It’s been awhile since we’ve talked recruiting but the truth is a ton hasn’t really happened besides a few decommits. I expect in the coming weeks things will pick up a bit. However, this weekend is a big one for the Tigers as they are hosting a number of top targets including one EXTREMELY important official visitor.
Auburn will host two official visitors this weekend. One an Auburn commit, the other a major Auburn target. 4* CB Zion Puckett has basically shut his recruitment down since committing to the Tigers which is a good thing because this man is a beast. The #110 player in the country out of Griffin, GA has done a little of everything for his HS program this fall and will undoubtedly see the field early next season. He has a chance to be an elite cornerback for the Tigers.
The second official visitor is 4* RB Noah Cain. Heading into this fall, I thought Auburn had a good chance at landing the IMG tailback but that they would need two things to happen to pull it off. First, LSU would need to fall flat on their face. Second, Auburn would need to come out strong and hopefully show a powerful enough rushing attack. Both have been fails....
Now it appears very likely the 5’10” 212 running back will end up in Baton Rouge come signing day. However, Auburn will get one final shot at Cain this weekend. He’s been to Auburn a few times this year and his father was at the LSU game. Bo Nix has spent a lot of time recruiting Cain as well and Auburn has sold him hard in the past on Auburn’s impressive RB history. If the Tigers are going to pull this off, it’s going to have to come this weekend. Otherwise, he will more than likely be an opponent over the next 3-4 seasons.
Offensive Line Recruiting
Given Auburn’s struggles up front this season, it feels appropriate to talk about whether or not Auburn has any help on the way. The answer? Maybe...
The Tigers hold two commitments currently from 4* OG Keiondre Jones and 3* OT Justin Osborne. Jones is exactly the type of guy Auburn needs in their interior. A powerful, physical force that isn’t afraid to put a few people on their butts. Osborne is probably a bit more of a developmental project but there’s no denying his athleticism and toughness. He transferred out of IMG Academy before the season started to return home to Texas and had to sit out the first three games of the year. Very interested to see what his senior tape looks like.
Auburn is still hard after plenty of other big names on the OL. It looks like the Tigers would like to sign at a minimum four offensive lineman and more than likely a fifth in the form of a grad transfer. Right now, those final two spots look likely to be filled by interior prospects.
5* C Clay Webb, 4* OG William Putnam, 3* C Kingsley Eguakun and 3* OG Kamaar Bell are the most likely to end up taking those 2 spots. Auburn continues to fight to stay in the race for Webb but many seem to think this is turning into a full on Saban vs Smart battle with Smart possibly having the early edge.
Odds appear better for Putnam right now. He officially visited for the LSU game and sounds like the Tigers might now be the team to beat in that race. However, he still has official visits to take to Florida State and Clemson. If signing day were today, I think he’s a Tiger. But there’s still plenty of time for that to change.
Eguakun is currently a Miami commitment but his pledge is definitely far from solid right now. He took an official visit for the Arkansas game and left really feeling good about the Tigers. He was back on campus in Coral Gables last weekend and told AuburnUndercover’s Keith Niebuhr that his “final decision” would come with soon. Considering the fact he’s currently committed to the Canes, needing to make a final decision is advantageous for the Tigers. However, Miami appears to be feeling much better after his official visit for the Florida State game.
Finally, there’s Kamaar Bell. He’s coming off an official visit from Gainesville, FL and it appears the Gators might have the momentum in his recruitment. He announced via Twitter last night that he will be on the Plains this weekend. I think in a perfect world Bell would sign with Alabama if given the chance but that doesn’t look very likely right now. That means this will probably turn into an Auburn/Florida battle with maybe Ole Miss and Kentucky lurking as threats too. After Putnam and Eguakun make their decisions in the next few weeks I think we will have better clarity into where things stand between Auburn and Bell.
Auburn already has five commitments from prospects that were committed elsewhere and I would not be surprised at all to see a few more join the list. On the flip side (no pun intended), the Tigers have lost two commitments this cycle as well and there’s a chance they could lose some more, especially if this season goes sideways.
We will start with the bad news and finish on the happy side. Right now, I think Auburn fans need to keep a close eye on two prospects: 4* WR George Pickens and 3* DL Jamond Gordon. Pickens will be visiting LSU this weekend which will be 2nd trip this fall while Alabama has really turned up the heat in recent weeks as well. Throw in Auburn’s offensive struggles and it’s easy to see why his commitment might not be all that solid at this time. With that said, don’t discount the solid relationships he has built with Auburn. Chip Lindsey coached his brother in high school, Gus Malzahn signed his brother at Arkansas State, Auburn was one of the first schools to offer him and he’s EXTREMELY close with AU commit Bo Nix. Often times, relationships prove more important in recruiting. I think he sticks but before the season I was like 90% confident. Now I’m like 60%.... It would be really nice if Auburn could rediscover their offense again.
Gordon has already flipped once this cycle. He was originally committed to Ole Miss before Auburn turned up the heat and were able to convince him to join the Tigers. Now, the Rebels are coming back strong. Gordon has already visited Oxford twice this fall and is expected to take an official visit in December. He’s saying all the right things right now but I think he’s one to watch in the coming weeks.
On the other side of things, Auburn has a chance to pull of quite a few important flips. The most likely right now is 3* DT LeDarrius Cox. Despite his current commitment to the Vols, both Auburn and Tennessee people seem to think the Tigers are the team to beat right now. He’s a massive individual at 6’4” 305 lbs and given the fact AU is playing a lot of 3 man fronts these days, he appears to be a clear future nose guard on this defense. I should note too that this is a guy that both Kevin Steele and Rodney Garner REALLY like. I trust those two guys’ opinions on these matters....
Besides Cox and Eguakun, I think the next most likely prospect Auburn could flip is Florida State commit 4* LB Kalen Deloach. The Seminoles’ early struggles have definitely had some effect on his recruitment and Auburn gained a lot of momentum off his official visit for LSU. Obviously, Auburn is not off to the hottest of starts either but they have been better than the Noles. Interested to see if he pops up as an unofficial visitor this weekend or for the A&M game. Also keep an eye on FSU commit 4* DE Curtis Fann. Good chance he will officially visit later this year per AuburnSports.com’s Benjamin Wolk.
Auburn is also firmly in the race for former UGA commit 5* WR Jadon Haselwood. He officially visited Miami this weekend and they are considered the presumptive favorite at this time. But Haselwood left that weekend uncommitted and is expected to take an official to AU at some point this fall. I expect it will be for the A&M game but that’s just a guess. Auburn’s offense isn’t doing them any favors but again relationships are big. He’s very close with Auburn commits Bo Nix and George Pickens plus Auburn WR coach Kodi Burns has done an outstanding job recruiting the young man.
Finally, Auburn continues to pursue Tennessee commit 5* OT Wanya Morris and Florida commit 4* DE/LB Mohammoud Diabate. I don’t think either are likely flip candidates at this time but I wouldn’t be stunned if both officially visited this fall as well. Also would keep an eye on Alabama commit 4* OT Amari Kight, Florida commit 4* LB Tyron Hopper and LSU commit 4* DB Dreshun Miller. All are guys that I could see Auburn making a serious push for in the coming weeks.