It hasn’t always been clear exactly how many quarterbacks Auburn plans on taking in the 2018 class. For most of this cycle, the thought has been one quarterback and possibly an athlete who would get a shot at QB but could change positions if needed. However, it became clear Saturday that Auburn will in fact pursue two quarterbacks in this class when this happened:
That is current Penn State commit 5* QB Justin Fields. You don’t offer 5* QBs committed to other schools if you aren’t in the market for a quarterback yourself. Obviously the first question then is how does this affect 4* Joey Gatewood who has been committed to Auburn since December 2015. According to Benjamin Wolk over at SECCountry, Gatewood was made well aware of the fact that Auburn would want another QB in this class and the staff apparently has promised to stay in constant communication with him about possible offers and who they are pursuing.
So why a second quarterback? Well first off the Tigers entered spring practice with six guys at that spot and are down to four already after Tyler Queen transferred to West Georgia and John Franklin III moved to WR. That would still mean Auburn should have five guys on roster next year at that position counting Gatewood but I suspect Auburn’s QB attrition isn’t over yet. Chances are good one of Jarrett Stidham, Sean White or Woody Barrett will not be on Auburn’s roster in 2018. If Stidham is the hero we have all been waiting for then he will more than likely make a jump to the NFL after the 2017 season. If not or he just decides to stick around for at least two seasons then chances are good Sean White would look to pursue opportunities elsewhere as a graduate transfer considering he has already proven he can be successful in the SEC. Finally, with Malik Willis’s impressive spring there’s a chance Woody Barrett will find himself at the bottom of the depth chart in 2017 and with more QB talent coming in next season, he might decide to look for better opportunities elsewhere.
Bottom line is after the last two seasons, you can bet Gus Malzahn does not want to be shorthanded at the QB spot. If Gatewood is ok with a second QB in this class then Auburn has a chance to really solidify this position for the future. Especially if that 2nd QB ends up being Justin Fields who Auburn feels like they have a legitimate shot at despite his longtime commitment to Penn State. Also watch out for guys like 4* Gerry Bohanon, 3* Jarren Williams, 3* James Foster, Cordell Littlejohn, and a wildcard name I am throwing in, Demarcus Irons. The hunt for a second quarterback will be an interesting storyline to follow in the 2018 cycle.
Justin Fields wasn’t the only prospect to land an offer this week, far from it. I said before that you should expect plenty of offers to start flying out during the evaluation period when coaches can hit the road, well that’s exactly what happened this week. By my count the Auburn coaching staff sent out 15 offers with 10 of them going to 2019 & 2020 recruits. Chances are good that I might have even missed a few or more have gone out since this post was submitted. Here’s who, as of right now, I know has received an Auburn offer this past week.
3* S Charlie Thomas - Thomas is only rated by 247 right now but that will change. He’s a great athlete who pulls double duty for his team playing WR and S but his future at the next level is on defense. Great tackler with a nice frame and great speed. Expect Auburn to be a player in his recruitment.
3* CB JaKorey Hawkins - Read/heard a lot of hype about this kid but had not watched his film until he landed an AU offer last night. I get the excitement. Hawkins is a 6’0” almost 190 lb CB with great instincts, elite speed and is a strong tackler. I suspect this kid’s recruitment is really going to take off in the next few months.
3* DE Patrick Joyner Jr (FSU Commit) - Joyner was one of FIVE South Dade players AU offered yesterday. He’s currently committed to the Noles so it will be interesting to see if AU becomes a player or not.
3* TE Chris Carter Jr (USF Commit) - Another TE offer is out and this one is to a big bodied athlete out of South Dade High School in Homestead, FL. The Tigers would like to sign at least one TE this class and Carter is a guy to watch moving forward.
3* CB DJ Ivey (MIA Commit) - Ivey is, you guessed it, another South Dade talent. He’s a very long armed DB with potential to be a 6’1” 190-200 lb CB at the next level. Currently he is committed to the Canes.
2019 WR Frank Ladson Jr (UF Commit) - Ladson is another big bodied WR that the Tigers seem to be coveting more recently. He’s 6’4” 170 lbs with great hands and some sky high potential. The big man is an early commit to the Gators.
2019 ATH Tyrique Stevenson (UF Commit) - The final South Dade offer went out to Stevenson who is also a current Florida commit. Stevenson could end up at WR or CB at the next level but my guess is he plays CB with his skillset.
2019 WR Marcus Washington - Auburn also offered a trio of players out of Trinity Catholic in St. Louis, MO. Washington makes it all look so easy and effortless while embarrassing DBs and scoring TDs. This kid is going to be a highly coveted recruit in next year’s class.
2019 ATH Isaiah Williams - Williams plays QB for Trinity Catholic but will probably end up at WR at the next level. Human joystick is an overused way of describing players but I don’t think there’s a better way of explaining how this kid plays. Elite athlete that will be recruited by every major power in the country next year.
2019 LB Shammond Cooper - This Trinity Catholic team is absolutely loaded. Cooper is a fun LB to watch on film. He diagnosis plays quickly and can fly to the ball. Expect a lot of teams to be visiting this school over the next year and half.
2019 WR Ramel Keyton - This kid might have the best hands in the 2019 class. He doesn’t have elite speed or size but he has enough of both to match with his elite catching ability to be a big time prospect. He’s one of my early favorites of the 2019 class.
2019 WR Trey Knox - Knox is teammates with 2018 AU RB target Master Teague so expect AU’s coaching staff to make plenty of visits to Murfreesboro over the next 2 seasons. He’s a big bodied WR that is hard to bring down and uses his size well to shield off defenders and score TDs.
2019 DT Ishmael Sopsher - Good chance this kid ends up the #1 OVR player in the country in the 2019 class. 6’4” 305 lb monster up front that can slide out and play end or cause havoc at DT. I believe LSU and Alabama are the early favorites.
2020 RB Jaylan Knighton - I believe AU is his first Power 5 offer though not 100% sure on that. Obviously offering a kid that is a rising sophomore means the staff sees some serious potential in this kid.
2020 DT McKinnley Jackson - Jackson was a terror last year as a freshman at George County in Lucedale, MS. Ole Miss and Auburn have both jumped into the race early.
- 247’s Keith Niebuhr put together a list of the best bets to join the 2018 class. He also has another slideshow up detailing every player AU has offered with a note on their recruitment.
- I have written a bunch about Auburn’s DT recruiting this year and have talked about a number of instate guys AU could pursue. Well there is another name to add to the list in 3* Allen Love who Auburn is checking out today.
- Auburn still leads for 4* LB Zakoby McClain. He appears to be one of Travis Williams’s top targets in the 2018 class.