It's GROUNDHOG DAY! The next verse is the same as the last verse. One class has signed and now we immediately turn our attention to the next class. Who is already on board? What does Auburn need? Where will the focus be? And, oh yes, WHEN will players be signing?
Early Signing Period
So, here is one big thing to keep in mind as we begin the 2018 recruiting cycle. The NCAA is looking into allowing an early signing period in December. So, there's a chance that we'll get to do this multiple times during the cycle! It will be interesting to see how that plays out and which major recruits are allowed to sign.
There is a good chance that the December signing period will be anti-climactic. Bubble players - like Tyrone Truesdell and JaTarvious Whitlow - won't sign with other schools then, because they'll be holding out for last-second offers from other schools. The majority of players signing during that period will probably be just those who are early enrollees and/or are set on their school of choice and want to end the phone calls, visits, etc a little over a month early.
There's always a chance that some schools won't see much action on those days if a coaching staff is in flux, too. What player wants to sign only to have his coach fired or leave for another job days later? Sure, you hope they committed to the school and not the coach, but we all know they want to play for the coach they committed to, too.
I'm no recruiting guru, but here are the areas I see Auburn focusing attention on next season.
People forget about the huge haul of the 2015 class. Many of them enrolled early and are now set up to be the base for a strong offensive line. Over the last two years, Auburn has only signed a few offensive linemen. So, the 2018 class will likely see the Tigers go hard and heavy after a lot of beef.
Auburn signed three defensive linemen in the 2017 class. It's still a deep position on the team, so the Tigers aren't desperate - particularly after last year's spectacular haul - but you know Auburn doesn't want to go two years in a row without a big class of linemen.
Auburn's 2016 class was one of the best in the nation. 2017 had one true receiver, one utility player (Alaric Williams, who can play RB or slot WR), and one Athlete who will start at receiver (JaTarvious Whitlow). The receivers on the team are young, but Auburn will still want to keep building the depth behind them.
This is a hunch, but I think you'll see Auburn go hard after a really high-quality TE. Cannella could possibly go pro next season if he has a great year, and Auburn still doesn't have much depth, there.
This is a no-brainer. We always need at least one high-quality QB in every class.
The other positions will likely see 1-2, maybe 3, per spot if enough really good players want to come to Auburn.
Who is already on board? There are three committments. Auburn already has its fantastic QB recruit in Joey Gatewood. Running back Shaun Shivers is also a big get. Then there is Daquon Newkirk. Newkirk committed to Auburn for last year's class, but had to go the JUCO route. How has he done since then? Well, he's now a 4* defensive end who will be ready to contribute Day 1.
If you want to get a head start on looking at Auburn's primary targets for the cycle, 247Sports has a good round-up of them all. I honestly haven't dug into it enough to know who the real focus is on since we've been so busy with the 2017 cycle.
Go reel them in, coaches!