The Tigers' 21 current commitments would make a pretty good recruiting class all on their own, but the coaches aren't done quite yet. There are potentially 7 spots remaining and some big fish on the line with just over a week left to reel them in. The defensive side of the ball remains the biggest need heading into the final week, so we'll start there.
The current roster looks pretty thin along the defensive line, especially at the defensive end position. If you consider the possibility of players like DaVonte Lambert, Andrew Williams, and/or Elijah Daniel sliding inside to a tackle spot, then the DE position gets even thinner. That makes the position one of dire need in this class and there isn't a DE currently committed. However, Auburn looks poised to make a big splash on signing day with some of the best defensive end prospects in the country. Byron Cowart, CeCe Jefferson, Prince Tega Wanogho Jr., and Arden Key are names to know.
Byron Cowart - SDE - 6'3" 252 - *****
Cowart is the Rivals number 1 overall prospect for the class of 2015 and a concensus five star player. He could step in right away and play opposite Carl Lawson to provide Auburn with the pash rush that was desperately missing this past season. The Under Armour All-American is a big fan of Coach Will "BOOM" Muschamp and believes in the Buck position. Boom has pitched the idea of making Cowart the next Dante Fowler, and it could pay off for Auburn. Cowart visited as part of the recent Big Boom Weekend and many believe it was enough to give Auburn a strong lead heading into the final week of recruiting. Cowart visited Florida this past weekend, but left the visit early because of his mom's work obligations. Right now, He appears to be done with visits and this seems to be an Auburn v. Florida battle.
CeCe Jefferson - SDE - 6'2" 245 - *****
The number 2 ranked strongside defensive end, like Cowart, is a fan of Muschamp and that was enough to get Jefferson to visit for Big Boom Weekend. Many see the Army All-American's best fit as a DE in a 3-4 scheme, or eventually bulking up and sliding inside. Jefferson and Cowart are friends and much has been been made of the purported "package deal" including the two and fellow Auburn target Jeffery Holland, but will it happen? Jefferson visited Ole Miss this past weekend on an unofficial visit and the Rebel Black Bears feel pretty confident, as does Florida where he may visit this week. Jefferson also reportedly took a pit stop in Tuscaloosa on his way back from Oxford this past weekend. Is Jefferson's friendship with Cowart strong enough that the two want to play together, seemingly sharing the same position? Or does Jefferson want to be his own man and a star on his own? I'm not sure anyone really knows for sure right now, and it wouldn't be much of a surprise wherever he ends up. Florida, Auburn, LSU, Ole Miss, Alabama, and Florida State all appear to be in the mix.
Prince Tega Wanogho Jr - SDE - 6'8" 245 - ****
The Nigerian native that has been playing football for one season. He moved to Alabama last summer to try and earn a college basketball scholarship. I guess the high school coaches looked at the 6'8" 245 pounder and begged him to give football a shot. I would have begged if I were the coach. You can't teach that kind of size and agility. He was originally classified as part of the 2016 recruiting class, but during the Christmas break, after reviewing his Nigerian transcripts, his counselors discovered that he would have enough credits to graduate this year. So here he is, reclassified as a 2015 prospect after playing football for just 4 months. Recruiting services think so highly of his potential that they slapped a 4-star rating on the kid and slotted him in as the nation's number 8 ranked strongside defensive end. Prince Tega would almost assuredly need a redshirt year as he's understandably raw, but he is unbelievably talented with a very high ceiling. After the reclassification coaches have flocked to Elmore County to try to convince him to visit their school. Auburn, Alabama, LSU, Ole Miss, and Oregon appear to be the five he'll choose from. Because of the circumstances, and due to recently breaking his leg in a basketball game (Docs say he'll be fully recovered before summer) this recruitment may last beyond signing day. His friend and fellow Nigerian, Chidi Valentine-Okeke, committed to LSU on Thursday morning and makes you wonder if that gives LSU an edge for Prince.
Arden Key - WDE - 6'5" 230 - ****
The number 4 ranked weakside defensive end and unlike the other three is more of a speed guy coming off the edge. The Under Armour All-American has been committed to South Carolina - twice, and de-committed from South Carolina - twice. The Gamecocks are still a factor in his recruitment and he took a visit to Columbia this past weekend. He visited LSU the weekend prior to that, and will be in Auburn this weekend. Georgia has tried to get in on him late, but he spurned to pups in order to take the trip to the Plains. The Atlanta area prospect plans to make his final decision on Monday night. He's a tough one to predict, but you have to feel good about Auburn's chances getting him in for a visit right before he announces.
UPDATE: According to 247Sports, it appears Key has cancelled his visit to Auburn. This likely means that the Tigers are now out of the running for Key.
Terry Beckner Jr. - DT - 6'4" 295 - *****
Beckner is another defensive line prospect that recently visited Auburn for Big Boom Weekend. The East St. Louis defensive tackle was an Under Armour All-American. Beckner Jr. may be a tough pull for the good Tigers, as it is believed that he may opt to stay closer to home at Missouri, but Ohio State and Florida State are also in the mix. There is not a lot of information out there on how the visit to Auburn went, but you can expect Auburn to be one of the hats on the table come signing day.
Trenton Thompson - DT - 6'3" 313 - *****
The Georgia commit also visited during Big Boom. While Auburn has a pretty good recent history of pulling highly rated defensive tackles out of the state of Georgia, don't expect Thompson to be the next one. It appears that he is solid to UGA.
G.G. Robinson - DL - 6'4" 260 - ***
A late addition to the list is Auburn legacy, and current Louisville commit, is the son of former Tiger, Gerald Robinson. Listed by 24/7 as a tight end and by Rivals as a defensive end, he may project to play defensive tackle in college. He's incredibly athletic and played a lot at tight end in high school. Coach Garner and Thompson visited him on Tuesday night and he expects and offer in the next day or two. If that offer does come, he would be one to watch for as a possible late flip.
Jeffery Holland - OLB - 6'1" 225 - ****
Linebacker is not as big of a positional need heading into signing day as DE, with Auburn already having four guys committed that project to play linebacker in college. That hasn't stopped Muschamp from making 4-star Florida native a priority. Holland has ties to Auburn and loves Muschamp. Many feel like that gives Auburn a very strong lead for the Under Armour All-American. He visited Ole Miss last weekend along with Jefferson, after being on the Plains for Big Boom Weekend. He may make the trip back up to Auburn this weekend on an unofficial visit. If he does, that would be a pretty good sign for the Tigers. He's the third part of the "package deal" with Cowart and Jefferson, but few believe all three end up together.
Defensive back, specifically cornerback, is a huge priority position for Muschamp and the Tigers' defensive. And it is the position that has seen the biggest revamping in the recruiting list since Boom and Travaris Robinson stepped on campus. They want cover corners, something everyone covets. Auburn parted ways with Chris Westry and have since flipped two South Florida players, thanks to T-Rob, with Tim Irvin and Jerimiah Dinson now in the fold. They may not be done yet with the position and may not be done flipping players committed elsewhere. T-Rob has hit the fertile recruiting grounds of the South Florida area hard and that work could pay off come Signing Day. It isn't known how the coaches have the remaining targets ranked on their big board, but here are a few names based on recent or upcoming visits that Auburn fans should watch for on Signing Day.
Carlton Davis - CB - 6'2" 184 - ****
Maybe the biggest name on the board right now is the 4-star, and current former Ohio State commit. The Semper Fi All-American had been committed to the Buckeyes since August until news broke on Thursday that he had cancelled an in-home visit with Urban Meyer and de-committed. Muschamp and T-Rob pushed hard for a visit and it paid off. Davis took a clandestine trip to the Plains this past weekend. Davis left his visit without doing any media interviews, so we can only speculate on how the visit went. Confidence is pretty high that Auburn will be where he ends up. Davis is one of the highest rated corners on the board and may be the coaches top priority. Auburn could get news any time between now and signing day. T-Rob has been killing it in the Miami area so far. It would be nice to have another ‘C. Davis' in orange and blue.
Sheldrick Redwine - CB - 6'1' 183 - ***
Another defensive back that recently visited the Plains. Redwine is a current Louisville commit. Redwine is another Miami area player that T-Rob extended an offer to not long after joining the Tigers' coaching staff. He's another tall corner. His highlight video shows him in press coverage often and he shows pretty good balls skills for a DB. Tuesday evening was an interesting one in his recruitment. After visiting with Auburn coaches at his school during the day, Redwine was rumored to have de-committed from Louisville and attempted to joint he Auburn class. Whether this is true and Auburn wasn't ready to take his commitment or not we are sure, but Redwine was back as a member of the Louisville class on Wednesday morning. Does this mean Auburn moved on to someone else?
Javarius Davis - ATH - 5'10" 173 - ***
Davis also visited Auburn for Big Boom weekend and many thought he would commit shortly afterward. He didn't, and ended up visiting Louisville this past weekend. Does that mean there are others higher on the list than Davis? Maybe, or maybe he just needed more time. The Jacksonville athlete projects as a corner in college with excellent speed. He is also a very good return man. Florida is also a player in his recruitment.
DaVante Davis - CB - 6'3" 200 - ***
Another Miami product who was expected to visit Auburn this coming weekend, before recent reports that the visit had been cancelled surfaced. Davis is a current Texas commit, much like his close friend Tim Irvin was before he visited Auburn. Irvin flipped and enrolled early and was trying to recruit his friend to join him. If the visit is off, then expect DaVante to stick to his Longhorns commitment.
Rashad Fenton - CB - 5'11" 175 - ***
Here is another name that has been mentioned as possibly visiting the final weekend. Fenton is also from Miami and is considering a visit at the urging of Travaris Robinson. He has recently visited Florida and South Carolina and will either take a trip to Louisville or be on the Plains for his final official visit before signing day.
That's it for the defensive side of the ball. At least it is for the moment. In recruiting things can change by the hour when you get this close to signing day. There's always the possibility another surprise visitor shows up this weekend. We'll have a preview of offensive targets remaining tomorrow!