Typically, the passing of National Signing Day is the final chapter in the previous football season and signals the start of the next campaign with many teams only a few weeks away from the start of spring practice. Lots of coaching staffs get a brief vacation the week following NSD before gearing back up to do it all once again. But that wasn’t the case for Auburn this past weekend. They were very much still on the job of recruiting top talent to the team for 2018 as prized Rice graduate transfer Calvin Anderson took his official visit to the Plains.
God is good. Thank you @AuburnFootball for a great weekend and for giving me the chance to see for myself just what all the Tigers have to offer... and for the record, I did beat coach @CoachGusMalzahn in ping pong pic.twitter.com/ojHi2SYAzB— Calvin Anderson (@THE_CONDA25) February 11, 2018
Auburn struck out big at offensive tackle in the 2018 signing class but the truth is the majority of those prospects would not have seen the field in 2018. Anderson, on the other hand, is a virtual lock to start at left tackle for whichever team he chooses. The big man is one of the most highly sought after graduate transfer recruits this cycle and numbers like these are exactly why.
I feel ecstatic to be considered an elite pass protector by @PFF_College I have worked hard at my craft and can not wait to find a home for one last collegiate season! #Hookem #GoBlue #WarEagle #Boomer #HornedFrogs pic.twitter.com/KRKAz2udUZ— Calvin Anderson (@THE_CONDA25) February 5, 2018
From all reports, it appears the visit this past weekend went really well. The focus was pretty much strictly on football. Anderson has made it clear that he’s looking to use the 2018 season as a way to boost his draft stock for the 2019 NFL Draft. He told SECCountry’s Benjamin Wolk that one of the major highlights of his visit was sitting down with Auburn’s offensive line coach J.B. Grimes and studying film.
But it was the film sessions with offensive line coach J.B. Grimes that left the biggest impression on Anderson.
“I was happy about that, I think, the most. We sat for almost an hour and a half yesterday just talking football. Just talking fundamentals, what he saw on film, what he thinks he can help me with specifically, and that’s the stuff I really wanted to get into,” Anderson said. “All the aesthetic is great, but at the end of the day, it comes down to football. I was happy to sit down with him and talk specifically about, hey, what can we get better at? What can we do in this seven-month time?”
Before his visit this weekend, Anderson told Sports Illustrated that Texas and Michigan were his top two with Auburn in a close 3rd. It’s not a coincidence those two programs had already hosted him on an official visit. Now Auburn appears to have joined that top tier.
If this is truly a football decision then I really like Auburn’s chances. The Tigers have a clear need at offensive tackle and Anderson would get a chance to play in the country’s best conference on a team expected to compete for an SEC title. That’s the type of exposure that can help improve your stock.
However, these things are rarely just football decisions. Anderson has family in Austin, TX and the Longhorns just recently hired away the man that was recruiting him hardest for Auburn just a few weeks ago. For these reasons, many believe Texas will be the team to beat. I also think if he takes a visit to Oklahoma then the Sooners could become a major threat as well. There’s also the possibility of Texas A&M making a late run as they offered Anderson last week.
Bottom line, Auburn is facing some stiff competition for the nation’s top graduate transfer. But make no mistake, the Tigers are very much in this race and it would not be a surprise at all if he chose Auburn. Considering the question marks surrounding Auburn’s offensive tackle situation heading into next season, landing Anderson would be a huge boost for this offensive line. It would give guys like Calvin Ashley and Prince Sammons more time to develop while also adding a talented veteran to a group that currently has no seniors listed.
Anderson’s decision could come at any time but is expected no later than his birthday on March 25th. If I had to make a prediction right now, I probably lean Texas but I do honestly believe Auburn is right there. If he decides to announce soon I think that would be a very positive sign for the Tigers. This is definitely a recruitment to monitor over the next month.