Recruiting is fluid. What seems certain one day can be turned on its head the very next. Yesterday, I had an article all written up about how 4* CB Jalyn Armour-Davis was planning on announcing his decision today and that it would probably be bad news for the Tigers. Then, before the article was published, this happened:
May 25, 2017
For the past 6 or so months, Auburn seemed to be the clear frontrunner for Armour-Davis. Auburn was his first offer, he supposedly hit it off with Greg Brown and he apparently was really close with his area recruiter Travis Williams. He even released a top 6 that did not include Alabama. It all seemed to be lining up for Auburn....
But the announcement never came. Armour-Davis stopped doing interviews with reporters and the news dried up. In recent weeks there were some rumors by "sources" on various message boards that Alabama had made a serious run. Then Armour-Davis confirmed that Alabama was back in the race. Wednesday it was reported he was set to announce his decision on Twitter at noon today and all of a sudden the Crystal Ball picks were rolling in for the Tide. Then finally yesterday, he tweets that he’s postponing his decision. What the heck is going on and what happened to Auburn being the supposed leader?
More than likely, Alabama kicked things up a notch when Armour-Davis first eliminated them from his top group. The Tide did not sign a cornerback in last year’s class and have made it a clear position of importance in the 2018 class. That message seems to have recently resonated with Armour-Davis and the allure of playing early for the Tide appears to have put Alabama ahead of both Auburn and Florida State.
But once again no announcement has come. Did either Auburn or Florida State convince him to hold off? Is Bama not ready to take his commitment because they want to see him camp this summer, a requirement they have made for most every recruit this cycle? Did he just have cold feet? I have absolutely no idea but it has become clear that this is a 3 team battle and Auburn has some serious work to do if they want to land the top-rated instate defender.
All in all, not the greatest news for Auburn on the recruiting trail. The good news is he did not pull the trigger just yet and Auburn has Big Cat Weekend next weekend where they can hopefully regain some momentum on the trail and possibly land a few commits, though I do not believe Armour-Davis is expected to visit. As I mentioned last week, there are plenty more Auburn/Alabama recruiting battles this year. The Tide appear to have pushed ahead in the Armour-Davis battle but the war is not yet over and who knows what changes over the next few months because as we have seen this week, things change fast in recruiting
Tiger RB Signee Heading to Junior College
This isn’t the happiest of recruiting updates is it? Drew Champlin over at AL.com got the scoop yesterday that 4* RB signee Alaric Williams did not qualify and will be heading off to Garden City Community College. He later confirmed that report on Twitter:
No phone calls tonight . Thank you . pic.twitter.com/pmOctjviQ5— Alaric Williams™ (@Alaric_8) May 25, 2017
Overall, this staff has done a very good job of signing kids that qualify. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look that will be case with Williams. I wasn’t expecting him to be a major contributor in 2017 but with Kamryn Pettway and Kerryon Johnson both NFL draft eligible and Auburn’s past injury issues at this position, it’s a tough blow to depth both next season and in the future. I would not be surprised if Auburn attempts to sign three running backs in this class if possible. They currently have one committed in 3* Shaun Shivers.
- 5* CB Anthony Cook - If Auburn misses on Armour-Davis they will obviously just replace him with the #2 CB in the class...
- 4* S Jaiden Woodbey (Ohio State Commit) - The Buckeye commit is a top 50 player in this class. Barring something really wild, I doubt Auburn is very involved in his recruitment.
- 4* WR Al’vonte Woodard - Cook wasn’t the only Lamar High School star to land an AU offer this week. Woodard appears to be a very heavy Texas lean.
- 4* WR Josh Vann - Vann is a threat to go deep every play and is very smooth in and out of his breaks. The Dawgs appear to be the current favorite but don’t sleep on South Carolina.
- 3* DT Tramel Walthour - Walthour’s recruitment has taken off in the past week. Georgia offered around a week ago and then Ohio State, Auburn and Arkansas all jumped on board today. He claimed that the UGA offer was a "dream offer" for him so consensus seems to be he will end up a Dawg.
- 3* DT John Mincey - Keith Niebuhr reported Wednesday that the 6’4" 255 lb Homerville, GA native had landed an offer. With Antwuan Jackson’s unfortunate transfer, I suspect Auburn will be looking for at least 2 DTs, if not more, in this class. Mincey will need to put on some weight to play DT at the next level but there’s a ton of raw ability to like. He hasn’t hid the fact though that he wants a Georgia offer and the Dawgs offered yesterday so the Tigers might be facing an uphill battle.
- OT Doug Johnson - Johnson is a massive individual at 6’6" 325 lbs and is a guy to keep an eye on moving forward.
- 2019 OT Amari Kight - Hard not to be excited about the talent available instate in the 2019 class. Kight is a big dude at 6’5" 300 lbs but extremely athletic. He strikes me as a perfect fit for what Auburn asks OTs to due in their system. Name to know in next year’s class.
- 2019 OT Michael Tarquin - As Cole Cubelic likes to say, this kid has a bit of that "nasty" in him. He doesn’t consider his job done until defender is flat on his back. Looks like Miami is the early team to beat.
- 2019 Tatum Bethune - Auburn is the first to offer the 6’0" 215 Buck/LB prospect out of Miami. He plays DE for his high school team but given his measurables he probably projects more as a LB possibly the Buck spot. Will be interesting to see if Auburn being his first offer plays a large role in his recruitment.
- 2019 OT Mark Fox - More than likely Fox will be an offensive guard at the next level due to his height but he’s very technically sound already for youngster. Will be a name to follow in 2019.
- Auburn QB commit Joey Gatewood landed an invite to the Elite 11 camp. I am not too worried about how he places there, just glad he gets a chance to get some QB coaching. Gatewood has a ton of potential but hasn’t gotten a ton of QB snaps. Just getting the invite is a huge win for both him and Auburn.
- Lots of targets dropped top groups this week with some eliminating Auburn. 3* DE Caleb Tannor included Auburn in his top 5 as did 3* WR Shedrick Jackson. 4* WR Matthew Hill also listed AU in his top 5 and 3* OT John Campbell dropped a top 10 with Auburn as well. Meanwhile, 4* LB Amari Gainer eliminated Auburn from his top 4 (not a surprise) and 4* QB Gerry Bohanon did the same in his top 6 (kind of a surprise). However, 3* S Joseph Foucha topped them all by tweeting out this over 2 minute long video revealing his top 15. Oh the wonderful world of recruiting... The Tigers made the cut and likely are close to if not at the top of Foucha’s list. I am extremely high on this kid so hopefully the next video he drops is one committing to Auburn.
- Every time 4* OG Trey Hill’s recruitment is brought up the Tigers are mentioned as a contender. It appears that UGA and Clemson are probably his top 2 but Auburn might be a not too distant 3rd thanks in large part to his relationship with Herb Hand. I personally think Hill is the best OL in this class so let’s hope a strong year on the field in 2017 helps land this kid.
- Keep an eye on recent Alabama decommit 4* RB Dameon Pierce. The Tigers want at least one more RB in this class and though it appears 4* Asa Martin and 3* Master Teague are choices 1A and 1B, don’t be surprised if Pierce becomes choice 1C.