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Auburn Football Recruiting: Tigers Looking to Finish Strong

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Auburn is hoping a fantastic finish on the field will help them have a fantastic finish off the field as well.

4* Richard Jibunor
SB Nation Recruiting

There’s some real momentum building on the Plains. Two early disappointing losses this season looked to have tanked Auburn’s season and possibly ended the Gus Malzahn era. Not anymore. That’s what happens when you blowout a #1 team who happens to also be a rival you have struggled to beat.

Auburn’s win did not go unnoticed by prospects around the country. The Tigers had a long list of elite talent on campus to witness the beatdown first hand. One of those prospects, 4* CB Christian Tutt, saw enough to jump on board earlier this week. There are rumors others were close to doing the same. Winning does magical things.

Now the Tigers are hurtling toward another epic finish to a season. With another expected #1 team arriving in two weeks, expect an even more impressive visitor list for the Iron Bowl. If the Tigers can pull it off again, then I wouldn’t be shocked to see more top prospects start to pop back up on Auburn’s radar. Recruits want to play early and play for winners. Auburn is looking to sell plenty of both in the coming weeks.

AU Quarterback Target Decommits

One of the more interesting Auburn recruiting storylines to unfold this year has been the Tigers pursuit of a second quarterback. Back in the summer, the Tigers tried to jump into the 5* Justin Fields sweepstakes but couldn’t overcome the instate Bulldogs. After missing out, it wasn’t certain Auburn would pursue any other quarterbacks considering they already have a stud committed in 4* Joey Gatewood.

But it’s become clear the Tigers want a 2nd quarterback no matter what and considering how 2015 and 2016 went down for Gus, I don’t blame him for wanting more bodies at the position. A new name has now risen to the top of the board in 4* Jarren Williams. He was a long time Kentucky commit who decommitted from the Cats over the summer only to shortly recommit. Well, now that Auburn, Ohio State and Miami have come calling late this fall, Williams has decommitted again and it looks very unlikely he ends up at Lexington. He took an official to Miami and got to see the Canes put a whooping on the Irish. That lead to a slew of Crystal Ball picks with many thinking Miami is now the team to beat.

Not so fast. Williams still has official visits to Ohio State and Auburn scheduled. He will be in Columbus this weekend and on the Plains for the Iron Bowl. Supposedly, Williams and Lindsey have a strong relationship and there seems to be some quiet confidence on the Auburn side that the Tigers can steal away Williams. Make no mistake though, Miami will be tough to overcome considering their 4* QB commit recently flipped to Rutgers so they can sell Williams on being the guy in their class. Auburn has to convince Williams to come compete with Gatewood. That won’t be easy but I also don’t think it’s impossible.

Also file away the name Emory Jones. The 4* QB has long been committed to Ohio State but neither are acting like that’s the case. The Buckeyes are pursuing and offering other QBs while Jones is frequently visiting other campuses. He was a surprise guest for the Georgia game and could be back for the Iron Bowl. Alabama is making a strong push as well for the Georgia native and might be the favorite to flip him at this time. But if Auburn can get Jones back on campus a few more times then who knows, maybe the Tigers can add another top QB to this class.

Decisions Coming Soon?

Auburn landed one commitment this week but more could soon be on the way. One of those names is a very familiar one in 4* Richard Jibunor. It feels like he’s been on commit watch since I started writing recruiting articles for this site back in February. The Nigerian native has been a frequent visitor to campus and was at Auburn again Saturday to see the Tigers destroy the Bulldogs. Jibunor seemed to especially enjoy it considering he currently resides in Athens. He had one of the best recruit reactions of the game, courtesy of Jeffery Lee over at AuburnSports.com:

“I heard from people that ‘Auburn is this, that’ and they make fun of me because they are Georgia fans and they know Auburn is one of my favorite schools,” Jibunor said. “They said that they were going to kick Auburn’s … whatever.”

Jibunor plans to get redemption when he returns home to Athens, albeit non-verbal. Jibunor will let his apparel do the talking for him.

“I have my Auburn t-shirt on and I’m going to wear it to school,” Jibunor said. “I don’t need to wash it. I’ve been hugging almost all the Auburn players and I want to go to school with it like this so they can feel it.”

Go ahead and come on down Jibunor. My guess is that by the time Auburn wins the SEC Championship (see what I did there) Jibunor will have committed to the Tigers.

But it’s not just Jibunor to keep an eye on. Auburn’s tight end recruiting has been hard to get a read on at times but one name has consistently been a focus for the coaching staff, 3* Michael Parker. Parker was back on campus again this past weekend and although he grew up a bammer and has two brothers currently playing as walk ons for the Tide, the Huntsville native is starting to envision himself in orange and blue. He plans on having a decision in the next two weeks and chances are good he will pick the Tigers. My guess is Auburn will want him to sign in December to ensure that a late offer doesn’t appear from the Tide and the Tigers lose him late in the cycle. I expect he commits to Auburn sometime around or after the Iron Bowl and signs in December with the Tigers. He’s a guy that staff loves.

It’s funny how names disappear only to appear again later in a recruiting cycle. That’s the case for 4* OG Tank Jenkins. He once looked like a certain lock to join the Tigers’ class but didn’t pull the trigger over the summer resulting in both sides cooling off on each other some. Sounds like the heat is back on for both. According to Benjamin Wolk, a few recruits told him to keep an eye on Jenkins this past weekend as he might pop. He ended up holding off but it sounds like he’s as close to committed to the Tigers as one can be without verbally announcing it. The question though is whether or not Auburn is willing to take four interior offensive lineman this cycle. They already have Jalil Irvin and Kameron Stutts on board and are in a good spot with 4* Trey Hill. I am guessing Auburn ends up with five offensive lineman in this class, four being interior players. If both Jenkins and Hill want on board, I just don’t know how you say no.

The early signing period is December 20th so there are probably even more names to keep an eye on in the coming weeks. 4* WR Seth Williams is a guy that might have a decision after the season is over and is a player Auburn feels good about. There is Memphis commit, 3* CB CD Daniels who would probably flip if he ends up getting an offer. Hill and 4* OT Dylan Wonnum plan on having their decisions made by early the signing period as well. Oh and Auburn’s newest commit Tutt told Wolk he knows of one other 2018 CB prospect that will pick Auburn in December. Bottom line is things are about to get real busy again on the recruiting trail. If Auburn can pull this incredible finish off it could end up being a lot of REALLY good news.

Offers

It’s been awhile since I discussed Auburn offers but with the Tigers sending out at least five this week to the 2019 and 2020 classes, I figured might as well bring this feature back.

  • 2019 4* LB Nakobe Dean - Dean is a physical presence at the linebacker spot and will be one of the top defensive prospects in the country in 2019 and possibly the #1 ranked player in Mississippi. The 6’2” 215 prospect already holds offers from at least 13 programs including Alabama, LSU, Georgia and now Auburn.
  • 2019 4* TE Garmon Randolph - There’s a good chance Randolph could play a number of different positions in college including tight end, defensive end and possibly offensive tackle. He’s got a massive frame at 6’6” but is a bit thin right now. My guess is he sticks as a tight end prospect due to his outstanding combination of length, hands and athleticism.
  • 2019 3* DE Ahmad Craig - Buford High School is absolutely loaded with 2019 talent. Auburn has already offered at least three other prospects from the high school (Derrian Brown, Harry Miller and Riley Simonds) and sent out two more this week. One to Craig who is a giant at 6’6” 235 lbs. He’s explosive out of his stance and has outstanding bend which you love to see in a pass rusher. I fully expect him to be a coveted prospect in the 2019 cycle.
  • 2019 DT Jalar Holley - The final 2019 offer that went out this week is to another Buford prospect. Holley is a powerful force in the interior of the defensive line. He plays with great leverage and you can tell he’s been well coached. He was on campus for the Georgia game and I suspect ends up a top target for the Tigers next cycle.
  • 2020 ATH Jaquavion Fraziars - Finally, there was a 2020 offer that went out to one of the top sophomore athletes in the state of Florida. Fraziars is a long kid at 6’4” possibly 6’5” but will need to bulk up some (not surprising for a sophomore in high school). He’s got an outstanding catch radius and is dangerous with the football in his hands. Considering both Auburn and Florida have already offered the youngster, chances are good he will be a name to know in the 2020 class.

War Eagle!