As former Auburn coach Pat Dye liked to say, the hay is in the barn. In what has become the second most popular sport in the SEC, National Signing Day is just hours away. Coaches can no longer make house visits with recruits or sit at their boring high school basketball games. NCAA law says they can only harass by telephone or email now. The work is all but done. Beginning Wednesday morning at 8 a.m. local time, blue chip athletes across the country can finally make their college choices official.
For Auburn, it looks to be a historic day.
On this Monday, the drama revolves basically around four uncommitted players and one that's waivering. How they fall will determine whether Auburn finishes with the fourth best class nationally or perhaps moves into the top two in Rivals.com's national rankings. Here's where Auburn stands now...
Marcus Lattimore (Five-star running back; Duncan, South Carolina)
The big prize remains Duncan, South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore. Auburn coaches made their final visits with the five-star recruit at his school on Friday. Auburn coach Gene Chizik and offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn both met with Lattimore at different times during the day and both had about a half hour to make their final pitch.
Lattimore will pick between the Tigers and South Carolina. Steve Spurrier made his final visit with the in-state star on Saturday. Lattimore will announce his intentions Tuesday at 5 p.m. CST at his church.
Most recruiting experts are split on where they believe he will land. His recruitment has become a media circus in South Carolina, with various newspapers carrying daily "Lattimore Watch" sections to keep in-state fans updated. Prying a hometown hero away from the state is never an easy job.
Auburn Sports.com publisher Bryan Matthews tells the Opelika-Auburn News that South Carolina has made inroads in recent days. "I think Auburn has been the team to beat for the past six months or so, but I think South Carolina has narrowed that gap," Matthews said. "It's closer to 50-50, but I still give Auburn a little bit of an edge there."
Jeffrey Whitaker (Four-star defensive tackle; Warner Robbins, Georgia)
Chances appear good that Auburn will land Whitaker, the nation's number five-ranked defensive tackle according to Rivals. He's narrowed his choices down to Auburn, Georgia and Miami. The final days have seen a showdown between former Auburn players, with Auburn assistant Tracy Rocker leading the charge for the Tigers and Rodney Garner heading up efforts for Georgia.
Whitaker spent this weekend visiting Miami, but the Hurricanes are widely regarded as longshots, with Auburn or Georgia the likely choice. Recruiting experts from both Rivals and Scout give Auburn the edge at this point. He's set to announce his choice today at 1 p.m. CST at his school in Warner Robbins.
Corey Lemonier (Four-star defensive end; Hialeah, Florida)
Auburn has been in the driver's seat all along for Lemonier, but as often happens, the in-state school makes a late push and things become more interesting. He'll likely wait until Signing Day to make his choice between Auburn and Florida State.
Rivals sets the odds of him committing to Auburn at 85 percent. That should make all Tiger fans nervous. Remember Enrique Davis? Lemonier, who has great height at 6'5 and looks muscular enough now to grow into a beast, is no stranger to Auburn, having attended one of its summer camps.
"I thought Auburn was the team to beat all along," Matthews said. "I still think Auburn is the favorite there, but I also think Florida State is closing the gap with him."
Byran Jones (Four-star defensive tackle; Junction City, Arkansas)
Auburn appears on the ropes in this battle. Malzahn is leading the recruiting chase for Jones as he battles in-state Arkansas for his services. Three Razorback assistants spent Saturday attending Jones' basketball game. It now looks less than 50 percent that Auburn will gain his commitment.
Shon Coleman (Five-star offensive tackle; Olive Branch, Mississippi)
What would signing day be without some drama? Coleman is filling that role nicely for Auburn this year. Despite committing to the Tigers way back last April, that hasn't stopped him from taking all five of his official visits.
He's visited Arkansas, Alabama and Miami in recent weeks. Rumors are flying today that Bama may swoop in and grab Coleman. Assistant Trooper Taylor has been the lead recruiter for Coleman and you have to like Auburn's chances with him leading the charge. At this point, no one seems to have a clue when he'll announce his intentions.
Below is a breakdown by Rivals.com of Auburn's current commitments. The next 48 hours will be interesting indeed...
|SIGNED LETTER OF INTENT||Pos||Stars||Ht||Wt||40||RR||Video||Enrolled||Hometown|
|Roszell Gayden||OL||6-7||310||-||5.9||Visalia, CA|
|Brandon Mosley||TE||6-6||285||4.9||5.8||Coffeyville, KS|
|Cameron Newton||QB||6-6||247||4.53||6.1||Brenham, TX|
|Joel Bonomolo||DE||6-3||245||4.65||5.8||Fullerton, CA|
|Kenneth Carter||DT||6-5||267||4.9||5.8||Greenville, AL|
|Ed Christian||OL||6-5||280||-||5.7||Valdosta, GA|
|Steven Clark||K||6-5||230||-||5.3||Kansas City, MO|
|Shon Coleman||OL||6-7||285||-||6.1||Olive Branch, MS|
|Jessel Curry||LB||6-2||215||4.5||5.6||Buford, GA|
|Chris Davis||ATH||5-11||175||4.45||5.5||Birmingham, AL|
|Justin Delaine||DE||6-5||225||4.58||5.6||Linden, AL|
|Michael Dyer||RB||5-8||201||4.4||6.1||Little Rock, AR|
|Antonio Goodwin||WR||6-2||170||4.5||5.8||Atlanta, GA|
|Jake Holland||LB||6-1||228||4.53||5.8||Pelham, AL|
|D.J. Howard||ATH||6-0||195||4.5||5.7||Lincoln, AL|
|Shaun Kitchens||ATH||6-3||211||4.65||5.7||College Park, GA|
|Eric Mack||OL||6-4||315||5.1||5.8||St. Matthews, SC|
|Demetruce McNeal||DB||6-0||176||4.65||5.6||College Park, GA|
|Jonathan Mincy||DB||5-10||175||4.4||5.7||Decatur, GA|
|Dakota Mosley||TE||6-4||252||4.82||5.6||Little Rock, AR|
|LaDarius Owens||LB||6-2||225||4.49||5.9||Bessemer, AL|
|Cody Parkey||K||6-2||195||-||5.5||Jupiter, FL|
|Trovon Reed||ATH||6-0||173||4.4||6.0||Thibodaux, LA|
|Jeremy Richardson||WR||6-4||220||4.53||5.8||Springville, AL|
|Craig Sanders||DE||6-4||230||4.6||5.8||Ariton, AL|
|Chad Slade||OL||6-6||316||5||5.5||Moody, AL|
|Jawara White||LB||6-2||220||4.58||5.7||Troy, AL|
|Ryan White||ATH||6-0||185||4.4||5.5||Tallahassee, FL|