The final contact period for the 2018 cycle ends Sunday at midnight. That means this weekend is the very last time coaches will be allowed to visit with prospects face to face and for prospects to take official visits to campuses. If a team is gonna make a move on a recruit, now is the time. Auburn has a chance to make some big time moves over the next couple of days.
2018 Official Visitors
This is a fascinating visitor list for the Tigers. Auburn more than likely trails for all three of these prospects right now. There is a very likely scenario where none of these young men sign with the Tigers Wednesday. There’s also the chance Auburn blows them all away and signs them all. We should hopefully have a better understanding of what National Signing Day will look like for the Tigers after this weekend.
All week there was speculation and rumor about whether or not Gouraige would make the trip from Tampa to Auburn this weekend. It appears the coaching staff did enough to convince the young man it was worth giving the Tigers one final look.
Before Herb Hand’s departure, Auburn looked like the team to beat despite Gouraige still being committed to the Gators. But Hand leaving for Texas changed everything. Gouraige cancelled his official visit for that upcoming weekend and instead visited Ole Miss. Auburn’s new offensive line coach, JB Grimes, visited Gouraige the last two weeks and apparently impressed him enough to give Auburn a final shot. Clemson and Florida are considered his top teams but every time Gouraige visits he seems to leave blown away by his experience on the Plains. If Auburn can do that one final time and convince his mom that Auburn isn’t too far away from Tampa, then the Tigers just might pull this thing off. It would be a huge early victory for JB Grimes in his return to Auburn.
I highlighted the craziness that has been Chase’s recruitment earlier this week. Most of the drama has honestly not been Chase’s fault. He was all TCU until NFL Network bumped him and prevented him from committing on national television. Then he was all Florida before Jim McElwain left. He has also had to cancel two Auburn trips due to an injury the night before the Iron Bowl and a death in the family two weeks ago. But despite all of those hiccups Auburn still has a shot at landing the #15 ranked wideout. The Louisiana native will finally make a trip to the Plains this weekend where the Tigers will hope to swipe the big time playmaker away from Ed Orgeron. Yes Auburn already has four talented wide receivers committed but there are some prospects too talented to say no to if they want on board. Chase is absolutely that type of prospect. He’s committed twice previously after visiting a campus for the first time. Can Auburn make it a third and final time? At this point, nothing would surprise me in his recruitment.
Most seem to think that Langham to Alabama is a done deal. I think not so fast... If there is one man that has consistently proven the ability to close on prospects he wants in the final weekend, it’s Rodney Garner. And Auburn REALLY wants Langham now. It hasn’t always been that way though. For most of his recruitment, the Huntsville standout was ignored by both instate programs. But after electing to wait to sign later, a breakout senior season and both programs deciding they wanted to add another defensive tackle in this class, Langham became a top priority for both schools. The Tigers were the last team to offer Langham and that could prove to be fatal. But the big man cancelled a visit to Tennessee to come to Auburn despite the Vols having recruited Langham for a much longer time than the Tigers. Langham also grew up an Auburn fan despite being a distant relative of Alabama legend Antonio Langham. It’s going to take a home run official visit to reel this kid in but I have learned to never doubt Rodney Garner. All eyes in the state of Alabama will be on his announcement Wednesday.
Dylan Wonnum Update
One of Auburn’s top remaining offensive tackle targets is ready to announce his commitment. 4* OT Dylan Wonnum told 247’s Kipp Adams Thursday night that he will announce his commitment on social media Saturday morning. The Georgia native is one of the top remaining uncommitted offensive line prospects in the country. It’s thought to be a three team race between Auburn, South Carolina and Tennessee. The Gamecocks appear to be the overwhelming favorite though Auburn has made this a race since August. It would be a huge coup for this staff if they could steal Wonnum away this morning but as of now it doesn’t appear likely.
While the major focus this weekend will be on the three big time official visitors, Auburn will also be hosting an insane amount of talent in next year’s class. Auburn likes to host a big Junior Day the weekend before National Sigining Day to kind of kick things off for the next cycle. This weekend’s Junior Day visitor list is pretty durn impressive. It’s clear that between Auburn’s 10 win season last year and Gus’s new contract, the Tigers are on a lot more radars earlier in the upcoming cycle than compared to last year.
In an attempt to make this list a bit easier to read, I tried to group prospects in ways that made sense. Chances are high some of these recruits won’t make it to campus and a few surprise visitors will pop up. But this should give you an idea of the type of talent Auburn will have on campus this weekend. This time last year Auburn hosted eventual commits Seth Williams, Asa Martin, Shaun Shiver, Coynis Miler, Matthew Hill and Harold Joiner so this weekend should give you an idea of who is giving Auburn a hard look early. Other visitors of note from last year’s Junior Day include Channing Tindall, Justyn Ross, Jacob Copeland and Malik Langham. Pay attention to who makes the trip.
Both of Auburn’s current commits in the 2019 class are expected on campus. Nix has already assumed the position of head recruiter in this class and I expect he will be on campus often in the coming year to try and convince other top prospects to join him on the Plains.
Not a lot has come out on Pickens since his commitment but from all accounts he’s still solid to the Tigers. He has a chance to be one of the biggest risers in next year’s class.
- 4* ATH Brandon Turnage (Alabama Commit)
- 3* CB Jayden Curry (North Carolina Commit)
- 2020 DL McKinnley Jackson (LSU Commit)
After hosting two Mississippi natives last week, Auburn will host at least four more this week including Alabama commit Brandon Turnage. Turnage is an outstanding athlete that could play DB or WR at the next level.
Curry is part of a large IMG Academy crew that is headed to the Plains this weekend. As SECCountry’s Benjamin Wolk noted, Auburn has made that football factory a priority in the coming year.
Finally, remember the name McKinnley Jackson. He’s a long way off from signing and already committed to LSU but he’s going to be one of the top players in the 2020 class. He’s also another Mississippi kid. I fully expect Jackson to take a number of visits to the Plains over the next two years.
Top 100 Prospects
- 5* LB Owen Pappoe
- 5* CB Derek Stingley
- 5* RB Noah Cain
- 4* DL Nathan Pickering
- 4* RB John Emery
- 4* OT Wanya Morris
- 4* WR Jeremiah Payton
- 4* OT Amari Kight
Last year, the Tigers had three top 100 players visit for the first Junior Day. This year the Tigers have at least NINE expected on campus (when including Bo Nix). Job security and mediocre seasons have been weapons against the Tigers on the recruiting trail the past few cycles. An SEC West title and a shiny new contract can shut that negative recruiting up and make Auburn a more appealing choice for top prospects.
Pappoe has a top 2 of Clemson and Georgia but Auburn is still in this race. He’s close with Travis Williams and has been a frequent visitor to campus. Dude is a monster at linebacker.
A number of Louisiana natives are expected to visit this weekend including Derek Stingley and John Emery. Stingley is a one time LSU commit. Emery is probably my favorite back in this class. Would love to see AU make a move in Louisiana this year.
I talked about Cain in my 2019 preview earlier in the week. There’s a chance he could end up the #1 ranked running back in this class so fact AU is getting him on campus this early is impressive. Last cycle, the Tigers never could get some of the top ranked guys to visit.
More than likely Nathan Pickering will be one of Auburn’s top targets next cycle. He finally landed an offer a few weeks ago and seems very interested in the Tigers. Expect Marcus Woodson to play a major role in this recruitment like he will for most of the Mississippi prospects.
Expect Auburn to make offensive tackle a HUGE priority in the 2019 cycle and both Amari Kight and Wanya Morris will be guys near the top of the list.
Somehow Payton doesn’t yet hold an Auburn offer but that will probably change very soon. He told reporters that one of the reasons he’s intrigued by Auburn is the fact they have Bo Nix committed. He won’t be the last to make similar comments.
- 4* LB Donte Starks
- 4* WR Ramel Keyton
- 4* OG Dontae Lucas
- 4* S Cortez Andrews
- 4* DE Curtis Fann
- 4* OT Michael Tarquin
- 4* RB Ronald Thompkins
- 3* S Jarrian Jones
- 3* CB Warren Burrell
- 3* OT Adrian Medley
- 3* DE Colby Wooden
- LB LaVonta Bentley
- DT DJ Dale
- LB Kalen Deloach
- TE Jackson Lowe
- TE Garmon Randolph
- S Quinton Newsome
Auburn had the #1 ILB in the 2019 class on campus last weekend and now will have the #3 ILB in Starks this weekend. LSU is his current leader and will probably be hard to beat but anytime a prospect visits you got a shot.
Keep an eye on LaVonta Bentley. His recruitment has absolutely blown up recently after transferring to Jackson-Olin last week. His highlight tape is incredibly impressive and I would not be surprised to see him ranked in the top 5 ILBs by the end of this class.
- 4* WR Dannis Jackson
- 4* WR Josh Delgado
- 4* S Trikweze Bridges
- 4* ATH Raymond Woodie III
- 4* S Jalyn Phillips
- 4* CB Reddy Steward
- 4* S Jalyn Phillips
- 3* OG Riley Simonds
- 3* DE Jamin Graham
- 3* RB Jamious Griffin
- 3* DT Patrick Lucas
- 3* CB Jaydon Hill
- 3* QB Peter Parrish
- 3* CB Collin Duncan
- 3* TE Sean Brown
- 3* LB Joko Willis
- 3* WR LaQuez Cain
- CB Rhasaan Christian
- ATH Jadarious Martin
- RB Cal’Von Harris
- ATH Taj Dodson
- LB Jamaal Abrams
- WR Kerrick Teamer
- S Justin Harris
- WR Emil Smith
Jackson is another Mississippi kid who is making the trek to the Plains this weekend. He doesn’t yet hold an offer but that could change very soon. Marcus Woodson has already put in some impressive work early in the Magnolia State.
Bridges, Steward, Graham, Lucas and Hill are all instate kids that could earn offers over the spring and summer. Graham is especially intriguing at 6’6” 218 lbs while Steward is former teammates with Asa Martin. All guys to monitor in the coming months.
Also wanted to mention Jamaal Abrams. He attends Jackson-Olin which has recently produced Auburn commits TD Moultry and Coynis Miller. His new teammate Vonta Bentley already holds an offer and 2020 teammate LB Quandarrious Robinson does as well. Abrams is still waiting on his but considering the interest he’s getting from other top schools, he might not be waiting much longer.
I don’t expect any commitment today but if there was one to pop I think it would actually be in the 2020 class. Auburn has made Robinson an early priority and considering Auburn’s success recruiting Jackson-Olin recently, I would not be super surprised if he jumped on early.
Congrats to whomever made it through this absurdly long article. As you can tell by the amount of words written this is a huge weekend for Auburn recruiting. The Tigers have a chance to close on some big time prospects in the 2018 class while simultaneously kicking off the 2019 cycle with a bang. Should be a fun weekend on the Plains.