I apologize for not having anything last week. The flu bug bit the Nerd family especially hard. Thankfully, everyone is recovered and I will do my best to catch you all up on all things Auburn recruiting. Just over 2 weeks to go until signing day....
No Official Visitors this Weekend
At the start of the week, this weekend looked to be a very important one for Auburn’s recruiting efforts. The Tigers were expecting to host three top targets in 4* WR JaMarr Chase, 4* OT Richard Gouraige and 3* DB Joseph Foucha. But a lot can change in a week in recruiting.
First, there was the news Tuesday that Herb Hand was heading west to Austin, TX to join Tom Herman’s staff. One of the main draws to Auburn for Gouraige had been his close relationship with Hand. In fact, Hand had been in to visit Gouraige earlier that day. The news took the big man by surprise and apparently changed his visit plans. More than likely, Gouraige wants to probably meet Grimes before using one of his few official visits on a trip to the Plains. I expect Auburn to send almost everybody on the offensive staff next week to visit Gouraige to hopefully convince the top OL target to use his final visit on February 2nd to check out Auburn University. Gouraige is currently on a visit to Ole Miss this weekend and is expected to check out Gainseville next weekend. Auburn will learn this upcoming week whether they are still in the race for one of the nation’s top offensive tackle prospects.
Then there is JaMarr Chase. Kodi Burns has been working hard to get the talented Louisiana wideout on campus this season but it just seems like something always happens. Chase was planning to visit for the Iron Bowl but suffered an injury Friday night in his high school game making traveling impossible. Auburn was able to convince him to come visit this weekend but according to Keith Niebuhr of AuburnUndercover, a death in the family caused him to cancel this trip as well. Obviously that will put his recruitment on hold for a bit though I believe he’s still expected to take an official visit to the Plains at some point.
Finally that leaves Joseph Foucha. With both Gouraige and Chase no longer coming and road conditions still a bit of a concern due to ice, Foucha and the coaching staff elected to reschedule his official visit to a later date. The talented 3-star defensive back is currently on an official visit to Arkansas. However, he still claims that Auburn is his leader.
I fully expect next week to be a loaded visitor list. Auburn is already expecting 4* LB Quay Walker, 4* WR Justyn Ross and 3* DL Caleb Johnson on campus. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see 4* DL Caleb Tannor join the list as well. Also I imagine that Auburn will try and reschedule a few of these cancelled visits to next weekend. By Friday, we should have a much better feel of what next weekend’s visitor list looks like.
Last Weekend Recap
This weekend is quite the contrast to last weekend’s packed visitor list. The Tigers welcomed FOURTEEN official visitors on campus. Many were Auburn commits and signees but there were a few important uncommitted targets sprinkled in as well. Here’s a quick note on every visitor that made it to campus
- 4* WR Matthew Hill (Auburn) - Hill might have been Auburn’s most important visitor this past weekend. He’s been committed since August but that hasn’t stopped Clemson from pursuing the talented Georgia native. Clemson is recruiting Hill as a safety while Auburn wants him on the offensive side of the ball. While Hill did not do any interviews after his visit, Auburn signee Michael Harris did reveal that he and Hill plan to room together at Auburn. That’s a positive sign for the good Tigers and from all accounts it sounds like Auburn feels good about hanging onto one of their top rated commitments.
- 4* RB Harold Joiner (Auburn) - One of the big questions heading into last weekend’s visit was whether or not Joiner was a take. Turns out that was a resounding yes. Interestingly enough, one of the main ideas Gus sold to Joiner was using him like Charles Clay. Joiner’s skillset is perfect for that role and I am excited to see how AU uses him in the coming seasons.
- 4* OT Dylan Wonnum - South Carolina is going to be hard to beat in this race especially now that Auburn has lost Herb hand. However, anytime you get a guy on campus for a visit you’ve got a shot. Auburn will no doubt continue to recruit the GA native hard until he finally makes his decision.
- 4* DT Coynis Miller (Auburn) - Like Hill, there is some concern about how solid a commit Miller is to the Tigers. But he maintains that he’s solid to Auburn and I think as long as Rodney Garner is employed by Auburn he will stick with the Tigers.
- 4* LB Michael Harris (Auburn) - Having already signed, Harris was more of a recruiter than a recruit this week. He spent most of his weekend trying to help recruit teammate Dylan Wonnum. He also spent a lot of time bonding with Auburn commit Matthew Hill who he plans to room with at Auburn.
- 4* WR Anthony Schwartz (Auburn) - Schwartz confirmed that he has officially shut down his recruitment and will not be taking anymore visits. Really excited to see how Auburn uses Schwartz next season.
- 4* RB Shaun Shivers (Auburn) - An early signee, Shivers more than likely was making sure his buddy Schwartz is locked in with Auburn. Both he and Schwartz will run track for the Tigers next year as well.
- 4* OL Jalil Irvin (Auburn) - Harris wasn’t the only signee working on Dylan Wonnum this past weekend. Irvin and Wonnum are longtime buddies and the Auburn signee was no doubt trying to help the Tigers reel in one of the best offensive tackle prospects this cycle.
- 3* ATH Nathaniel Watson (Mississippi State) - This is an interesting recruitment to track. At one point in time, Watson looked like a top target but when Auburn couldn’t get him on board early it seemed the two went different ways. But that could be changing. Auburn is looking at the talented athlete as both a safety and a wide receiver prospect. He still has visits to Mississippi State and Ole Miss left on the docket before making a final decision.
- 3* TE Matt Alaimo - I will be honest, I thought Alaimo might pull the trigger this past weekend. He didn’t but he did leave saying the Tigers are on top. The New Jersey native has become a top target for Auburn as they look to add a pass catching tight end. But the young man is getting a lot of late interest from Texas A&M and UCLA as well. It’s also not 100% certain if Auburn will take a tight end now that they have Joiner on board and limited spots. I still think he ends up a take and in this class, possibly in the very near future.
- 3* S Kolbi Fuqua (Auburn) - The most interesting visitor of Auburn’s commits this past weekend was Fuqua. The longtime AU commit wanted to sign in December but was asked to hold off by the staff so his shoulder could be evaluated by Auburn’s doctors on his official visit. It sounds like his recovery is going well though it’s still not clear if he will be allowed to sign in February or asked to grayshirt. Fuqua sounds hopeful he will sign and honestly I hope he gets the ok. Kid has been loyal through this process and clearly wants to don the orange and blue next season.
- 3* ATH Cam Taylor - Auburn wants at least one more cornerback in this class. Taylor could end up being that option. The talented Montgomery native could play wide receiver, safety or cornerback at the next level. However, it’s worth noting that he’s starting to pick up some interest from other top schools such as Nebraska so Auburn might have to make a decision soon if they want to bring him on board.
- 3* OL Kameron Stutts (Auburn) - Stutts signed with Auburn in December. He’s a guy that I am really excited about in this class. It’s going to take a few years but I think he will develop into an outstanding guard at the next level.
- 3* DB Roger McCreary - It’s looking more and more likely that McCreary will land in this class. He had an outstanding senior season and the Tigers love his speed. Keep an eye on North Carolina State as well who are making a late push for McCreary.
2020 RB Decommits
It came as a surprise about a month ago when Deondre Jackson announced he was committing to the Tigers. However, only a month later the 2020 prospect has decided to step back from his early decision.
In all honesty, that’s probably a good idea. It doesn’t sound like AU was quite ready to accept his commitment this early on and with so much time left in his recruitment he’s got plenty of time to really evaluate his options. He’s a kid that could still ultimately end up in Auburn’s class.