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Auburn Football Recruiting: All American All-Star Game Previews

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Plenty of Auburn commits and targets are participating in two of the biggest high school all-star games this week.

Student Sports

Recruiting is about to kick back into high gear with official visits getting underway next weekend. But before the sprint to the finish line, many of the top prospects in the country will participate in two of the biggest high school All American All-Star Games this week. Auburn will be well represented in both games and there’s a chance the Tigers could snag two more commitments during the broadcasts as well. Here’s a look at who is playing where and what to watch for this week.

Auburn commits with an asterisk by their name are unsigned.

Under Armor All-American Game

  • When: 6:00 PM EST on Thursday, January 4th
  • Where: Orlando, FL
  • TV: ESPN

Commits

Targets

If you can only watch one of these games then this is probably the game you want to see. It will have the most Auburn commitments in action and the most targets as well. Oh and chances are pretty good Auburn fans will get some good news during the broadcast as Anthony Schwartz plans to make his commitment during the game Thursday night. The speedy wideout will choose between Auburn and Florida with many believing the Tigers are the clear team to beat. I will have more on him and why Auburn fans should be excited if he commits tomorrow. He’s been impressive in practice this week showing that he can do more than just run by people. That’s a big improvement in his game.

Based off reports from practice this week, it’s Auburn quarterback signee Joey Gatewood who is having the best week among Auburn’s commitments. They are VIP articles but 247’s Greg Biggins has been ranking the quarterbacks after each day. Sunday, Gatewood was listed #2, Monday he moved to #1 and yesterday stayed at #1. Overall, the QB crop in Orlando is not as strong as San Antonio. Throw in bad weather and it’s been a recipe for some really bad QB play so far in the Under Armour practices. But the one player that has consistently been praised for looking unfazed in the bad conditions and who has stood out every day is Gatewood. I have a feeling he’s going to have a big game tomorrow night and it should be fun to watch.

As for Auburn’s other three commitments, they’ve each had good and bad days. Quindarious Monday is probably Auburn’s 2nd best performer of the week and was even listed as the fourth best defender after Monday’s practice. Sounds like he took a few steps back Tuesday but overall has impressed scouts with his length and range. I would not be surprised if he was Auburn’s starting free safety at some point in 2018.

Matthew Hill had a rough first day with a bunch of drops but has come back strong. He is getting some work at running back too due to the numbers which shows how versatile a player he can be for the Tigers. Clemson is making a serious push and of Auburn’s unsigned commits, Hill’s the one I would be most concerned about losing. It will come down to whether or not he wants to play wide receiver or safety at the next level.

Finally, Coynis Miller has been up and down this week which shouldn’t be a surprise. The biggest knock on the young man over his high school career has been his consistency (or lack thereof) and some of that has shown in practice. He was a standout day 1 but struggled some day 2. Sounds like he had a better day yesterday and some scouts have remarked that you can see the flashes of big time potential. I think he sees the field as a true freshman in 2018 but it will probably mostly be in mop up duty (ala Big Kat Bryant this past season) as he learns to refine his technique. His ceiling is sky high though and I trust Garner will help him reach it.

US Army All-American Bowl

  • When: 1:00 PM EST on Saturday, January 6th
  • Where: San Antonio. TX
  • TV: NBC

Commits

Targets

Tutt is Auburn’s lone commit participating in the Army All-American Game but he’s a guy I am very excited to see go against a loaded WR core on Team West. Benjamin Wolk over at SECCountry had some great praise for Tutt calling him a “ballplayer”. I haven’t seen his name mentioned much by the national guys and some of that probably has to do with the amount of elite DB talent on hand. It will be fun to see if he can make some plays Saturday as the young man has a chance to see the field early for the Tigers.

There’s a chance Auburn could be receiving a commitment during this game as well. The wild recruitment of Harold Joiner has taken another unexpected turn recently. Long thought to be a lock to LSU, Ed Orgeron’s staff has apparently decided to move on and are giving the #6 overall player in Alabama the cold shoulder.

“They loved me. They were in my house talking about family, staying overtime and then they didn’t answer,” Joiner recalled of the December in-home visits. “They were supposed to call me on the early signing period about what they wanted to do, but they didn’t call. I tried to contact coach Tommie Robinson, but no one answered.”

It sounds like LSU ran out of spots. The Bayou Bengals only have 4 spots left in their recruiting class and it appears they have their sights set on three more DBs and a wide receiver. The Tigers already have two running backs committed and 2019 is loaded with RB talent with at least three highly rated prospects having ties to LSU. You wish though they would have the decency to let the kid know his spot is gone.

But this could end up being a blessing in disguise for both Joiner and Auburn. With Kerryon Johnson declaring for the NFL, it appears Auburn might take a 3rd running back in this class. The name at the top of that list would be Joiner. He’s expected to take an official visit January 12th but there is a possibility he decides to go ahead and commit during the game as that had been his plan for months now. If that’s the case, chances are high it will be to the Auburn Tigers. Definitely a storyline to track later this week.

Richard Jibunor Update

If you didn’t see the news, last week Auburn commit 4* Buck Richard Jibunor was arrested on a DUI. That’s very disappointing news and a bit surprising given how highly regarded the young man seems to be by everyone who knows him. Throw in his early signing period snafu and there might be some doubt about whether or not Auburn will take him in February. Especially since 4* DE Caleb Tannor is back on the market and could play that Buck position as well. However, according to Benjamin Wolk, the Tigers still plan on signing the young man and believe this was an isolated incident. Honestly, I think Jibunor will benefit immensely from the structure a collegiate football program provides. He made a really poor decision that hopefully he learns from and never makes again.

Big Time Official Visits Set

As of today, I believe Auburn is expecting possibly ten top 100 players to take an official visit in the coming weeks. That’s impressive, especially seeing as many of these players are at Auburn’s two main positions of need moving forward: offensive tackle and cornerback. Don’t be surprised if a few of these visits fall through or new names get added but as of this writing, here’s who is expected to take an official visit to Auburn and when.

January 19th

  • 4* OT Richard Gouraige (Florida)
  • 4* WR JaMarr Chase

January 26th

  • 4* WR Justyn Ross
  • 4* LB Quay Walker (Alabama)

February 2nd

  • 4* CB Kelvin Joseph
  • 4* OL William Barnes

Date Not Yet Set

  • 5* OT Nicholas Petit-Frere
  • 4* CB Olaijah Griffin —> either the 19th or the 26th
  • 4* LB JJ Peterson —> sounds like he might not visit anymore
  • 4* WR Matthew Hill (Auburn)

Obviously Auburn will not land all ten of these players but I think the Tigers could snag up to four off this list. The names I would keep a closest eye on are Gouraige, Walker, Joseph and Barnes. I really like Auburn’s chances with Gouraige right now and I think AU could steal Barnes late. Rumors are floating around that the Tigers might hire Walker’s former high school coach Shelton Felton as the 10th assistant which would give the Tigers a boost in that recruitment as well. Joseph is probably the longest shot of the four names I mentioned but if he does end up making the visit that last weekend, Auburn can easily sell him on playing early and he is buddies with Auburn signee Christian Tutt. Will be an interesting one to watch. LSU is probably the clear favorite for him right now.

Also keep an eye on Olaijah Griffin in the coming days. His recruitment has blown up recently after he decommitted from UCLA and made it clear he’s ok with leaving California. He currently has Tennessee as his leader and is intrigued about the idea of playing in the SEC. If the Tigers due in fact get him to visit one of those weekends, I think they have a legitimate shot at snagging the talented defensive back. I still think USC (taking an OV there January 12th) will be the tough one to beat but Auburn, Florida, Michigan, Tennessee along with plenty of others will give it their best shot. Oh and fun fact, he’s the son of rap legend Warren G.

War Eagle!