We are just a few days away from the first ever early signing period. From December 20th to December 22nd, any recruit in the country can sign a National Letter of Intent with their school of choice and be done with the recruiting process. This means that come this time next week, a very large majority of prospects will be off the table. That makes this weekend a very important one for schools hoping to change the minds of any recruits planning on signing Wednesday.
First reported by Benjamin Wolk of SECCountry, here is a list of official visitors expected on campus this weekend:
- 4* QB Joey Gatewood (AU Commit)
- 4* LB Zakoby McClain (AU Commit)
- 4* S Quindarious Monday (AU Commit)
- 4* Buck Richard Jibunor (AU Commit)
- 4* DE Kayode Oladele
- 3* DL Daquan Newkirk (AU Commit)
- 3* OT Jalen Goss
The name to keep the closest eye on this weekend is Kayode Oladele. His recruitment has taken some interesting turns in recent weeks where he was going to make a decision sometime after the SEC Championship Game, to postponing his decision and official visit to Auburn in January, to now officially visiting Auburn this weekend and an expected commitment decision to come shortly after. I have not seen for certain if Oladele will sign early or not but I believe if he does pick the Tigers, the coaching staff will encourage the 6’4” 235 lb prospect to go ahead and sign. My guess is Auburn has attempted to accelerate the timeline to avoid a late push from Florida State and their new head coach Willie Taggart. From the sound of things, Auburn fans should expect some good news in the very near future.
As for the other uncommitted visitor, Jalen Goss is an interesting prospect. He named Auburn his leader after visiting for the Iron Bowl but I am not 100% sure he has spot yet in this class. Numbers are tight, especially with Auburn looking good with Oladele and 4* WR Anthony Schwartz along with needing to sign at least one more cornerback in this class. That means Auburn will need be very picky leading up to February. With that said, Goss is a kid with a lot of upside. He will need some time to develop and put on more weight but he’s got a massive 6’7” frame and is incredibly athletic for a dude that big. Both Michigan and Miami are giving him a hard look as well. He’s a name to track over the final months of this cycle.
Auburn will host five committed prospects this weekend and they are five big ones. Joey Gatewood, Quindarious Monday and Daquan Newkirk are not only visiting this weekend but are expected to enroll and move in on Monday after their visits. All three along with Asa Martin, Christian Tutt and Shedrick Jackson are expected to participate in Auburn’s bowl practices next week. That’s a great head start for these guys especially for prospects like Tutt, Monday and Newkirk who could all find their way into the rotation next season.
Finally, don’t be surprised if there are a few surprise visitors. Auburn’s trying to get 4* QB Emory Jones on campus for an official visit though it doesn’t look likely at this time. The top 50 recruit has been committed to Ohio State but many believe he will end up signing with someone else next week. Alabama has long been the favorite with Auburn as a threat as well. I would also keep an eye on Florida, he’s a perfect fit for Dan Mullen’s system. He’s still a name that could pop up on the visitor list this weekend.
Also someone like 4* OL Jerome Carvin is someone to watch. He was supposed to visit Florida before rescheduling to go with his teammate 3* RB Jeremy Banks to Knoxville. However, now it sounds like he won’t be able to make that trip. I don’t think he visits anywhere this weekend but Auburn is working hard on him with his final decision to come this week. Carvin’s recruitment has been a hard one to decipher with teams like Alabama, Auburn, Mississippi State, Florida, Tennessee and even Memphis all feeling good about their chances at one point in time.
Change of Plans for Jalil Irvin
I plan to talk more about who is signing early and who is not signing early and why next week in my early signing day preview. But I did want to highlight an important announcement by one of Auburn’s longest committed prospects, 4* OL Jalil Irvin.
In Home Visit today and plans have changed and I will be Signing early December 20th and enrolling still in May WDE pic.twitter.com/Cu8uSqLqnr— Jalil Irvin. (@only1_lil) December 14, 2017
Irvin had been one of the few Auburn commits who was thinking of waiting to sign in February. However, it appears the coaching staff has convinced the talented Georgia native to jump on board next week.
Most coaching staffs are pushing their commits hard to sign early. Some have even gone as far as to say if a recruit doesn’t sign early then they aren’t considered committed. I don’t know how true that is or not for Auburn but it’s clear they want to get as many signed as possible. That will in turn free them up to focus solely on the top remaining prospects for the final month of the recruiting cycle and not have to worry about also keeping committed players on board. Expect lots of committed prospects around the country to sign early, shrinking the available talent pool dramatically. Next Wednesday will be a very busy and possibly crazy day in the world of recruiting.
Two Offers of Note
At this point in the recruiting cycle, if Auburn wants a recruit they have already offered them. Most offers during this time go out to prospects in future classes. So when you see offers go out to 2018 recruits that should get your attention. The Tigers sent two out this past week and both are at the two main positions of need in this class.
Not long after 4* OG Trey Hill committed to Georgia, 3* OT Walker Culver tweeted out that he had just been offered by Auburn. This is an interesting turn in Culver’s recruitment. He was set to sign early and more than likely would sign with Virginia Tech who he is officially visiting this weekend. He likes Ohio State as well, but as of now it does not appear they have a spot for him.
But Auburn’s offer could change things. Culver is an AU legacy with both his dad and older brother having graduated from Auburn. You will notice in his tweet that he included a personal picture of him at an Auburn game as a kid. Ohio State insider Bill Kurelic is now reporting that Culver will no longer sign early and take an official visit to Auburn in January. Auburn still has some pretty big names on the board in guys like 4* William Barnes and 4* Richard Gouraige but I would not be surprised to see Culver land in this class down the road. He’s definitely a name to track in the final months of this recruiting cycle.
I will be honest, this offer surprised me some. Not because of anything relating to McCreary but because I thought Auburn had really focused in on deciding between 3* Cam Taylor and 3* CD Daniels for that final cornerback spot if they couldn’t get one of their higher rated prospects to jump on board. Turns out, there is a third instate player to watch in 3* Roger McCreary.
The former South Alabama commit has seen his recruitment blow up. Not only has Auburn offered but apparently Alabama and Tennessee are giving him a hard look as well. He told SECCountry that he plans on taking official visits to all three schools in January.
“The plan is to keep my recruitment open and see where this takes me,” he said. “I’m going to wait on my officials and see what schools I end up feeling comfortable going to.”
McCreary has three official visits lined up, on three consecutive weekends.
He’ll visit Auburn on Jan. 12, then Alabama on 19 and finally Tennessee on Jan. 26. The Tide haven’t offered, but McCreary has recently been in contact with secondary coach Derrick Ansley. His communication with the Volunteers was initiated immediately after Jeremy Pruitt’s move from Alabama to Tennessee. He hasn’t been offered by Tennessee yet, either, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see that change soon.
Cornerback has been one of the harder positions to get a handle on this recruiting cycle. The Tigers have one talented player committed already but would really like to add at least one more. McCreary, Daniels, Taylor and 3* JUCO Benjie Franklin are all names to track here in the final months of the 2018 recruiting cycle. I will honestly state that I have absolutely no idea who ends up being the second cornerback taken but I do know finding that prospect will be one of the main focuses in the month of January.