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December 6, 2011Aberdeen (Miss.) four-star Channing Ward officially visited Auburn on Oct. 28-30.
He left impressed with the atmosphere, the Tigers' coaching staff, and the young team that defeated Ole Miss 41-23.
Ward was so impressed that he returned on an unofficial visit to Auburn for the Iron Bowl on Nov. 26.
"It went good, it was a good visit," said Ward. "I just wanted to see if I got the same feeling the second time I went from the other visit. I was just seeing how things were going and how the coaches were.
"I got a chance to hang with the coaches more and talk a little bit than the first time. The first visit I had more time, but you are going a lot of different places."
The Rivals100 prospect, nation's No. 88 overall prospect and No. 6 strongside defensive end returned to Auburn with one goal in mind: To experience the same comfort level he experienced during his first visit.
"I just wanted to see if I got the same feeling I got from the first visit when I was around the players and stuff," said Ward. "And I did."
"I'm trying to build that comfort level and see if you want to be there for three or four years. If I'm going to be there for three or four years, I want to get that vibe and see if I can stay there."
The 6-foot-4, 250-pound Ward said Auburn has helped themselves in the process.
"They helped themselves a lot, it let me know they are a family environment, they helped themselves a lot," said Ward.
Auburn wide receivers coach Trooper Taylor and defensive line coach Mike Pelton followed up Ward's visit to Auburn with a visit of their own, as the two Auburn assistants checked in on Ward on Monday morning.
"It was a good little visit, they were just saying hey and seeing how I was doing. It was just a 'hey' visit," said Ward. "Troop and I have a good relationship, we have a good bond, it's like family. We have a great bond."
Speculation has been that Ward may be close to choosing a school, but he refuted that talk on Monday.
"Not right now," said Ward on nearing a decision. "I don't feel like I'm close to a decision. If I come to a decision, everybody will know."
Auburn, LSU, Alabama, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State remain Ward's top five with no favorites, saying, "they are all still the same."
Ward plans to officially visit Ole Miss on Jan. 13, and Alabama on Jan. 20.