Despite what has been a very disappointing season on the field, the Tigers are still very much in position to land Gus Malzhan’s highest ranked class. A lot of that has to do with the great work Auburn did this summer but there are still some pretty big fish out there that if the Tigers can snag could put them close to a top 5 ranking. Obviously all of this could change if something were to happen to Malzahn but assuming the Gus Bus rolls on into 2019, here’s a look at Auburn’s current class, spots left to fill and 25 of their top targets.
- 5* LB Owen Pappoe - One of the foundational pieces to this class, Pappoe looks poised to be an early contributor on the Plains. Expect there to be plenty of noise around his recruitment up until he signs but as long as Travis Williams is employed at Auburn, I expect Pappoe to be a Tiger.
- 4* WR George Pickens - From unnoticed 3* prospect to borderline 5* super star, no recruit has seen their stock climb as high as Pickens. That’s brought plenty of suitors and with Auburn’s offensive struggles, teams like Alabama, LSU and Florida State are all pushing hard for a flip. As of now, I still think he ends up in orange and blue but this race is far from over.
- 4* QB Bo Nix - The leader of this recruiting class, Nix has a chance to step on campus as the most talented QB on the team this spring. Before that he’s hoping to lead his Pinson Valley squad to a 2nd straight state title.
- 4* DL Jaren Handy - Handy has been unblockable at time this year and will have a chance to contribute early next season. Alabama, Florida, Ole Miss and others have not given up the chase just yet. Handy does not plan to sign early either so this battle still has a few more months before being officially over.
- 4* CB Zion Puckett - Don’t be shocked if Puckett is challenging for a starting role next season. This kid is special. The freak athlete out of Griffin, GA has shut his recruitment down and is expected to sign early with the Tigers.
- 4* OG Keiondre Jones - Auburn’s offensive live is in need of some toughness right now and Jones has it in bunches. He’s one of Auburn’s most active recruiters in this class.
- 4* DB Cam’Ron Kelly - The Tigers are adding plenty of talent to this secondary in the 2019 signing class. Kelly will start off at cornerback but I think his future is at safety. Either way, he’s a very talented prospect with the ability to play anywhere in Auburn’s back 5.
- 4* DB Jashawn Sheffield - Sheffield seems at his best inside the box so don’t be surprised if he gets some looks at Star early in his career. The Saint Simons Island, GA native will more than likely enroll early but won’t be an early signee.
- 4* CB Jaylin Simpson - When Jaylin Simpson is your lowest ranked DB recruit then you probably have a strong DB class. Simpson will more than likely start off at cornerback when he arrives next summer. Like his teammate Sheffield, expect Simpson to sign early but not enroll until the summer.
- 3* TE Tyler Fromm - Fromm has spent much of this fall recovering from an injury but should be ready to go just in time for the playoffs. He’s more of a big WR than your prototypical tight end so expect Fromm to see a lot of time split out wide ala Sal Cannella.
- 3* OT Justin Osborne - A former TCU commit, Osborne flipped to the Tigers this summer. He sat out the early part of his season after transferring from IMG back home to Texas. He’s a very athletic prospect who will probably need a year or two in the weight room to build up the strength needed to be an SEC offensive lineman.
- 3* TE Luke Deal - The likely successor to Chandler Cox at the 3-back spot, Deal is an intriguing athlete who can do a little of everything. However, he REALLY excels as a blocker and that will probably lead to early playing time for the South Carolina native. This is a guy that was highly sought after by some big time programs like Ohio State, Michigan, Notre Dame and plenty of others.
- 3* DE/Buck Colby Wooden - Like Big Kat Bryant and Nick Coe, Wooden has the skillset to play either end position in Auburn’s hybrid defensive scheme. It’s a bit laughable this kid is a 3* prospect and I fully expect him to challenge for a spot in the DL rotation next season.
- 3* DL Jamond Gordon - Gordon is the type of hybrid defensive lineman Rodney Garner loves to recruit but the Tigers will have to fight to hang on to him. Auburn flipped him from Ole Miss earlier this summer but he’s been a frequent visitor to Oxford this fall. Garner doesn’t lose many kids though and this is someone he REALLY wants.
- 3* WR Ja’Varrius Johnson - On a team loaded with highly rated Alabama recruits, it’s typically the diminutive Johnson that steals the show. With a similar skillset as Ryan Davis, expect Auburn to find ways to get the ball in his hands early and often. Keep an eye on Alabama, they have not missed the fact this kid has been unstoppable all season long.
Huge game from a different kind of player Ja'Varrius Johnson @varjohnson1 #WarEagle #WDE pic.twitter.com/FznCTIVP2c— Who's Next (@WhosNextHS) October 27, 2018
Spots Left To Fill
- QB: 0
- RB: 1-2
- WR: 0-1
- TE: 0
- OL: 2-3
- DL: 2-3
- LB: 1-2
- DB: 1
- 5* WR Jadon Haselwood - A long time top Auburn target, Haselwood reopened his recruitment last month and the Tigers are expected to be a factor all the way to the finish. Right now, the Hurricanes appear to be in the driver’s seat but Auburn is expected to receive an official visit at some point. I wouldn’t be shocked if he was on campus this weekend.
- 5* OT Wanya Morris (Tennessee Commit) - Barring a shocking coaching change in Knoxville, I don’t see Morris ending up anywhere other than Tennessee. With that said, he might take an official visit to the Plains in December. Auburn will undoubtedly recruit him hard up until he signs his LOI.
- 5* LB Nakobe Dean - Dean has not set foot on Auburn’s campus since early this year but that’s expected to change this weekend. The nation’s #1 ranked ILB will officially visit Auburn for their battle with Texas A&M. Alabama and Georgia are considered the teams to beat but the Tigers are hoping his desire to major in engineering, his relationships with Travis Williams and Marcus Woodson along with chance to see field early will give them a chance to pull the stunner.
- 5* C Clay Webb - One of the more mysterious recruits this cycle, Webb has kept things close to the vest and as a result there are a lot of different opinions on who sits where on his list. For certain, Auburn, Alabama, Georgia and Clemson are all legitimate threats to land the elite center out of Oxford. He will take an official visit to all four programs before making his decision.
- 4* OT Amari Kight (Alabama Commit) - This one’s probably a longshot but I think Kight is a name to monitor over the next couple of months. Alabama is trending for 5* OT Evan Neal and already hold commitments from two other offensive tackles not named Kight. Given Auburn’s need, could the Tigers convince Kight his quicker path to the field is in orange and blue?
- 4* OG William Putnam - Once thought to be a Florida State lock, this race has gotten real interesting. Auburn appears to have pulled ahead after his official visit for LSU but keep an eye on Clemson. He will officially visit there this weekend and a decision could come soon after.
- 4* RB Mark-Antony Richards - Auburn is selling Richards on the idea that he’s the Tigers’ next Kerryon Johnson and it appears he’s listening. With that said, Penn State has picked up some momentum after his official visit there this past weekend. However, Auburn will have a chance to counter this weekend when he takes his official visit to the Plains. Miami can’t be forgotten either in this race.
- 4* LB Trezman Marshall (Georgia Commit) - At one point this summer it seemed a flip might be imminent but Marshall never returned to Auburn’s campus. There are message board rumors his pledge might not be solid but all his actions speak different up to this point. With that said, I would not be surprised to see him take an official visit to Auburn in the coming weeks. He’s extremely close to Owen Pappoe.
- 4* RB Noah Cain - This one seemed like a longshot until last week when 5* RB John Emery decommitted from Georgia. The Louisiana native is now considered a major LSU lean which would give the Bayou Bengals two top ranked backs. That might open the door up for Auburn to swoop in and steal back Cain, a guy that has been near the top of Auburn’s wishlist all year long.
- 4* LB Tyron Hopper (Florida Commit) - My confidence in anything happening in this recruitment is fading as I just haven’t seen Hopper’s name pop up much on any visitor lists. Still, people that would know much more than I (Keith Niebuhr and Benjamin Wolk) continue to say he’s a guy to keep an eye in the coming months.
- 4* WR Jalen Curry - Curry’s recruitment has been all over the place. LSU, Texas A&M, Tennessee and Auburn have all felt like they were close to nabbing his verbal commitment only for nothing to happen. If Auburn decides they absolutely must have a 3rd WR in this class then Curry is a name to watch, otherwise I’m not sure he ends up in orange and blue.
- 4* RB Kenny McIntosh - Like Richards, McIntosh was long thought to be a lock to Miami due to having a brother play there but things have changed. Instead, this is turning into an Auburn/Georgia battle with Oklahoma lurking as well. McIntosh has planned official visits for Auburn/Georgia in two weeks and the Iron Bowl so he will see Auburn in person at least two more times this fall.
- 4* Buck Derick Hall - This recruitment feels a lot like last year’s top Buck target Richard Jibunor’s. Long thought to be an Auburn lean and close to committing only for his recruitment to drag on deep into November. Mississippi State is a team to watch but I still think as of today Hall will be a Tiger.
- 4* LB Kalen Deloach (Florida State) - Fast undersized LB out of Georgia? Ya this sounds like a Travis Williams special. Deloach had Auburn #2 when he committed to the Seminoles in July but due to their struggles this season and Auburn’s dogged pursuit, the Tigers could be close to pulling off an important flip. Don’t be shocked if he’s on campus again this weekend.
- 4* DE/Buck Curtis Fann (Florida State) - Like Deloach, Auburn lost out to Fann earlier this cycle to the Noles. However, Auburn continues to stay in touch and there’s a chance he could officially visit in December. I think he sticks with Florida State but I will never count Rodney Garner out of a race.
- 4* OT Bamidele Olaseni - Offensive tackle recruiting hasn’t gone great this cycle once again and there’s a chance that Auburn turns to the JUCO ranks to fill the void. Olaseni could take an official visit to the Plains at some point but right now Auburn seems like a longshot for the top ranked JUCO OT.
- 4* DB Jammie Robinson - One of the best playmakers in the state of Georgia, Robinson has gotten plenty of attention from SEC programs namely Auburn, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee. The Gamecocks are thought to be the leader but if Auburn or Georgia makes a serious push things could get interesting. Robinson is former high school teammates with Auburn’s Big Kat Bryant and Georgia’s Quay Walker.
- 4* Buck Kuony Deng - Interestingly, Auburn offered the talented JUCO out of VA in early October making some wonder if Auburn either didn’t feel good about Hall or wanted a clear 2nd Buck. Either way, the Tigers will have to play catch up in this race for the 6’6” 235 pass rusher as the Virginia Tech Hokies appear to be in a very good spot for the nation’s 9th ranked JUCO prospect.
- 3* DT LeDarrius Cox (Tennessee Commit) - Auburn and Tennessee folks continue to say that it’s highly likely Cox will be an Auburn Tiger yet he’s still a Vol commit. The longer this one goes on the more you wonder if that will end up the case. It will be interesting to see when he finally makes his official visit to the Plains.
- 3* S Jamal Hill - One of the many options Auburn is looking at for that final DB spot. Hill has made it clear that if Auburn offers he will commit. Given the talent already in this DB class, Auburn can afford to be a bit patient and evaluate all their options.
- 3* OG Kamaar Bell - With the likelihood of Bell landing in Alabama’s class diminishing, this race appears to be turning into an Auburn-Florida battle. The Gators appear to have some momentum at the moment but don’t count the Tigers out of this race just yet. If Auburn misses on any of Clay Webb, William Putnam and Kingsley Eguakun, then expect Bell to become a top priority.
- 3* DB Nehemiah Pritchett - Pritchett is having a breakout senior campaign and it seems more likely by the week he will land in Auburn’s class. But if the Tigers want him they better move fast as the Jackson, AL native has landed offers from Nebraska, Virginia Tech and Indiana in recent weeks. I would not be surprised to see more roll in as well.
- 3* DB Kenny Logan - Logan is the final member of the trio of DB prospects likely to fill the last spot in Auburn’s DB class. He’s a tremendous athlete out of Florida who could play all over the field at the next level. Like Pritchett and Hill, he’s waiting to see what Auburn decides to do.
- 3* OG Kingsley Eguakun (Miami Commit) - While not highly rated, Eguakun is HIGHLY regarded by this Auburn coaching staff and they are putting on a full court press to flip the Jacksonville native. Eguakun took an official visit for the LSU game and since then it seems the Tigers have had the momentum. I would not be shocked if Eguakun landed in Auburn’s 2019 signing class.
- 3* ATH Tye Edwards - A legend on some Auburn message boards, Edwards has put up some video game numbers as a running back this season. However, the majority of P5 schools want him at linebacker, a position he does not wish to play at the next level. That’s lead to a stall in his recruitment as teams further evaluate his ability to play running back at the next level and he waits to see who will make him a priority down the stretch.