Next week, the majority of Auburn’s 2019 class will officially sign with the Tigers. That means that long recruitments, some starting when a recruit was still in middle school, will finally come to an end and they will officially become apart of the Auburn football program. That also means that the talent pool to pick through to fill out the rest of the class will shrink dramatically come November 22nd. Which makes this last push to signing day incredibly important for this coaching staff as a number of their top targets are expected to make their decisions in the coming days. Close strong now and it means the last few months can instead be spent on a select few recruits in the 2019 class and a focus on the ensuing 2020 recruiting cycle. Falter and it means fighting with other top programs for the remaining few SEC calibre athletes over the next few months.
Official Visit Recap
This past weekend was a big one for the Tigers as they hosted TEN official visitors on campus. Everyone that was expected to be there made the trip which is always good news. Unfortunately, Auburn did not have their new offensive coordinator in place during these visits but despite that fact a number of offensive targets and commitments appear to have left the Plains feeling really good about where things stand.
4* WR George Pickens | 6’3” | 190 lbs | Hoover, AL | Auburn Commit
There were concerns Friday and most of Saturday by Auburn fans that Pickens had skipped out on his official visit. Turns out, he had to take the ACT that morning and drove up in the afternoon. This was a huge visit for the Tigers and Pickens. LSU has made a VERY strong push in recent weeks and other programs such as Alabama, Georgia and Florida State have not given up pursuit. Pickens did not give an interview afterwards but the buzz is much more positive about Auburn’s chances of hanging onto one of the nation’s top prospects. We will see if the Tigers can convince Pickens to go ahead and sign next week but as of today it appears he will wait until February.
4* QB Bo Nix | 6’2” | 207 lbs | Pinson Valley, AL | Auburn Commit
On Friday night, Bo Nix lead his Pinson Valley team to their 2nd straight state title. The next morning, he was back on campus recruiting for the Tigers while he took his official visit. Nix capped off a phenomenal senior year with a strong performance in the state championship. A number of current players and official visitors were on hand to watch Nix’s performance and he left them all impressed. As his campaign manager in DECISION 19 here on this fine website, my man only further proved why he will be Auburn’s starting quarterback in 2019.
What a season. What a journey. What a career. I’ve been blessed beyond measure to play at two great schools with great players and coaches. My mom, dad, and family been absolutely incredible to me and I wouldn’t be here without them. 2x state champ #backtoback #ringme pic.twitter.com/AuY46CGkEe— Bo Nix (@bo_nix10) December 8, 2018
4* CB Maurice Hampton | 6’0” | 205 lbs | Memphis, TN | LSU Commit
Hampton was one of the more intriguing visitors this past weekend. A long time LSU commit, Hampton appears to be evaluating all of his options before making a final decision. What makes his recruitment so fascinating is that he’s an elite baseball prospect as well who would want to play both at the next level, that’s if he doesn’t get drafted before then. I’m not sure if he has decided yet whether he will sign next week or wait until February.
WDE ❓ pic.twitter.com/GAIlK3JIyH— Ⓜ️ (@maurice_hampton) December 11, 2018
4* RB Mark-Antony Richards | 6’1” | 195 lbs | West Palm Beach, FL
With Asa Martin’s transfer, running back has really become a priority for this staff. It’s clear they want two backs in this class and Richards has long been a name near the top of the list. Relationships and the plan they have in place for Richards appear to be the top reasons why the Tigers just might be the team to beat at the moment. Richards is a dynamic athlete who could make an early impact for the Tigers in 2019 if he were to sign with Auburn. The elite athlete does not plan to make a decision until February.
I can’t let them knock me off my pivot...— XXI (@Mark21Richards) December 11, 2018
God sat me down, talk to me I listen #WarEagle pic.twitter.com/5KprIU6Dmf
4* DL Jaren Handy | 6’5” | 278 lbs | Hattiesburg, MS | Auburn Commit
I speculated last week that Auburn might try and convince their top ranked DL commit to go ahead and sign early instead of waiting until February. That appears to have been the case as Handy left the visit saying he’s contemplating ending his recruitment early. Either way, he continues to reiterate he’s locked in with Auburn.
4* DL Charles Moore | 6’4” | 268 lbs | Louisville, MS | Mississippi State Commit
Auburn continues to pursue the longtime Bulldog commit and it sure sounds like they might be making some serious headway. Moore is close friends with Handy and said after his visit that the two still plan to play together at the next level. Now I wouldn’t take that as gospel considering recruits tend to say that all the time but there appears to be more smoke that the Tigers might pull this flip off. Auburn followed up his official visit with an in home visit Monday. Moore plans to wait until February so expect Auburn to keep the heat on up until he signs
4* DL Quashon Fuller | 6’3” | 277 lbs | Lehigh Acres, FL | Florida State Commit
Heading into his official visit, there wasn’t a lot of insight into how good a chance Auburn had with the Florida State commit. Even Fuller admitted after the trip that Auburn hadn’t really been on his radar but his mom pushed him to take the visit. Well that’s definitely changed as Fuller left the Plains very impressed by the Tigers and specifically loved the fact that the defensive line is such an important part of this football team telling AuburnUndercover:
“It was really good,” Fuller said. “This was one of the few schools that you can get a feel that the D-line is the important part of the defense. What made me realize that is how tight the D-line is. Everybody was saying ‘D-line, D-line.’ I’m talking about, these are receivers and quarterbacks that are saying this. Their D-line coach, he has put so many people in the NFL. Every time you look at a highlight real, half of it is the D-line. I just feel like how tight that D-line is, that really speaks volumes.”
Fuller plans to use all his official visits before making his final decision in February. The Tigers appear to have become a very real threat to land the big time defensive lineman out of Florida.
Thank you Auburn family for making my decision harder then it already is . We had a great time and love the atmosphere. Auburns a D-lineman’s dream✨✨ pic.twitter.com/Wyyhhc8EHD— Quashon Fuller (@quashonfuller) December 12, 2018
4* OT Bamidele Olaseni | 6’8” | 330 lbs | London, England | JUCO
I and pretty much every one in the Auburn blogosphere have written ad nauseam about Auburn’s recruiting struggles when it comes to offensive tackles. That’s why the staff is leaving no stone unturned in their pursuit for OL help. Olaseni appears to have become a major target in recent weeks and getting him on campus was big. He left feeling good about the Tigers and their plan for him but wants to take his time before making his commitment. As of now, Auburn and Utah appear to be his top contenders but expect plenty more programs to get into the mix.
Had a great time at Auburn university this weekend @CoachJBGrimes @CoachGusMalzahn @AuburnFootball #WarEagle #WDE #JUCOPRODUCT pic.twitter.com/v2gvFIBv6R— Bamidele Matthew Olaseni (@BamideleOlaseni) December 12, 2018
3* TE Tyler Fromm | 6’5” | 225 lbs | Warner Robins, GA | Auburn Commit
Sadly, Fromm’s bid for a state championship came just short last night as his Warner Robins squad lost in Bainbridge in triple overtime. But the talented tight end had another great visit to the Plains this past weekend and is locked in with the Tigers. He will sign with Auburn next week.
3* WR Ja’Varrius Johnson | 5’9” | 164 lbs | Trussville, AL | Auburn Commit
Some of the biggest news to come out of this weekend was Johnson’s decision to now sign early with Auburn next week. The diminutive but explosive wideout has been courted in recent weeks by the Tide but they have yet to offer. Auburn, meanwhile, has been fighting hard to convince Johnson to go ahead and end his recruitment next week. Getting this kid on board early is huge for this class. Ignore the low rating, this dude is a beast with the ball in his hands.
Important Decision Coming Soon
It’s been over a month since the Tigers last landed a commitment and Auburn is hoping that drought ends at the end of this week. Arguably Auburn’s most important target on the board right now, 4* OG William Putnam is set to make his commitment later this week.
All my visits over... commitment soon— Will Putnam (@BigWillPut) December 10, 2018
This is a three team race between Auburn, Clemson and Florida State. The consensus appears to be that Auburn and Clemson are probably the top two teams and it’s too close to call right now. Both programs are in desperate need for an elite OL in this class. For Auburn, they are hoping the chance at early playing time along with his bond with many of Auburn’s 2019 commitments will be enough to convince the #78 overall player in the country to don the orange and blue next season. It would be a huge victory for this staff and a big pull before early signing day.
Alabama - Mississippi All-Star Game
I will have a more in depth preview this weekend but one of my favorite prep all-star games happens next Monday as some of the top prospects form the state for Alabama and Mississippi face off in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game. The Tigers are expected to have six commitments in action as Bo Nix, George Pickens, Ja’Varrius Johnson and Nehemiah Pritchett will suit up for Team Alabama and face off against Jaren Handy and Jamond Gordon on Team Mississippi. Top targets such as LeDarrius Cox, Charles Moore and Nakobe Dean will also be competing. Most exciting though is that this will be a chance for Auburn fans to get a glimpse of what an AU offense might look like with Nix at the helm and Pickens/Johnson split out wide. Players report today and will practice leading up to Monday.