Auburn was well represented at the Rivals Five-Star Challenge over the weekend, with four commitments in attendance and many other top targets participating, as well. Five-star defensive linemen Dee Liner and Carl Lawson, four-star linebacker Trey Johnson and four-star wideout Earnest Robinson were joined by five-star linebacker Reuben Foster, four-star safety Tray Matthews, four-star running back Derrick Green, four-star defensive back Jalen Ramsey and four-star offensive lineman Khaliel Rodgers.
Lawson and Liner both dominated the one-on-one drills on Saturday, especially Lawson, who didn't lose a single rep. He is quickly putting his name in the conversation for the best defensive prospect in the country, and many people are saying that, even though Lawson is ranked as a five-star and is number one at his position, he could still be underrated. Lawson has been impressive every camp he's attended this summer and dominant at almost all of them. Liner lived up to his five-star ranking, as he only lost one rep on Saturday, and he is receiving praise from coaches and scouts regarding his versatility. Liner is incredibly quick off the edge but also big and strong enough to move inside and play the three-technique. Liner, like Lawson, has been impressive and dominant at times throughout the summer camp circuit. Anything can happen once a player advances to the college level, but it would appear that, in Lawson and Liner, Auburn has two very good defensive linemen coming to the Plains.
Robinson was considered by many to be the breakout player of the camp. He came out and performed at a very high level against the very best in the country, and he had the catch of the weekend when he out jumped his defender in the back of the end zone, tumbled into a banner and still held on to the ball. Robinson had many other highlight catches and played very well all weekend. He was slowed by a shoulder injury on Sunday afternoon but that didn't take away from his overall performance. Robinson has a solid frame at 6-3, 200 pounds to go along with terrific athletic ability and hands, and while we don't see him reaching five-star status, he is undoubtably one of the top wideouts in the 2013 class.
Johnson didn't wow anyone over the weekend but he was consistent, just as he has been throughout the summer camp circuit and the entire recruiting process. Johnson plays hard, fast and smart. He knows the game and doesn't make many mistakes. He, like Robinson won't reach five-star status but he has solidified himself as one of the top linebackers in the country. Johnson has also turned into a great recruiter for Auburn and has been working hard in an attempt to sway Foster, a current Alabama commitment, to join the Tigers. The two played well together over the weekend, and Johnson is hoping that can continue on the Plains.
Other recruiting notes:
--The four Auburn commitments in attendance have become some of Auburn's best recruiters. They are especially trying to sway Rodgers and Foster. Liner has made comments about Foster suggesting that he knows something we don't know about the linebacker's recruitment. Liner seems to he confident that Foster will eventually land at Auburn. We think it's still about 50/50 between Auburn and Alabama, and we think that the Tigers have a realistic shot at flipping Foster before February.
--Matthews has eliminated Alabama from contention and has now said that it's between Auburn and Georgia. Matthews also reiterated that he and Foster would play at the same school. With Matthews a Georgia commit and Foster an Alabama commit, we feel like if they do play together in college, it will be at Auburn.
--Ramsey had interest in Auburn early in the recruiting process but then fell off a little bit. However, after a visit from defensive backs coach Willie Martinez, Ramsey has shown renewed interest in the Tigers. The coaches are hoping to get him on campus and go from there. Ramsey would like to meet defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder, so that's priority number one for the coaching staff.
--Rodgers had a very good camp and was planning on taking a visit to Auburn after the challenge was over but was unable to do so. His dad, however, did make a visit to Auburn on Friday and liked what he saw. Rodgers was supposed to be visiting Southern California on Monday, and it looks to be between Auburn and USC for his signature. Liner commented that he thought Rodgers would be coming to Auburn, but that depends a lot on how his USC visit goes.
--Green has a visit planned for Auburn on July 20th and hopes to get a better feel for the campus and the coaching staff.