In unexpected news, 6'3, 245 lbs weak-side defensive end Daquan Newkirk of Orlando, FL committed to the Tigers this morning. Newkirk is the 9th commitment of the 2016 class. He was not the first defensive line recruit to commit to the Tigers, but he's the only one on board at the moment after first David Marshall and then Quinnen Williams decommited.
Newkirk is a bit of an unknown, right now. He was initially unrated by any service according to his 247Sports Composite profile. After his commitment, he received initial ratings as a composite 3* with pretty good scores. His offer sheet is filled with an eclectic mix of schools. Most are from smaller schools like Georgia Southern, Old Dominion, or Marshall. He does boast some P5 offers from Illinois, Cincinnati, Louisville, and Kentucky. He was also offered by Alabama on June 1st according to that offer list and his Twitter account.
It looks like this is someone that a lot of schools recognized as a sleeper and tried to jump on early. His profile lists 18 offers, but that doesn't include Auburn, and there's nothing about Auburn on his Twitter account, either. It appears from this (free) Rivals article that he showed up to Auburn for the first time, Auburn offered, and he committed on the spot. That article also indicates that he plans on shutting down his recruiting and not visiting anywhere else.
He's tall at 6'3. Imagine him and 6'8 Prince Tego Wanogho, Jr on the edges for the Tigers in a few years. He also looks to have good vision and good hands from that first interception play in his highlights and the receptions later in the video when he's playing at running back. He's got a good motor on him and a good eye for finding the ball carrier. He doesn't give up on any play and pursues until it's all over. He stands up at the DE position in a lot of that film, so we may be looking at someone who will make a transition to the Buck position.
Auburn has added a few defensive ends over the last few years. In terms of numbers, Auburn looks pretty good at the defensive end slot. However, no one aside from Carl Lawson and DaVonte Lambert have been much of a contributor. Raashed Kennion received a lot of praise in practice last season, and he's just a sophomore. Lawson is listed as a red-shirt sophomore, but he may go pro after this season. Numbers are all well and good, but experienced depth is a question. It's hard to tell what the Tigers have in Newkirk, but from what I've read it appears he's a real sleeper.
Auburn's 2016 recruiting class position didn't initially change with Newkirk. As an unrated prospect, he didn't add anything to the numbers. Auburn's class is now ranked 20th nationally with his new ratings, and still 9th in the SEC. It could improve as he gets looked at closer during his senior season and the scouting services decide his rating should go up. They could always decide to downgrade him, too.