Even though Rodney Garner had been at Georgia for 15 years, there was always that feeling that he was about to bolt for another job.
Just about every year, his name was linked to some other job opening. And when Lane Kiffin took the Tennessee head coaching job in 2009, Garner interviewed for a position on the Vols' staff.
The bottom line: Good recruiters are always in demand in the SEC, and Garner is one of the best (and most proven) recruiters in the business. He's also coached his share of outstanding defensive linemen during his time at Georgia.
It's not a surprise that he's leaving for Auburn as assistant head coach, defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator. After all, it's his alma mater, and 15 years at one place is an eternity in this league. Garner started at Georgia under Jim Donnan and was retained when Mark Richt came aboard in 2001. He began his coaching career at Auburn and has maintained a close relationship with Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs.
Getting Garner is a coup for new Auburn coach Gus Malzahn, who's assembling a star-studded staff. It's pretty obvious that Malzahn has placed a premium on bringing in coaches with strong SEC ties. Ellis Johnson, Charlie Harbison, Rhett Lashlee, J.B. Grimes and Garner all have extensive SEC experience.