The home stretch is almost upon us, as Signing Day is a week from Wednesday. There is one last weekend of Official Visits, and then we go into a dead period until the day after Signing Day.
Auburn is still looking to sign 25 prospects total for the 2016 class. Nine are already on board. There are currently seven commitments listed in Auburn's 2016 class if you don't count TaShawn Manning. That means there are still a number of slots available and plenty of targets that Auburn is pursuing. The math gets a little fuzzy, though, as Jamel Dean will count against the class. I'm not sure if he counts against that 25 number, though. I do know that Auburn punter Kevin Phillips will count against the class since he was placed on scholarship last week, so that brings us to ten already on board.
The Questions and Bad Stuff
There's a lot to be positive about when it comes to the remaining spots in the class, but there are still a lot of questions, too. The biggest question for me is who the Tigers will sign at linebacker. Two targets, Joshua Uche and Elysee Mbem-Bosse, committed to Michigan, last night. Auburn is hosting the #1 linebacker in the nation (and #1 recruit in the state of Alabama) this weekend, Ben Davis, but he's a Tide legacy and a heavy Tide lean. I doubt Auburn will be able to sway him away.
The Offensive Tackle position is another one that is in great flux, right now. 4* OT E.J. Price visited Auburn this weekend and came away with a good feeling. He was once a Georgia commit, and is probably still a slight Georgia lean. With Herb Hand on board, Auburn has reached out to Prince Sammons of Cincinnati. Most everyone is recruiting Sammons as a DE, but Hand likes him as an offensive lineman and was recruiting him as such while at Penn State.
To close out the questions, there are the possible losses to the class. Right now I'd expect defensive end David Marshall to choose Georgia over Auburn. He was once committed to Auburn, de-committed, recommitted, and has been wavering a bit, lately. He visited the Dawgs this weekend and plans to return next weekend, as well. That really makes me think he's likely not going to be a part of this class.
The Good Stuff
Former Auburn commit Nate Craig-Myers cancelled his official visit to Ole Miss this weekend. North Carolina is still on his radar, but Auburn is considered the favorite to land the Brothers Myers. His brother Jayvaughn Myers is a defensive back that Auburn really likes. On top of Nate Craig-Myers, Auburn is going to get a chance at 4* WR Tre Nixon, too. Auburn will get him this weekend on the final visit weekend.* A wide receiver class of Kyle Davis, Eli Stove, Marquis McClain, Nate Craig-Myers, and Tre Nixon would be insanely good.
*UPDATE: Tre Nixon just announced on Twitter shortly before 1pm Central that he's committing to Ole Miss. I don't know if he'll still make the Official Visit to Auburn this weekend, but I'm doubting he will.
3* Safety Marlon Character, an Auburn commit, was a key target of Mushcamp and Travaris Robinson while at Auburn. He was once committed to South Carolina, and with his two main coaches at the Gamecocks, you would think that means he's going to flip back to them. However, following his official visit this weekend (he visited South Carolina the weekend before), that does not seem to be the case. That's excellent news for Auburn.
You may have missed it, but Auburn managed to get 4* Safety Nigel Warrior on campus for a Thursday-Saturday morning official visit. That shocked many people, but Auburn is very much in it for Warrior at this point. The same is true for former Auburn commit and legacy Stephen Davis Jr.
Auburn still has a legitimate shot at 5* defensive tackle Derrick Brown. While his Crystal Ball points overwhelmingly to UGA, even the UGA boards think he's headed out of state. It may be a Tennessee / Auburn battle for Brown, and Auburn may have a very slight edge right now.
How Does Auburn Close?
This is just my personal opinion on how I think Auburn's final spots could end up.
Stephen Davis JR
Leaning More Auburn Than Not
Could Pick Auburn, But Not Counting On It Right Now
Highly Doubtful They Pick Auburn
Rashan Gary, #1 overall prospect
Where Will The Final Class Rank?
This is an inexact science, given that there are a number of prospects out there who haven't announced where they are going. All I can do is add and subtract names for Auburn and compare that to the current class rankings using the 247Sports Class Calculator.
I subtracted Tashawn Manning and David Marshall from the list, then added Nate Craig-Myers, Jayvaughn Myers, Stephen Davis Jr, Derrick Brown, EJ Price, and Prince Sammons. That's being optimistic on the final three in that list, and it still leaves a spot or two open for unknown commits. With them, Auburn would jump up to #3 in the nation, just ahead of Michigan. If Michigan added only Rashan Gary to their current commits list, they would be right on Auburn's tails.
It's impossible to speculate exactly where the final class will rank, but I do believe it will be a Top 10 class for Gus Malzahn & Company. It will be heavy on wide-receivers and defensive linemen. There will be questions on the offensive line if Auburn misses on Price, Sammons, or other targets that are floating out there. There will definitely be gnashing of teeth over the lack of linebackers that Auburn picks up on signing day.
Top 10 is still excellent, though. We just have to hope that Gus Malzahn gets his offense back on the right track and is able to use the Top 10 weapons that he consistently reels in.