Well we are a day away from the end of another recruiting cycle. This one has been a bit unique with the first every early signing period. Auburn already has 15 prospects signed, sealed and delivered so there’s a little less drama surrounding this year’s National Signing Day. However, it has not made things any clearer. The Tigers head into tomorrow with 23 commitments and 3 spots left to fill. More than likely Auburn will add two more names to the list and keep a spot open in hopes of landing graduate transfer Calvin Anderson. There’s still the possibility that they ask 3* S Kolbi Fuqua to grayshirt which would open a 4th spot but unless some things change drastically over the next 24 hours, I just don’t see that happening.
So here’s a look at the eleven remaining targets, their finalists, when they sign (if available) and my prediction. Just a reminder that I don’t have any #sources or any insider information. I am just a fan that spends way too much of his free time following this stuff so take this as an educated guess. Chances are high I will be wrong but here we go anyway....
Finalists: Auburn, Florida, Nebraska
For awhile, Tannor looked like the surest bet to join the Tigers class but recruiting changes fast. At some point over this past weekend confidence in Auburn signing Tannor cratered and now it appears that he is the least likely prospect to join the class. The trendy pick is Florida but Nebraska is the program to watch in my opinion. I think Frost’s staff pulls off the stunner tomorrow and lands one of the best pass rushing prospects in this class. It appears it’s just not meant to be between Auburn and Tannor.
Finalists: Auburn, Missouri, Nebraska, Troy
“Athlete” is the best way to describe Taylor. A quarterback in college, his future at the next level is more than likely at a different position. It could be on offense as a wide receiver or defense as a defensive back. Nebraska is probably the team to beat right now but if he lands an Auburn offer he will sign with the Tigers. I think come tomorrow Auburn will have an open spot to fill and they will for the third straight year sign an underrated instate prospect on signing day.
Finalists: Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Tennessee
I will be honest, I am not completely sure if Auburn will even have a hat on the table. If they do, I am not completely sure it would increase their chances. There have been multiple times throughout this past year that it has looked like Walker would sign with Auburn but the Tigers could just never get him to pull the trigger. That’s mostly been due to Jeremy Pruitt who is now the head coach at Tennessee. Walker chose Bama over Auburn this past summer in large part due to his relationship with Pruitt. Do not sleep on Georgia in this race but I think at end of the day, Pruitt wins out and flips the prized recruit from his former employer. It would be a huge starting piece for rebuilding that Volunteer defense.
Finalists: Auburn, Mississippi State, Ole Miss
Watson is an Auburn legacy that has popped up periodically on Auburn’s recruiting radar. He’s an interesting prospect who could play a number of positions at the next level including wide receiver, tight end, linebacker or safety. State wants him as a wide receiver which is his preferred position. I think if Auburn didn’t have Josh Marsh already on board, Watson would be a higher priority. But since they do, I think Watson sticks with the Maroon tomorrow.
Prediction: Mississippi State
Finalists: Alabama, Auburn, Clemson
For most of Ross’s recruitment it’s been the out of state Tigers that have been the leader. Clemson’s history of putting wide receivers in the NFL coupled with Ross’s relationship with phenom 5* QB Trevor Lawrence helped push Dabo’s club ahead of the two instate programs early in the cycle. But it’s hard to pull top talent out of the state of Alabama, it’s even harder to pull talent out that Nick Saban really wants. Tua Tagovailoa’s emergence along with some family pressure to stay instate seems to have turned this thing in Alabama’s favor. I think for the tenth time in eleven years the Crimson Tide sign the #1 rated player in the state of Alabama.
Finalists: Auburn, LSU
If Auburn pulls off a major surprise tomorrow, I think this is the guy that does it. Chase has had a wild recruitment that’s included him twice committing to out of state programs after one visit. Auburn rolled out the red carpet this past weekend and Chase is very close with Kodi Burns. But LSU seems supremely confident in hanging onto Chase and Auburn doesn’t have the strongest track record of plucking top talent from Louisiana. I think the Bayou Bengals win out but I would pay attention to this announcement because I would not be shocked if Chase decided to leave the state.
Finalists: Auburn, Georgia, Florida
While Johnson hasn’t had a ton of media attention this recruiting cycle, he sure has had plenty of attention from SEC programs. He’s an intriguing prospect who plays linebacker for his high school program but will more than likely end up on the defensive line at the next level. Where on the defensive line is still a question but there’s no denying this kid’s potential. If the Dawgs had a spot for Johnson he would probably wear red and black next year. Instead, I think Auburn makes a strong late push and swipes the talented playmaker away from the Gators.
Finalists: Alabama, Auburn, Florida
I want so badly to pick Auburn but I just don’t see it happening. It appears Auburn got into this race just too late and even though they made a major move this past weekend, it doesn’t look like it will be enough. Again, I wouldn’t be shocked if he put an Auburn hat on tomorrow but there’s too much Crimson buzz to ignore right now.
Finalists: Auburn, Clemson, Florida
If all things were equal, this would probably be a Tiger battle. Both Auburn and Clemson have recruited the Tampa native hard and he seems to be high on both programs. But both schools are at least 7 hours away from his home while Gainesville is maybe 2. That’s important to Gouraige’s family and something neither Auburn nor Clemson can change. I think Gouraige sticks with his Gators commitment and Auburn strikes out on all their underclass offensive tackle targets.
Finalists: Auburn, UAB
Over this past weekend Daniels committed to UAB but I am including him here because he took an official visit to Auburn. Daniels has a close relationship with Marcus Woodson and that could help him land an offer tomorrow if the Tigers have an extra spot. More than likely, that final decision will come down to Daniels and Cam Taylor. My guess is with Daniels already committing to the Blazers, Taylor is the one that lands it.
As you can tell by my predictions, I don’t have a great feeling that Auburn will close incredibly strong tomorrow. While I think both Cam Taylor and Caleb Johnson are bona fide SEC prospects and guys I think will develop into outstanding football players at the next level, there’s no doubt there are some other names higher on the board. I still think you need to keep a close eye on Ja’Marr Chase, Richard Gouraige and Malik Langham. All three will most likely end up elsewhere but it would not shock me at all if any of them were to put on an Auburn hat tomorrow.
I expect all of Auburn’s current commitments to sign tomorrow without much drama. Overall, I think this is one of Malzahn’s better classes even though it might end up ranked outside the top 10. There were some big misses (most notably at offensive tackle) but there were some really big hits that Auburn needed and got this cycle. We will see how it all unfolds tomorrow and evaluate the carnage Thursday.