The 6’3” 287 lb big man out of Honolulu, HI announced January 19th he was transferring from Texas Tech because of concerns over the defensive coaching staff turnover and desire to be better prepared for the NFL. He immediately looked to the SEC and visited Auburn, LSU and Georgia. Fehoko also visited Louisville though they never really emerged as a threat. The former 4* and #50 player in the country chose LSU thanks in large part to his relationship with Ed Orgeron and defensive line coach Pete Jenkins. Orgeron being a former DL coach helped sway the big man as well.
So, where does Auburn go from here? The staff would like to sign at least four defensive lineman (not counting the Buck position) and specifically two at the DT spot. It’s been clear the top two targets have been 4* Coynis Miller and Breiden Fehoko. With Fehoko off the board Auburn will most likely expand their net a bit wider at the defensive tackle position. A name that immediately jumps out is 4* D’Andre Litaker. Litaker is recovering from a season ending ACL injury he suffered last year and many consider the #18 DT in the country a lean to Tennessee. However, he has in the past mentioned his interest in Auburn and if the Tigers think he has regained his form I wouldn’t be shocked if they cranked up their recruitment of the talented DT out of Tennessee.
The other two names to watch are both instate players in 4* Alfred Thomas and 3* Timaje Porter. Thomas holds offers from Georgia, Tennessee, Ole Miss and others but that list does not include either instate power. The 6’1” 270 DT out of Montgomery, AL has made it clear in the past he wants an offer from the Tigers. With Fehoko now off the board and Thomas’s impressive performances at camps this spring, including winning the lineman challenge at the Under Armour Camp in Atlanta, I expect an Auburn offer could be coming soon. I am a big fan of this kid as he could help Auburn in the interior or slide outside and play SDE if needed. Will be interesting to see if the Tigers finally pull the trigger and if they do, has it been too late?
Porter is the other instate DT to watch. That name should be familiar as he was expected to announce between Auburn and LSU on March 24th before cancelling. Porter holds an Auburn offer but it isn’t clear if it’s comittable at this time (same is true for LSU). More than likely the Tigers want to see him at a camp this summer before letting him pull the trigger, if he still wants too. The issue for Porter is weight. He played around 340 lbs last year and it really hurt his explosiveness. He’s still 340 lbs this spring but apparently has dropped some bad weight and put on more muscle. Still I think he needs to be more around 320 if he wants to develop into more than just a run stuffer. If he does that and has a strong camp this summer or breakout senior year, don’t be shocked if he ends up in Auburn’s class. He’s definitely a player to keep an eye on this fall.
It’s a disappointing miss for the staff no doubt and you hate seeing talented guys like this land at an SEC rival but if there’s any position the Tigers have built great depth at it’s DT. Auburn will probably rotate 5 guys at the spot this year and all should be back next year, so chances are they won’t need immediate help in 2018. Instead the staff can now possibly add two talented freshman DTs who can help in 2019 and beyond.