We are officially two weeks away from the end of the 2018 recruiting cycle. The Tigers currently hold 22 commitments which means they have only 3 spots left to fill. There is a chance that 3* S Kolbi Fuqua will be asked to take a grayshirt over concerns that his shoulder might not be healed in time for fall practice. If that were to happen, then Auburn would have an extra spot available allowing them to add four more players to the current class.
Let’s take a look at what positions Auburn is attempting to fill and who are the most likely to ink with the Tigers in two weeks time.
- 4* OT Richard Gouraige
- 4* OT Dylan Wonnum
- 4* OL Tank Jenkins
- 3* OL Willie Allen
- Calvin Anderson (Rice graduate transfer)
- Casey Tucker (Stanford graduate transfer)
There is still one glaring hole remaining in this class and it’s at the offensive tackle spot. The Tigers signed two talented interior players in December but are still on the hunt for an answer at offensive tackle. In December, things were starting to look promising. Auburn had made a big move for Gouraige and were gaining ground on 4* OL William Barnes as well. The coaching staff elected to not push for 3* OT Jalen Goss, instead hoping to reel in either or both of Gouraige and Barnes. Auburn’s name was also being mentioned by top graduate transfer prospects Calvin Anderson, Casey Tucker and Kevin Feder (Ohio State).
But things have been trending the wrong way in recent weeks. First, Gouraige was blown away on his Clemson visit, so much so that there is a belief Dabo’s team has taken the lead. Then Herb Hand left for Texas. That caused Gouraige to cancel his expected official visit to the Plains this past weekend and for Barnes to drop Auburn off his list completely. Goss then committed to Florida State and it appeared Texas had cemented themselves as the top team for Anderson after his official visit.
But things might be turning around. JB Grimes first stop after being named Auburn’s new offensive line coach was a trip west to visit Anderson. Gus Malzahn and Chip Lindsey then visited the big man Monday evening and from all accounts blew him away. Now Anderson is expected to take an official visit to Auburn soon and could even make a decision shortly after. Auburn has also entered the picture with junior college prospect Willie Allen. He was once a top target for the Tigers coming out of high school but elected to sign with LSU. Grimes offered Allen on Auburn’s behalf back during Allen’s first recruitment out of high school and if Auburn were to offer again they could probably land the big man. All of a sudden, Auburn appears to have some options at this spot.
Grimes is expected to visit Gouraige at some point this week to hopefully convince the #7 ranked offensive tackle prospect to visit Auburn February 2nd. If Auburn were to land that visit then you have to think the Tigers again have a real shot at stealing away Florida’s prized commit. He will visit Gainesville this weekend so there’s the chance that he shuts things down after that visit which would obviously be bad for Auburn. We should know by the end of this week whether or not Auburn is officially out of this race.
For most of this cycle, cornerback has been the position of greatest mystery. Seems like a name gets removed from the list each week only for a new name to be added. However, I think things are starting to become clear at this spot. While Auburn will continue to work hard to try and secure an official visit from Campbell and Griffin, I think it’s clear that McCreary has become the most likely cornerback target to land in this class. Gus Malzahn and Kevin Steele visited the young man in person yesterday and he still has the Tigers #1. He’s a very raw prospect but there is no denying the kid has ability. His speed especially has coaches impressed. Auburn has done pretty well finding overlooked instate DB talent the past two cycles in guys like Daniel Thomas and Jordyn Peters. McCreary might be the new name to add to the list.
Keep an eye on Foucha. The Louisiana native would probably jump on board if AU gave him the go ahead but it’s not clear if they ever will. Arkansas has now emerged as the team to beat but if Auburn pushes they can probably still land the talented playmaker. I think McCreary will end up being the guy but if not then the most likely name from the list above to land in this class would be Foucha. Who knows, AU might decide to take both if they don’t feel like they are going to make any major splashes elsewhere.
- 3* Matt Alaimo
One of the toughest decisions to still be made by this coaching staff is whether or not to take a tight end prospect. That seemed a certainty a few weeks ago but Harold Joiner’s recent commitment might have changed things. The talented athlete is expected to play a hybrid RB/TE role in Auburn’s offense and might have muddied the waters for Alaimo. The New Jersey native is receiving plenty of interest from Texas A&M and UCLA as well so it’s not like Auburn can sit around and expect Alaimo to still be there on February 7th. They will more than likely have to make a decision soon. It could come down to how Auburn feels about some other top targets and whether or not Fuqua grayshirts.
- 4* LB Quay Walker
- 4* WR Justyn Ross
- 4* WR JaMarr Chase
- 4* DE Caleb Tannor
- 3* DL Malik Langham
- 3* DL Caleb Johnson
- 3* ATH Nathaniel Watson
With only 3-4 spots left and two clear needs it’s going to be interesting to see what decisions Auburn makes on some talented prospects in the final weeks. Auburn has done outstanding at the WR, DL and LB positions this cycle but there are still a few names out there that are probably automatic takes if they want on board. If Auburn is going to make a splash late this cycle then more than likely it will be by landing Justyn Ross or Quay Walker. Neither seem all that likely at this time but both are expected on campus this weekend. I don’t think Auburn is out of the race for either but they need to blow those guys away if they want to land them late.
Auburn might also take a fifth defensive lineman if possible. Tannor and Johnson are both expected to visit this weekend and are currently Florida leans. However, if Auburn were to really push for either I think the Tigers could land them. The question though is whether Auburn has a spot. The most interesting name to track though is Malik Langham. He is one of the hottest names on the recruiting trail and Auburn joined the large line of late offers this past Friday. He supposedly grew up an Auburn fan but Alabama has made him a priority, in part because they missed out on Coynis Miller. Langham already has official visits set to Tennessee and Florida so if the Tigers want to make a late move they will have to convince him to cancel one of those trips. We will see if that happens. If it does, then I like Auburn’s chances. If not, then I expect Langham to don the crimson and white next season.
Each week, I plan on taking a stab at how I think Auburn finishes. I will be honest, this is as unclear a picture as I can remember when it comes to Auburn’s recruiting this close to signing day. More than likely this list will change next week but for now here’s how I see Auburn finishing
- OT Calvin Anderson
- 3* TE Matt Alaimo
- 3* CB Roger McCreary
I have very little confidence in this final list outside of McCreary. This far out, I decided to be a bit bearish on Auburn’s finish. More than likely the above finish would result in Auburn landing just outside the top 10 but at least they will have landed three prospects at the last three positions of need this cycle. We will see where things stand after this weekend in what should be a big visitor list. I will have more on that later this week and might even start talking 2019 with Auburn’s first big junior day fast approaching. A lot going on over these final two weeks and it will be fascinating to watch it all play out.