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Auburn Football Recruiting Update: The 2017 Defensive and Special Teams Class

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Looking at where things stand going into the final two months of CROOTIN’ SEASON

Looking at where things stand going into the final two months of CROOTIN’ SEASON

Yesterday, we took on the offensive recruiting. Today, let’s get over to the defensive side of the ball and the two Special Teams players.

The last few defensive classes have actually been pretty stellar. That’s one big reason for the resurgence of the defense. As much as Will Muschamp’s one season back at Auburn as DC was a disappointment on the field (helped by injuries), he brought in some good talent. Particularly in the defensive backfield. Then, there is last year’s defensive line class that was one of the best in the nation, and three of them redshirted (one due to injury).

Where things have been a little more questionable is at the linebacker spot. The Tigers have missed on some big prospects there, but they’ve still managed to bring in some good players. That can clearly be seen on the field this past season. Travis Williams has worked wonders with the players he has. Still, the Tigers want to add some top-level talent at the linebacker position, and it looks like they’re going to do that in the 2017 class.

The Committed

Let’s take a look at who is already on board, first.

4* ILB Tadarian Moultry

4* ATH Malcolm Askew

4* ILB Kenney Britt

4* ATH Tray Bishop

3* S Carlito Gonzalez

3* OLB Chandler Wooten

3* S Jordyn Peters

SPECIAL TEAMS:

3* Anders Carlson

3* LS Bill Taylor

You should immediately see one thing that stands out. There are no defensive linemen on the board, yet. That’s troublesome, but not too much because Auburn is going after a few highly-recruited linemen and stand a good chance with a few of them. Before you go into panic mode about none being on board, though, please go back up and read the first full paragraph of this article.

Back? Feel better? Let’s discuss that before I move on. We redshirted 4* DT Antwuan Jackson JR, 4* DE Nick Coe (a 2-time state wrestling champion), and also the #1 2016 JUCO pass rusher in Paul James III due to injury. Yes, we’re going to miss Lawson and Adams. We’ve got players ready to step in. I, for one, can’t wait to see what Nick Coe can do. He could even move inside and put those wrestling moves to work wrecking the interior line.

That’s more a discussion for position previews of next season, though. Let’s get back to the task at hand and discuss the recruiting class.

Auburn brought in a great defensive back class two years ago, and this one looks to be pretty good, too. Note that I’ve included Bishop in the defense, too. I think he really wants to play Safety more than QB. Could he be an effective dual-threat QB? It’s highly possible. However, he sees his most likely future in the NFL would be at DB, and that’s where he probably wants to focus. Time will tell if the Tigers can keep him in the class because of that. There are already two Safeties on board, and Auburn is in it for some other big-time DBs, too.

As for the linebackers, this class is excellent. Two are composite 4*s and Chandler Wooten is a high 3* who is an Under Armour All American and could get bumped. One or both of the 4*s could get bumped to 5*. So, Auburn is sitting pretty with these three committed, and they’re still looking into at least one more to add to the class.

For Special Teams, we have the brother of LEGATRON. We’ve toyed with a few nicknames like LEGalvatron (to stick with the Transformers theme) and LEGolas. Honestly, for brevity/character count, I’m leaning towards LEGolas. Anders Carlson may be able to redshirt next season with it looking more likely Daniel is coming back for his final season of eligibility. We’ve also got a 3* long snapper committed, and that’s pretty awesome, too. Someone has to get a good snap to the holder, after all.

The Targets

So, just who are the Tigers going after?

Defensive Line

Two of the biggest targets (because Auburn will need to replace Carl Lawson) are 4* JUCO WDE Isiah Buggs and 4* WDE Markaviest Bryant. Buggs will be hard to get out of Louisiana, though he does like the Tigers (Auburn-type). Bryant is considered a Georgia lean right now, but we can hope that a family connection works for us two years in a row (Davidson last year) and Bryant’s cousin Monty Adams can get him to come to the Orange and Blue.

The Tigers have also recently offered Texas A&M 3* WDE Tyree Johnson. The connection that could help Auburn there is that he attends high school with 5* OT commit Calvin Ashley.

On the other side of the line, Auburn is pursuing 4* SDE LaBryan Ray, but I give the odds of him coming to Auburn close to zero. Composite 4* Ryan Johnson of St. Paul’s Episcopal in Mobile. He’s high on the Tigers, and they’re high on him. The 247Sports Crystal Ball currently is at 85% for the Tigers over Alabama.

At defensive tackle, the Tigers stand a good chance with 3* Alec Jackson from Jefferson Davis in Montgomery. Don’t let the 3*s fool you, he’s being pursued by Ole Miss, USC, and others. He’s a life-long Auburn fan and could be someone Auburn is able to snag once he gets on campus for his official visit.

Linebacker

The board is pretty full, but I still expect one more to be taken. I’d love it if it were 4* Nate McBride from Vidalia, but I’m not holding my breath. The likely targets are 4* Tyler Taylor and 3* Monty Rice on the inside.

Defensive Backs

Auburn doesn’t really have a true cornerback offered at the moment. Some of the Athletes/Safety prospects could play all over the field, though, so that’s not as big a concern. Plus, the Tigers will have Carlton Davis as a junior next season, Javaris Davis as a sophomore and, hopefully, a healthy Jamel Dean. There will be others capable of taking on the position, too.

At Safety, the Tigers have a few on board, but are also not sitting back with just those. 4* CJ Avery is going to commit within the next week or two, and it’s between Auburn and Louisville for his services. Auburn is also making a push for 4* Deangelo Gibbs. He’s a very heavy Georgia lean, but he officially visited the Tigers last weekend and had his in-home visit from Gus (which is why he officially visited), so things could be heating up a bit, there. Don’t get your hopes up too high, but it’s something.

Wrap Up

I think the Tigers will end up with 2-3 defensive linemen, 1 more linebacker, and maybe CJ Avery at Safety. Just who those linemen and linebacker will be are definitely still in question.

Remember, the Tigers currently are 11th in the nation. We’re looking at possibly adding quite a few more 4* players and one or two of our current 4*s could get upgraded. With plenty of time to go and the big official visit weekends coming up in January, this class could finish very strong.

Finishing strong is something we’ve seen this group of coaches do over the last few seasons. They snagged a number of high-profile recruits in late December and January prior to signing day. If they do so again this year, then the Tigers will finish in the Top 10 again. I’ll always take that!