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February 28, 2012There wasn't a prospect that traveled further for Auburn's Junior Day last weekend than Cathedral High School Rivals250 four-star quarterback Hayden Rettig. Rettig hails from Los Angeles, Calif., and made the cross-country trip with his father.
They arrived on Friday and didn't leave until Sunday afternoon. Rettig had seen Auburn games on T.V., he watched the Iron Bowl documentary on ESPN, and the visit was everything he expected and more.
"When I went over there it was just as good as I thought it would be," Rettig said. "It's a great place to play football at and get a great education. I like the whole program, it's a good program."
By the time Rettig left his visit after almost three days, Auburn had firmly planted themselves among his favorites, with Rettig planning to make a final decision by June.
"They are a top team," said Rettig. "I wouldn't say they are at the top, but it's going to be a battle. They have a crazy program, and because they are all the way out there, I'll have to really think stuff over. They are a top school in my top ten."
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Rettig met offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler after speaking on the phone numerous times. Loeffler told Rettig, who Rivals.com ranks as the nation's No. 123 overall prospect for 2013, that being the quarterback at Auburn would carry massive responsibility.
"He told me how it would be if I played here. Some games aren't going to be fun, some games will be. Every game that you play we want you to be the CEO, face of the franchise. We're putting an 18-year old kid in front of a bunch of people to see, and it's a crazy atmosphere and you need to make sure you are ready if you come here."
Rettig felt like he and Loeffler meshed personality wise.
"He's a straight up guy and wants to get down to business, he's a hard worker. He knows what it takes to the next level, I'm just trying to learn from that," Rettig said. "He can coach me up for the next level if I came to Auburn. That's what I was looking to hear the whole trip. It's not going to be easy. I'm hoping to keep talking to Loeffler and figure more things out."
Rettig said Loeffler plans to visit him at his high school in the spring or summer.
Rettig's favorite part of the trip was standing in the middle of Jordan-Hare Stadium where almost 90,000 fans pack the house every Saturday in the fall, and thinking about the exhilaration of playing in front of them.
"I was with my dad, and to tell you the truth, I felt like I had finally accomplished something. I felt like I had gotten somewhere where I wanted to be. It's a great place to be," Rettig said. "It's a huge, huge stadium. It's cool. I was just thinking how many people would be there screaming."
And Rettig will find out just how cool it is, as he already decided that Auburn will receive an official visit in the fall.
Rettig toured the indoor practice facility and the current construction taking place around the Auburn campus. He had seen plenty of Pac-12 schools in the past, but his trip to Auburn showed the Tigers, and the SEC, are on another level.
"I've been to a bunch of places and they don't have those type of facilities," said Rettig.
Rettig suffered a knee injury early in his junior season but is rehabbing well and will be ready to return to football related activities by April 1. Rettig said USC, UCLA, and other Pac-12 schools are recruiting him hard, in addition to Auburn.