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Auburn Football Recruiting: Examining the 2018 Offensive Class

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A look at the current state of Auburn’s offensive recruiting board.

Longtime Auburn commit Joey Gatewood with OC Chip Lindsey.
Joey Gatewood’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/Joey1gatewood/status/838174501212983296

Believe it or not, we are only 4 weeks away from the end of the regular college football season, eight weeks away from the early signing period. A lot can and will happen over the coming weeks. For Auburn, there’s still the possibility of something special happening to finish the year. There’s also a good possibility of some familiar demons rearing their heads and a coaching staff shakeup.

So with a scary November staring us down, now feels like a good time to take a step back and see what Auburn’s recruiting boards look like these days. We will start with the offense which already has quite a few big time players on board. For the fun of it, here’s what I had to say about Auburn’s recruiting board back in February. A lot of familiar names and a lot of guys that never really ended up on the radar.

Quarterback - 1/2

Auburn already has one quarterback on board so they don’t have to take another if they don’t want to this cycle. However, it does sound like if there’s a guy Lindsey likes, the Tigers would be willing to take a 2nd. My bet is Auburn does end up bringing in another QB to give them four on roster next season.

Commits

  • 4* Joey Gatewood - Commitment is a word often thrown around in recruiting but very seldom embodied. Not the case with Gatewood. The stud quarterback has been committed to Auburn since December 5th, 2015. You don’t see that often. The 6’4” 232 lb Jacksonville, FL native has had an outstanding senior year and is the highest rated player in Auburn’s recruiting class. He’s got a very bright future for the Tigers.

Targets

  • 4* Brevin White (Princeton Commit) - White’s brother, Brady White, played for Chip Lindsey at Arizona State. White is a guy Auburn has kept in communication with throughout the process. If Auburn were to offer then there’s a good chance he would officially visit. And yes, he actually is currently committed to Princeton.
  • 3* James Foster - Foster decommitted from Missouri just this past week. The Montgomery, AL native is already drawing plenty of interest from LSU but has admitted that an Auburn offer would make things interesting for him. Don’t be surprised if he’s on campus for a few of Auburn’s November home games.
  • NR AJ Curry - While some recruits are known as early as 8th grade, others don’t burst onto the scene until their senior year. That’s the case for Curry who switched from WR to QB before his senior season and has been one of the breakout players in the state of Georgia. The Tigers are currently evaluating the 6’4” 200 lb prospect. It will be interesting to see if Auburn can find another GA QB gem late in the recruiting cycle (ala Malik Willis last year).

Running Back - 2/2

Running back is one of the few positions Auburn appears to be done at this cycle. Barring a decommitment or the sudden interest of a top recruit, the Tigers will probably stick with the 2 backs they have and be very happy with it.

Commits

  • 4* Asa Martin - Martin was a huge victory for this staff back in August. The Tigers beat out Alabama and Florida for the stud running back’s signature and the senior season he’s compiled shows why all three schools wanted him so bad. He’s been to basically every Auburn home game but the past two weeks has visited Tuscaloosa. He plans on taking a few official visits as well but unless there’s a coaching change, I suspect he signs with the Tigers.
  • 3* Shaun Shivers - It’s hard to find a more vocal supporter of the Tigers in this 2018 class than Shivers. The small but explosive back has been one of Auburn’s top recruit turned recruiters this cycle. He’s also had a strong senior campaign and will bring some serious speed to this Auburn backfield in 2018.

Wide Receiver - 2/4

At a minimum Auburn will take 3 wide receivers this class. However, with the recent dismissal of Kyle Davis there’s a good chance the Tigers will attempt to sign four wide outs if possible. There’s still some very big fish left to catch at this spot.

Commits

  • 4* Matthew Hill - It seemed like Hill was on commit watch for months before he finally pulled the trigger but the Tigers were happy to get him regardless. Hill is a prospect that can do a lot of different things for the Auburn’s offense and in some ways reminds me of Ricardo Louis coming out of high school. Keep an eye on Clemson who are trying to convince Hill to come play safety for them. However, I would be shocked if Hill didn’t sign with Auburn.
  • 3* Shedrick Jackson - I will be honest in saying that I was never really sure about Jackson this summer as an SEC prospect. I thought the potential was there but wasn’t completely sold based on his film. After seeing what he’s done this fall, I am a believer. Jackson is a true deep threat who can take the top off defense at any moment. He’s also got outstanding hands and will give Auburn a nice weapon to add to this receiving core in 2018. The biggest thing that stands out is it appears he gets better every time he gets on the field. Auburn is getting a very talented player with incredible potential.

Targets

  • 4* Justyn Ross - For the first time since Jameis Winston, there’s a very good chance the top rated instate player leaves the state of Alabama. Clemson appears to be the top dog for Ross right now but Auburn is still hard after the big bodied WR. Joey Gatewood could end up being the key for the Tigers. Expect Ross on campus for both UGA & Alabama in the coming weeks.
  • 4* Seth Williams - Despite not visiting Auburn at all this fall, the Tigers still look like the team to beat for the Cottondale, AL native. It doesn’t appear Williams has visited anywhere this fall so I wouldn’t worry too much about the lack of trips to Auburn. Kodi Burns has been hard after Williams since the start of this cycle and that hard work could payoff as the feeling is Auburn sits in the driver’s seat. With Alabama continuing to look out of the state for smaller, quicker WRs, it’s hard to not like the Tigers’ chances in signing the 6’4” 212 wide out.
  • 4* Anthony Schwartz - It’s honestly surprising Schwartz isn’t already committed to Florida but the Tigers have made this race close. The recent coaching change at Florida could help or hurt Auburn. One of Schwartz’s main concerns has been the number of WRs committed to the Gators so if a few guys flip it might help UF with Schwartz. However, Burns has done an outstanding job recruiting Schwartz and there’s always the chance the next Florida coaching staff either doesn’t click with Schwartz or maybe don’t want him. Either way, Auburn is very much a threat to land possibly the fastest recruit in the country.
  • 4* Tommy Bush - Bush visited Auburn back in the summer and came away impressed. Since then the Tigers have been fighting to earn one of his official visits. As of now, it’s not clear who will all get visits but if Auburn can get him on campus they could become a threat.

Tight End - 0/1

Yes, Auburn does plan on signing a tight end. No, I don’t know why any tight end would come play in this offense.... FWIW Auburn is playing their TEs a bunch this season and I have seen a few different times they have been targeted but there hasn’t been much in the way of results. As of now, two names appear to be the real options at this position.

Targets

  • 3* Tyneil Hopper - I am a big fan of Hopper. He’s a true receiving threat at the tight end position with the ability to go the distance at any moment. It appears this is a four way fight between Auburn, Louisville, North Carolina and Wake Forest. I am unsure if Hopper or Parker are higher on the board or if it’s more of a first come, first serve type of thing. Either way, I would be ecstatic if the Tigers could land the talented Roswell tight end.
  • 3* Michael Parker - Parker blew away the coaching staff this summer at one of the junior camps and landed an offer on the spot. Since then the Tigers have been hard after the 6’6” 230 lb prospect. The problem is he has two brothers that walked on at Alabama and if the Tide ever do offer, he would pounce all over it. But it might come down to how long is Parker willing to wait or whether or not Alabama lands their top tight end target. As of today, my bet is Parker never gets the Alabama offer he covets and signs with the Tigers in December.

Offensive Line - 2/4

I could see Auburn taking as many as five offensive lineman if possible but for now I am sticking with the number four. Auburn already has two talented interior players committed and are looking to snag at least one impact player at the tackle position.

Commits

  • 3* Jalil Irvin - I still have no idea how Irvin lost his 4* rating earlier this summer. No he’s not the flashiest of OL prospects but he’s already well developed from a technical perspective. He plays tackle for his team but will more than likely end up at one of the interior spots for Auburn. My bet is he’s a future multi year starter at the center position for the Tigers.
  • 3* Kameron Stutts - Stutts has the potential to be a monster. The 6’4” 329 lb beast will need a year or two of development but I firmly expect him to eventually make an impact the guard position for Auburn. If there’s one thing the Tigers have done a very good job of doing under Malzahn, it’s recruiting road graders in the interior OL. Stutts is another name to add to that list.

Targets

  • 4* Trey Hill - In my amateur opinion, Trey Hill is the #1 OL in the country. He’s got the nastiness that you can’t coach and is a dominant presence in the interior. His recruitment looks to be turning into an Auburn-Georgia battle with some believing the Tigers just might hold a slight lead at the moment. A strong finish in November could really help Auburn land one of the top players in the country.
  • 4* Dylan Wonnum - There was a time it looked like Auburn was the clear team to beat for Wonnum but times have changed. With South Carolina’s strongish performance this season, it appears the Gamecocks have retaken the lead for Wonnum whose brother has been a big part of the South Carolina defense this fall. Still, Auburn has a shot at reeling Wonnum in with a strong end to the season and pitch that the Tigers will need immediate help at OT next season. Also, don’t overlook Wonnum’s friendship with Irvin. That could really help Auburn come crunch time.
  • 4* Badara Traore - Auburn has never been afraid to turn to junior college talent to help plug holes. It’s no sure thing that Prince Sammons or Calvin Ashley will be ready to lock down one of those offensive tackle spots next season and a guy like Traore could come in immediately and make a major impact. However, LSU is a real threat in this recruitment and he plans to officially visit there at some point. This will be a recruitment to pay close attention to in the coming weeks.
  • 4* Tank Jenkins - Jenkins has had a bit of an odd recruitment. It seemed like a matter of time before he would commit to Auburn this summer but held off. Auburn in turn backed off, especially once they started making a move on Trey Hill. Then Louisville became the sure landing spot for Jenkins but he still hasn’t pulled the trigger for the Cardinals either. If Auburn were to strikeout on Hill or decide they need a fifth OL, Jenkins is a name that could jump back up the board. Very interested to see where he lands this cycle.
  • 3* Jerome Carvin - I would be surprised if Carvin ended up a Tiger but with so many moving pieces you can never say never. Carvin was long thought to be a Tennessee lean until the wheels came off the Butch mobile. Alabama was thought to be a major contender but them seem to be making major headway with some of their top prospects (shocking). Now it appears Mississippi State is the team to beat. If Auburn wants a fifth OL or feels like they aren’t going to land any from Hill, Traore and Wonnum, then Carvin could become a major target for Auburn. A name to file away as we race towards the early signing period.

War Eagle!