This was set up to be a busy recruiting weekend on the Plains. Seven official visitors were expected to be on campus with high hopes of gaining some momentum heading into the final three weeks before National Signing Day. The Tigers were looking to make a strong impression on several recruits who were committed to other schools, and it appears that is exactly what happened.
Tony the tiger !— Global Now® (@TS8_NewEra) January 20, 2013
247Composite four-star wide receiver Tony Stevens officially switched his commitment from Texas A&M to Auburn on Sunday. The Army All-American from Evans High in Orlando has had quite the roller coaster during recruiting. Stevens originally committed to Florida State way back in February of 2012, but following an unofficial visit to the Seminoles in late September, he decommitted on Oct. 3. The 'Nole staff briefly convinced him to reconsider and he re-committed six days later. However, that lasted less than a week before he parted ways with FSU and started visiting other schools. During the Army All-American Game, Stevens chose Texas A&M over FSU and Ohio State. However, Auburn's new wide receivers coach Dameyune Craig used his prior relationship to convince Stevens to take an official visit to Auburn this weekend where he switched his pledge to Auburn. It is possible that numbers played a role, considering the sheer size of the Aggies' recruiting class and the fact that Auburn currently has just six receivers on scholarship. Stevens will have an opportunity for early playing time as a Tiger, as the 6'3, 175-pound prospect has big play capability and a lot of upside. Check out some of his highlights here and here.
Stevens' high school teammate Dominic Walker is currently committed to Nebraska, but the three-star athlete seems to be seriously considering flipping to Auburn following his official visit. The two high school teammates have discussed playing together in college, and Auburn may offer them that chance.
Sticking with the receiver position, four-star Taj Williams left town claiming Auburn as his clear leader. Williams is another tall playmaker that has the potential to make an immediate impact for the Tigers with his big play ability. He wants to take his remaining official visits to Kentucky and Clemson before making his final decision, but the Tigers appear to be in great shape. Williams is also considering Louisville.
Auburn also made a big impression on Williams' high school teammate and current Florida commit James Hearns. The Tigers have a need for linebackers, and with only one current commit at the position, Hearns could see early playing time. He plans an official visit to Kentucky and Florida before having a final decision close to Signing Day. If Auburn is able to land Williams, it could make an impact on Hearns' decision.
One concerning note on Williams and Hearns: Auburn Undercover's Bryan Matthews is reporting ($) that both players have potential grade concerns, and the Tigers may not accept their commitments. That will be something to keep in mind.
Another state of Florida product was on the Plains this weekend, as Notre Dame pledge Tarean Folston took his first visit to Auburn and left with a difficult decision to make. Folston was complimentary of the coaching staff and the offense the Tigers will run. He had a prior relationship with Craig and began building one with running backs coach Rich Bisaccia. His final decision may not come until Signing Day, but it appears to be between the Irish and the Tigers.
The one player most considered to be the most likely to flip this weekend coming in was current Arkansas commit Khari Harding. The safety prospect has been on Auburn's radar ever since Malzahn was hired. He left Auburn still committed to the Razorbacks, but plans to talk things over with his family before making a final decision.
Auburn did have a surprise visitor on campus this weekend. Linebacker Kenny Flowers from Hutchison (Kan.) Community College now claims Auburn as his leader. Flowers was once committed to Texas A&M but fell just shy of being able to qualify as a midterm enrollee. He decommitted from the Aggies and is now considering Texas Tech and Arkansas along with the Tigers. The fact that two of his Hutchison teammates, Devonte Danzey and Ben Bradley, are already enrolled at Auburn can only help the Tigers' chances.
This was the second big recruiting weekend for Auburn's new coaching staff. The first weekend was primarily focused on firming up current commitments, and the theme from this weekend was centered around flipping commits from other schools. You could also say that the collection of recruits on campus this weekend featured Dameyune Craig as their lead recruiter. That is probably something Auburn fans should get used to seeing. Craig reeled in his first big fish in Stevens, but it won't be his last. If Auburn was looking to establish some momentum heading down the final stretch, this weekend was a good start.