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February 27, 2012
Dallas Jackson is the Senior Analyst for RivalsHigh. Email him your question, comment or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.
At a school that has never had a player get a Division I offer, Aulden Bynum is in a unique position.
The 6-foot-5, 260-pound offensive lineman from Hahira (Ga.) Valwood has five - and he doesn't know what to do with them.
"I guess I am taking it slow," he said. "I am open to playing anywhere and I want to see how my relationships develop with coaches."
What else could he say? No one he has played with has been through the process before.
According to his coach, Brannon Tidwell, the offers should grow as he does.
"He is going to get to be about 6-foot-7 and probably push 300 pounds," Tidwell said. "But it isn't just his size that colleges like. His frame is strong and he has good weight. He doesn't have a big stomach slowing him down it is lean weight with long arms. He will be able to go just about anywhere he wants."
Aulden Bynum domiantes the line on both sides of the ball.
"I just saw his film recently and came away impressed," he said. "It is obvious that he has the size and passes the eyeball test as a tackle, but what I think is his best attribute is that he is aggressive in his style of play.
"He brings a defensive lineman mentality to offense and that is something you either have or you don't. And it looks like he does, which is huge."
It wasn't always that way for Bynum.
When he entered his freshman year at Valwood, he stood an unremarkable 5-10 and weighed in at 180 pounds. Not quite prototypical offensive lineman size.
A growth spurt before his sophomore year changed everything.
"After sophomore year coaches started adding me on Facebook," Bynum said. "I would get questionnaires and that stuff, which I guess is normal, and then my tape started going out.
"After that, coaches really started seriously looking at me."
The first school to offer was Auburn. While it may have come in only a few days before others, the timing left an impression on him - and has made Auburn the early leader.
"I really liked Auburn," he said. "When they offered me it was really special to get that first one. I don't know enough about the other schools to say what teams I like more so right now I like Auburn the most."
Bynum's father, however, went to Georgia. And while the Bulldogs have not offered, Bynum acknowledged he would love to have that offer on the table to think about.
Tidwell explained that the timeline of offers was very fast paced.
"When [Auburn coach] Gene Chizik offers someone, it is big for (Aulden) and for the whole school," Tidwell said. "Then South Carolina called and offered, then Mississippi State, then Ole Miss. Just the other day, Miami did, too.
"His grades (1530 SAT) and work ethic are some things that push him over the top."
They also push him forward.
"I didn't think any of this was possible," Bynum said. "I didn't think I would have a chance to play college football until my sophomore year when coach really pushed me. He told me I could do it if I was ready to put in the work."
Now that he has the sky could be the limit.
"You never know," Tidwell said. "Stars come out of nowhere. Look at how fast Jeremy Lin has exploded on the scene. He is smart and a hard worker and it paid major dividends for him. I think that it is in (Aulden's) hands now. It all falls on how hard he wants to work."
Bynum was not ranked in the initial release of the Rivals250 and does not currently have a ranking, but Niebuhr expects that to change with the addition of the three-star players in March.
"I think he is going to start out as a high-three guy probably with a 5.7 rating," he said. "But we have invited him to a camp and have junior film on him that I wouldn't be surprised if he pushed for a four star during the next round of evaluations."