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Auburn Football Recruiting: 1 Week to Signing Day

Here’s where things stand a week out from signing day.

4* DL Malik Langham with Gus Malzahn
Malik Langham’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/malik_langham/status/956332970624933889

We are just seven days away from the end of another recruiting cycle. You would think with such a limited number of spots left and such a short amount of time until National Signing Day that there wouldn’t be a ton of questions remaining for Auburn. You would think wrong. There is still a lot of mystery surrounding how Auburn will finish this class. Will Auburn ask Kolbi Fuqua to redshirt? Can Auburn make a big splash late? Will the Tigers find an offensive tackle? Who is actually a take right now and who isn’t?

Over this past weekend, Keith Niebuhr of AuburnUndercover reported that Auburn actually has 26 spots available in this class without Fuqua grayshirting. More than likely this stems from Carlito Gonzalez signing with Auburn last season only to enroll at Memphis. That’s a guess on my part but it’s the best I got. So with 26 being the actual number the Tigers have 3 spots left despite Roger McCreary’s recent commitment. If Fuqua were to grayshirt the Tigers could add four more. Here’s a look at the remaining targets on the board.

Offensive Tackle

Auburn is trying hard to sign an offensive tackle this cycle but it’s not looking great. As of this writing, there have been no reports of Gouraige taking an official visit to the Plains this weekend. I am sure the staff is working hard to convince the Tampa native to make the final trip but it might end up that losing Herb Hand was too much to overcome in his recruitment.

Then there is Dylan Wonnum. The Tigers have hung around in his recruitment and Gus visited the Wonnum home Monday night. That’s a positive sign from the standpoint that Auburn still thinks it has a enough of a shot that it’s worth Gus’s time to visit. But all the tealeaves still read South Carolina and I just don’t see that changing in the final week.

That leaves Rice graduate transfer Calvin Anderson. At this moment, he’s probably Auburn’s best shot at signing an offensive tackle this class. He seems enamored by the idea of playing in the SEC and is expected to officially visit either this weekend or the next. If you haven’t already, definitely check out Benjamin Wolk’s article over at SECCountry profiling the highly coveted transfer. The more you read about this kid the more you will want him and I think Auburn has a real shot. Texas is more than likely the favorite but if the Tigers can nail his official visit they might be able to pull this thing off.

Defensive Line

Back in the spring, Rodney Garner told reporters his dream was to sign six defensive lineman in this class. For much of this cycle that has seemed unlikely but not anymore. Auburn hosted Caleb Tannor and Caleb Johnson on official visits this past weekend and from all appearances those visits appear to have gone well. The question is who has a spot and who doesn’t. More than likely, Auburn will split the Calebs with Florida. As of now, it seems likely the Tigers will snag Tannor and the Gators will land Johnson. Both sides would be happy with that result. But I also wouldn’t be surprised to see both land in either class. It’s going to be a battle over the next seven days.

Then there’s the curious case of Malik Langham. For most of this cycle, Langham was an overlooked prospect who probably would have signed with Vanderbilt if he had elected to ink early. But he held off and has turned into possibly the hottest prospect in the country. He’s racked up a slew of offers in the final weeks but none later than Auburn’s. Many thought it was too late but the big man cancelled his official visit to Tennessee and will now head to the Plains this weekend. The Tide hold a commanding lead in his recruitment but the admitted Auburn fan wants to give the Tigers a good look before making a final decision. There aren’t many coaches in the country better at closing on players in the final weekend than Rodney Garner. This recruitment is gonna be a wild ride to the finish.

Best Available

If Auburn is hoping to make a major splash on National Signing Day then they will more than likely have to land one of those first three names. Right now, that looks highly unlikely. Both Ross and Walker visited this past weekend and while reports are they enjoyed their time, I am not sure it will be enough to land either. Malzahn will visit both this week in hopes of making a final push but as of today, I would expect both to sign elsewhere.

That leaves JaMarr Chase who has had one of the more weird recruitments this cycle. First, he committed to Kansas last February during a wild day for the Jayhawks that consisted of SIX commitments with most coming from Louisiana natives. Chase would be the first of many from that day to back off that commitment announcing just eight days later he was decommitting. Then came a crazy moment in July when Chase was expected to announce his commitment to TCU on the NFL Network only to be bumped by the surprise commitment of Greg Emerson to Tennessee. That unfortunate event caused Chase to take a step back and reevaluate his decision. But then a few weeks later after being blown away by a visit to Gainesville, Chase committed to the Gators. He stuck with Florida until the insanity that was the Jim McElwain fiasco went down resulting in a number of decommitments including Chase. Get all that?

Now Chase is considered a heavy favorite to LSU. He was miffed early in his recruitment process when the Bayou Bengals didn’t make him a priority but the recent promotion of Steve Ensminger and hiring of Jerry Sullivan seems to have turned things around for Ed O’s staff. All they have to do is survive an official visit to the Plains. However, the fact that Chase has Auburn in his top 2 despite never having visited (two previous visits were cancelled due to things outside Chase and Auburn’s control) should have Auburn fans feeling a little hopeful that there’s a chance. Credit Kodi Burns for having built and maintained a strong relationship with the Louisiana native and if he can finally get him on campus then anything could happen. This dude is an elite playmaker at wide receiver so even though Auburn has four talented recruits committed, they would take Chase in a heartbeat.

As for the final three names, more than likely they are guys that could have an opportunity to jump on board on National Signing Day if Auburn can’t land some other prospects. That really says something about Auburn’s recruiting this cycle when you have three talented prospects like Watson, Foucha and Daniels hoping for a spot. My guess is Daniels is the most likely of the names above to end up in Auburn’s class next week.

Predictions

So last week I nailed my McCreary prediction but literally an hour after publishing that article news dropped that Matt Alaimo was probably a no go. We will just say I am batting .500 right now. Here’s my latest guess at how Auburn’s class finishes. Remember the Tigers can supposedly take 26 if they don’t grayshirt Fuqua. My prediction is under the assumption Fuqua signs next week.

  • Calvin Anderson
  • Caleb Tannor
  • Malik Langham

I would not be surprised if Auburn ended up with 0 offensive tackles in this class. That’s just how things have gone but I want to believe Auburn can at least find one and Anderson looks like the best bet. Chip Lindsey and JB Grimes are expected to visit the talented transfer tonight. We should probably hear soon whether or not Anderson will visit this weekend or the next. I am banking on Auburn nailing the visit and selling Anderson on being a left tackle in the SEC.

I feel very confident in Tannor landing in this Auburn class. The Tigers missed on him the first time around, I don’t see that happening twice. It could get interesting if he were to take an official visit to Florida State or Miami this weekend but my guess is he doesn’t and signs with Auburn next Wednesday. This dude was built to play the Buck position.

Finally, I am going to boldly predict Auburn steals another instate defensive tackle from Saban’s clutches. Alabama is the clear leader for Langham and considering how late Auburn got in this race it’s hard to see the Tigers making up all that ground in such a short period of time. But the fact things have moved this fast to the point where Langham cancelled an official visit to a school that has been recruiting him for awhile in Tennessee makes it hard to completely count out Auburn. Also, if there is a coach that has earned my trust for finishing strong it’s Rodney Garner. I think Garner gets it done and the Tigers for the first time since 2011 sign more top 10 Alabama prospects than the Tide.

War Eagle!