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Early Signing Day Preview

Everything (hopefully) you need to know before tomorrow’s start to the first ever early signing period.

NCAA Football: Alabama at Auburn Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

This week is a big week for Auburn football. With the NCAA’s new rule allowing prospects to sign their National Letter of Intent in December, the Tigers are expecting to get the majority of their class officially on board over the coming days. While this new rule hasn’t exactly been met with cheers by coaches and recruits alike, it does mean that by Saturday, Auburn fans should have a good idea of who all will be joining the team next season and what holes still need to be filled by February.

So let’s take a look at who is expected to sign in the next few days and who is waiting until February to end their recruitment.

Auburn’s Early Enrollees

Those with an asterisk (*) by their name are expected to participate in bowl practice.

Some of Auburn’s most important targets are not only enrolling early but are already participating in bowl practice this week. Guys like Monday, Tutt and Newkirk could challenge for a role in the rotation next season so getting them on campus so early is big. Also with questions about whether or not Kerryon Johnson and Kamryn Pettway will return next year, it sure doesn’t hurt to have a guy like Asa Martin already on campus working out and learning the scheme.

Both Joey Gatewood and Jamien Sherwood have some schoolwork to finish up but both are expected to participate in spring practice. Safety is a position with a lot of question marks heading into 2018 so having Auburn’s top two safety commits practicing this spring is huge for the Tigers.

Auburn’s Early Signees

In previous years, I would be really worried about hanging on to a guy like Seth Williams. He’s in Alabama’s backyard and he’s the type of player that the Tide might push real hard to flip in January. The good news is Auburn won’t have to worry about that this cycle with the new early signing period. While Williams, along with the rest of the players listed, won’t be on campus until the summer, having them already signed will free the coaches up to focus solely on Auburn’s top remaining targets in January.

Auburn’s February Signees

This is the most interesting group in my opinion. These three players are electing to wait until February to sign which might make Auburn fans a bit nervous. I think the coaches would prefer all the commitments to go ahead and sign but that’s probably never going to be the case. Siposs gets a bit of a free pass as there probably is still a lot of paperwork to be done with him coming from a different country. I imagine the staff want him to wait until February to give everyone time to dot their i’s and cross their t’s.

Hill and Miller are different. Both have been adamant that they want to wait until February to sign. I expect both to take official visits elsewhere next month but in the end, I think both end up signing with Auburn. Honestly, I don’t think it’s a bad decision to wait until February so you can see if there are any other coaching staff changes and give yourself time to really make sure you are making the decision that is best for you. Clemson is Auburn’s biggest threat for Hill and Tennessee might be the same for Miller with Jeremy Pruitt now the head coach for the Vols. But again, both appear very solid at this time and I think they stick with the Tigers. Still, it’s not done until they sign their letters of intent. They will no doubt be two names to watch in the final month of this recruiting cycle.

Targets Signing Early

Barring something wild happening, I do not see Jones picking the Tigers. The highly rated QB out of GA visited Florida and Florida State this past weekend. While still technically an Ohio State commit, it seems very likely that Jones will sign with someone else Wednesday. Dan Mullen’s Gators have become the favorite and honestly make the most sense. He’s a perfect fit in Mullen’s system and would have a chance to see the field very early in his career.

The next two names are the ones to watch. Chances are good their decisions are tied together. After the Iron Bowl, it looked like Auburn had become the team to beat for Jerome Carvin. But his recruitment has been all over the place in recent weeks. Dan Mullen has pushed hard for his former top OL target to join him in Gainesville while Jeremy Pruitt has tried to make a late push to keep the big man instate. Auburn continues to recruit him really hard but it’s starting to sound like Carvin will end up where everyone thought he would not that long ago, Mississippi State. Still, given the twists and turns of his recruitment, you can’t be sure until he signs. More than likely the decision will come down to Auburn, Mississippi State and Tennessee. He’s expected to commit and sign Wednesday morning at a ceremony at his high school.

If Carvin were to pick someone other than Auburn then I think chances are very high you see the Tigers land Jalen Goss this week. He’s a massive kid at 6’7” but lacks ideal size at 265 lbs on that frame. But he’s got tremendous upside and Auburn is apparently high on him. However, numbers are tight and the Tigers probably only have two OL spots left. With them still in the race for guys like Richard Gouriage and William Barnes they probably don’t want to use both spots up in December on both Carvin and Goss if possible. That’s why the Tigers are probably waiting to hear what Carvin does before taking Goss.

I should also point out that Goss has become a priority for Michigan as well so it’s not like Auburn can wait around forever. Miami is another team taking a long look at the GA native so it would behoove Auburn to move quickly if they want to lock this kid down. My guess is Carvin let’s the staff know today that he’s going to Mississippi State and Auburn gets Goss to sign tomorrow. But that’s just a guess and it’s recruiting so you never know how these things will end.

Targets Signing in February

This list is incomplete but I wanted to give you an idea of who Auburn can still pursue after the early signing period. I plan to dive more in depth into Auburn’s remaining targets and positions of need Friday after the dust has settled on early signing day. But two names to watch this week are Luke Ford and Channing Tindall. Auburn is battling UGA for both and probably trail for both right now. However, if both wait until February that might give Auburn enough time to change one or both of their minds. There’s a chance both could sign this week but have previously stated they want to wait until February. My guess is Tindall ends up signing with the Dawgs this week but Ford decides to wait until the later signing date. The Tigers are hoping both wait so they can have one final month to maybe swipe them away from Kirby Smart.

The faxes should start rolling in early tomorrow morning and it will be interesting to see how this new signing period works out for all involved. It appears Auburn won’t have much drama surrounding their class outside of what happens with Carvin and Goss. But this is Auburn we are talking about and it seems like signing days under Gus are always filled with surprises. We will see if that proves the case once again. Bottom line though is Auburn will be adding a number of talented football players to their roster this week. Always exciting to see these kids achieve their dreams of playing collegiate football.

War Eagle!