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Auburn Football Recruiting: Early Signing Day Preview

Auburn will look to officially sign the majority of their class tomorrow and hope to add a few more key pieces.

4* Buck Derick Hall
Derick Hall’s Twitter:

Tomorrow some big time recruitments will come to an end. The early signing day, debuting just last year, starts tomorrow so prospects in the 2019 class will have three days where they can sign a National Letter of Intent with their University of choice if they so choose.

Auburn is expecting the majority of their class to officially join the program tomorrow. Here’s a list of who is expected to sign early for the Tigers:

4* WR George Pickens, 4* DL Jaren Handy and 3* DL Jamond Gordon are all expected to wait until February to sign. The most interesting name to track will be 4* DB Jashawn Sheffield who appears to have not given a firm confirmation that he will sign this week. South Carolina is reportedly making a strong push to have the talented athlete postpone and take his official visit in January. I suspect he ends up joining his HS teammate Simpson and signs early but it’s definitely something to watch over the next few days.

As for the the three firm not early signers, I think you obviously have to have some concerns that they aren’t shutting down their recruitments. All three are being pushed hard by some stiff competition and it would sure make Auburn’s life much easier if they just went ahead and ended things. But it doesn’t also mean that these three are going to flip. Last cycle, Coynis Miller, Matthew Hill, Richard Jibunor and Kolbi Fuqua all did not sign early yet still ended up in the class. We will see if the Tigers can do it again. For my money, Gordon is the name to keep the closest eye on. Ole Miss will get his final official visit and they are making things very interesting in his recruitment.

But Auburn is also hoping for a few “booms” tomorrow as well. A few of their top targets are expected to announce their commitments and I expect the Tigers to land a few. According to AuburnUndercover, these are the top Auburn targets expected to make their final decisions this week. I took a shot at guessing each of their decisions.

4* OG William Putnam | 6’4” | 280 lbs | Tampa, FL | TBD

Since sending out this tweet, it’s been basically radio silence from Putnam’s camp when it comes to his recruitment.

He had told reporters that he expected to make his decision by the end of this past weekend but that obviously was not the case. What does it mean? No one seems to know. That’s probably because Putnam doesn’t truly know thus the lack of public commitment just yet. This is a true 3 team race between Auburn, Clemson and Florida State. All three have reasons to feel good but also reasons to doubt. Heading into the weekend there was a ton of Clemson buzz, that turned into FSU buzz by Sunday night. Might it become Auburn buzz when it matters most Wednesday? Man I wish but I don’t think that will be the case. Instead, I think relationships win out and Putnam has said over and over that he’s closest to FSU’s OL coach. I’m guessing that proves the difference tomorrow (or maybe today) and Auburn misses on ANOTHER top 100 OL target.

Prediction: Florida State

4* Buck Derick Hall | 6’4” | 216 lbs | Gulfport, MS | 8:00 AM CT

Auburn is hoping to start the day off with a bang tomorrow. Back in July, it was thought that Auburn was closing in on Hall’s commitment but it never came. Since then, Mississippi State, Florida, Ole Miss and Florida State have all made serious pushes. However, every single time Hall left a visit from any of those campuses he continued to state that the Tigers were the team to beat. Mississippi State insiders seem to think it’s down to Auburn/Mississippi State. Ole Miss people seem to think it’s Auburn/Ole Miss. Florida State people seem to think they might have the best shot against Auburn. Typically, when one program is the consistent finalist among #sources, that’s the team that ends up being the pick. I think Hall’s close relationship with Gus Malzahn seals the deal for the Tigers and Wednesday starts off right.

Prediction: Auburn

4* RB Noah Cain | 5’10” | 212 lbs | Bradenton, FL | 10:30 AM CT

Cain has long been at the top of Auburn’s RB wishlist and the Tigers have pursued the talented back all the way up until the final days of his recruitment. But barring a sudden change in the winds, it appears highly unlikely Cain ends up in orange and blue next season. It was a wild ride for this young man. Once the #1 ranked RB in the class, he’s fallen to #7 and his teammate 5* Trey Sanders has emerged as #1. It seemed he was on the verge of committing to LSU until they were able to flip 5* RB John Emery away from UGA. It appears Penn State is the team that has made the most of this opportunity and they will be getting a good one in Cain.

Prediction: Penn State

5* LB Nakobe Dean | 6’0” | 220 lbs | Horn Lake, MS | 1:20 PM CT ESPNU

Auburn will be nothing more than a hat on the table tomorrow for Dean, if they even make the cut. The Tigers just never could seem to get much of a toe hold in the talented backer’s recruitment. He visited early in the spring then never made it to campus again until his official visit in early November. Alabama and Georgia appear to be the top contenders though Ole Miss is a scary darkhorse to watch. There are some big time BAMA/UGA showdowns tomorrow that will decide who gets the top class. I personally think the Dawgs get the better of the Tide in this one.

Prediction: Georgia

3* RB DJ Williams | 5’11” | 210 lbs | Sebring, FL | 2:30 PM CT

This has been a wild recruitment. The one time Appalachian State commit landed an Auburn offer on November 8th after the staff got their hands on his senior tape. That changed everything for the former 2* prospect. Offers came pouring in with Tennessee, Miami, Texas, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Michigan, Georgia and Clemson all jumping into the mix. All of a sudden, Williams had become a hot commodity. He smartly took all his official visits and has trimmed his list down to three: Auburn, Alabama and Georgia. Not bad for a former 2* eh? The Tigers sit in the best position having jumped into his recruitment the earliest. The Tide haven’t actually offered Williams but that could change if they were to miss on 5* RB Trey Sanders. The nation’s top ranked RB will decide between Alabama and Georgia roughly an hour before Williams. The loser of that battle will then turn the heat on to extraordinary levels for Williams. But I think the fact that Williams is Auburn’s Plan A makes the difference.

Prediction: Auburn

4* LB Kalen Deloach | 6’0” | 206 lbs | Savannah, GA | TBD

The Tigers finished #2 for Deloach back in late July when he committed to the Noles. But early this fall it appears there were some cracks opening in his recruitment. The Tigers hosted Deloach on an official visit for the LSU game and there was some buzz on his departure that Auburn had a real shot at pulling off the flip. Then he took an official to Michigan and all of a sudden the Wolverines became the hot team. However, FSU wisely had the last OV and appears to have locked the defensive stud back down. He will announce his final decision tomorrow and the odds appear to be very high it will the Seminoles.

Prediction: Florida State

OT Tommy Kennedy | 6’4” | 285 lbs | Lake Bluff, IL | TBD

Maybe the most intriguing announcement of the day will come from Butler graduate transfer Tommy Kennedy. Kennedy has spent the past four years playing in the Pioneer League but now the rising redshirt senior is looking to make the jump to Power 5 in hopes of proving himself NFL worthy. He’s got an impressive offer list including Auburn, Miami, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and plenty of others. The Tigers were the last to offer doing so Sunday night when Kennedy took a surprise trip after his Miami official visit to the Plains.

Why the delay? Well Kennedy has only one year of eligibility and Auburn should have two returning seniors at offensive tackle. However, there’s smoke that Prince Tega Wanogho might be seriously contemplating making the jump to the NFL and reports are Calvin Ashley is still not back with the team. That makes a very scary OT depth chart heading into 2019 especially given the struggles on the trail when it comes to signing quality underclassmen. So Auburn is hoping to make a strong late push and land another talented grad transfer to hopefully step in and save this offensive line next season. However, I think the Canes are gonna be tough to beat in this one. They were the first to offer Kennedy and received his last official visit. Just hard for me to see Auburn pulling this one off.

Prediction: Miami