angry people, especially the way I ended up flipping. I was happy with my decision. I still am happy with my decision.”
One of 27 Georgia natives on Auburn’s roster, the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry holds special meaning for Slayton.
“This is definitely a big game for me, being from Georgia,” Slayton said. “I’ve been looking forward to this one all year.”
While some schools recruited Slayton as a defensive back, Auburn and Georgia both offered a chance to play offense.
“I came on a visit here and I felt like this place was home,” Slayton said. “Auburn felt more at home to me than Georgia did. That was something that was really important to me. That was the final straw in why I ended up coming to Auburn.”
Saturday’s showdown at Jordan-Hare Stadium will be a reunion for Slayton and many of Georgia’s players.
“I know a lot of guys on the team,” Slayton said. “I haven’t spoken to any of them recently. Through recruiting and in high school, playing ball against different guys, I know multiple guys on that that team. They just happen to be our opponent this week.”
Averaging a whopping 30.8 yards per reception, Slayton has gained 401 yards on 13 catches, with three touchdowns.
“It was always a dream,” he said. “In high school, I caught a lot of deep balls. Once I committed to Auburn, I definitely wanted to be a go-to guy for Auburn. Come here and make plays and help my team win.”
Slayton accomplished that objective in Auburn’s 42-27 win at Texas A&M, totaling 99 receiving yards on two catches, including a 53-yard touchdown. He’s looking to build on that when No. 10 Auburn hosts No. 2 Georgia Saturday at 2:30 p.m. on CBS.
“Year in and year out, this is just a big game,” Slayton said. “It’s always a tough game. It would definitely bring a great deal of satisfaction, being able to beat one of your rivals.”
— Jeff Shearer (@jeff_shearer) November 6, 2017
Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @jeff_shearer