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Auburn Football Recruiting Update: The 2017 Offensive Class

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A look at where recruiting stands as the regular season finishes and we’re two months from signing day.

Football never stops, even when there are no games played. With the regular season over, we now turn our attention to the post-season and recruiting. We’ll get into season reviews and NFL Draft previews after the bowl game, but for now – before we jump head first into the Sugar Bowl coverage – let’s take a moment to look at Auburn’s 2017 recruiting class.

Currently, the Tigers are 11th in the nation and 5th in the conference. That’s not bad at all, but it’s not where we want to be, either. Thankfully, Auburn still has somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 spots to fill in this year’s class with only 16 committed and they’re pursuing a number of high-profile targets.

Because I love spreading things out to give me a higher post count (and because it takes a while to do these and I don’t like taking up too much of my after-work free time), I’m going to split this into offensive and defensive posts. Let’s do the offense, first.

The Committed:

5* OT Calvin Ashley

4* OT Austin Troxell

4* OG Nich Brahms

4* RB Devan Barrett

4* ATH Alaric Williams

3* WR Noah Igbinoghene

3* ATH/RB Octavius Matthews

4* ATH Tray Bishop

3* PK Anders Carlson

That’s a pretty decent offensive class to start with. It’s missing some very key elements, though. For one, Auburn needs tight ends. Badly. For another, the only QB currently committed is Athlete Tray Bishop, and he’s trending more towards wanting to play Safety (and may be a tough one for Auburn to keep). So, there are definitely some holes to fill.

You’ll notice there’s only one wide receiver on the list, but after last year’s haul, that’s one position the Tigers can afford to be very picky about.

Three different players in this group can play running back. Octavius Matthews is the top-rated JUCO running back, Alaric Williams is an Athlete who projects into that RB/slot WR role and Devan Barrett is a straight up running back who was lighting the world on fire in his senior season of high school. He’ll need to put on some weight since he’s only 190 lbs, but his 6’1 frame can handle it.

Similar to wide receivers, the offensive line is another place the Tigers can afford to be choosy about. Four members of next year’s line are likely to be underclassmen, and there are still others from the 2015 signing class waiting to get into the conversation. The Tigers signed two OL last year, and they’ve got a great start in this class with a 5* and two 4*s.

The Targets

Offensive Line

Auburn could reach into the JUCO ranks to find someone, but that’s probably not a priority. They’re pushing for a visit from Alabama commit Alex Leatherwood, but I don’t know if there’s even a chance of swinging him to the Orange and Blue.

Running Back

This position is pretty much filled.

Wide Receiver

Auburn will probably take 2-3 receivers in this class. There is one true receiver committed in Noah Igbinoghene and Alaric Williams could probably play the slot, as well. Keep an eye out for Tamorrion Terry from Turner County in Georgia. He’s tall at 6’3.5" and could get even bigger than his current 195lbs.

Tight End

Tre’ McKitty was Auburn’s number one choice, but he chose the Oregon Ducks a few weeks back. He’s from the southeast, though, so plenty of programs have felt they could persuade him not to go so far from home. That’s been helped by the coaching situation at Oregon. Auburn cover very well steal him away.

A recent offer for the Tigers is JUCO TE Salvatore Cannella from Scottsdale, AZ. Going the JUCO route is probably a smart move for Auburn given the lack of depth at the position. The tight end position has been a bit cursed at Auburn over the last few years, it seems. Auburn definitely wants one, perhaps two, in this class to help with that depth.

Quarterback

Let’s face it, this is why you clicked on this article, isn’t it? You want to know about Jarrett Stidham.

I don’t have any inside information for you. I’m not the type to reach out to players directly (if anyone wants to do that type of job for the site just let me know; I just can’t get contact kids like that).

What I can tell you is what I’ve seen from other recruiting sites. Auburn is in a very good spot, but it’s by no means assured. There are tons of variables. He probably doesn’t really want to leave Texas. He may go wherever Art or Kendall Briles end up. He likes Auburn, though, and right now things are leaning the Tigers’ direction.

Auburn isn’t sitting back on its heels and waiting for Stidham, though. They hosted former commit and current LSU commit Lowell Narcisse this weekend. Narcisse could very well flip back to Auburn. If that happens, you have to think the Tigers would take both if they can. That could also help with Tray Bishop. If he truly wants to play Safety, then Auburn can tell him they’ll put him there right off the bat.

If Auburn misses on both, what will they do? Probably reach out into the transfer market or JUCO. Former Notre Dame QB Malik Zaire will be a transfer prospect, and I’m sure there are others out there that we may not be aware of, too.

Wrap Up

Who will Auburn get on offense? I’m going to guess one more offensive lineman (JUCO more than likely), 1-2 WRs including Terry - and maybe someone I’m not thinking of - at least one TE, and I do think Auburn ends up with Stidham at QB. If they can get both Stidham and Narcisse, I will dance in the street.

There are 10 spots left, and probably half of them will belong to the offense. What remains on the defensive side? We’ll talk about that tomorrow.