I apologize for the lack of recruiting updates in recent weeks. A busy work week followed by a trip to visit family in nowhere Oklahoma resulted in the lack of time/availability to write much. I am hoping to return to a more steady weekly pace this week and frankly I need to considering where things are heading for Auburn on the recruiting trail right now.
It was not the most stacked visitor list Auburn has had for it’s spring game but that was by design. Auburn has changed up their recruiting strategy a bit this year trying to get more top prospects on throughout the week for more personal visits and less monster Junior Day weekends when it’s hard to give guys 1 on 1 attention. With that said, Auburn still had a number of important prospects on campus this past weekend for A-Day.
Two of the biggest visitors were a pair of defensive backs from Texas. 4* CB Marcus Banks has been a major target for Auburn cornerbacks coach Marcus Woodson this cycle and Saturday they were able to get him on campus. From the sound of things, the visit went very well. The Houston, TX native told reporters that he plans on setting up an official visit for later this spring with the Tigers. Pulling kids out of Texas isn’t easy but the fact that Auburn will get one of his official visits (he plans to take all 5 this spring) is big. Definitely a storyline to track in the coming weeks.
The other big Texas DB visitor was Texas A&M graduate transfer Nick Harvey. The former top 100 player is looking to finish up his collegiate career and earn a Master’s away from College Station and was on campus for an official visit this past weekend. The Tigers have some question marks around their DB depth heading into 2018 so it makes sense for Auburn to investigate some graduate transfer options if available. If Auburn were to land Harvey, my guess is he would fit in at the Nickel spot in Auburn’s defense though he could really play anywhere. South Carolina is the other program to watch in this race. Judging by a tweet last night, it sounds like his AU visit went really well.
If you haven’t been to Auburn, i encourage everyone to take a visit there! Had a great visit this weekend. I loved every moment of it.— Nick Harvey (@1NickHarvey) April 9, 2018
A name that appears to be moving up Auburn’s recruiting board is 3* DE Colby Wooden. He visited for 3 days this past weekend and appears to be a guy Rodney Garner would love to sign in this class. He currently has a top 5 of Auburn, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia and Tennessee though I think Auburn, Clemson and Tennessee are the main 3 to watch from that group. As I said in the DE preview for the 2019 class, I really like this kid’s skillset and would love to see him don orange and blue next season.
One of the biggest developments Saturday came when Auburn decided to offer ANOTHER Grayson prospect, 3* C Jakai Clark.
There was some buzz he might pull the trigger Saturday but decided to hold off though it sounds like he might not wait long. He is expected to visit again this week and it would not be a shock at all if he decided to commit at that point.
This is big for a number of reasons. First, Clark might not have the flashiest of ratings but he’s a solid interior OL prospect and fits the bill for what JB Grimes likes at the center/guard positions. He plays at one of the best high school programs in the country which means he faces some of the best competition you will find in high school football. He’s a powerful player that not only excels as a run blocker but is a very good pass protector already coming out of high school. I think he would have a chance to challenge for early playing time if he signed with the Tigers.
But it’s also hard to ignore the other big reason landing Clark would be huge for Auburn. He happens to be best friends with 4* OT Wanya Morris. Morris is one of Auburn’s top overall targets regardless of position and is expected to choose between the Auburn Tigers and the Tennessee Volunteers next month. Clark is also close with teammate 5* LB Owen Pappoe, someone Auburn REALLY wants and is locked in a fierce battle with Georgia over. From the sound of things, landing Clark would help Auburn with both of those guys as well, especially Morris. That would be a heck of a package deal to pull off. I do want to reiterate though that I don’t think Clark’s offer is contingent on the Tigers landing those other 2 guys. I believe he’s a take regardless but sure doesn’t hurt he’s connected to those two (along with all those other Grayson kids).
As for those two top targets, it sure sounds like Auburn has made a major move for both. At the start of last week, Auburn was thought to trail for both Morris and Pappoe. That doesn’t appear to be the case anymore after hosting the pair on a 3 day visit last week. Now it sounds like it’s Auburn, not Georgia, is the team to beat for Pappoe and that the Tigers might have at least even things if not pulled ahead of the Vols for Morris. That’s obviously huge news. Both are ranked in the top 50 overall by 247 Composite and early impact talents at positions of need this cycle. Pappoe is also close with major Auburn CB target 4* Andrew Booth. In other words, strap in people recruiting could get wild in a few weeks.
Jashawn Sheffield & Jaylin Simpson
If a trio of Grayson prospects isn’t good enough for ya, how about a pair of top 225 talents from Frederica Academy in Saint Simons Island, GA? 4* athletes Jashawn Sheffield and Jaylin Simpson visited the Plains two weekends ago and left with Auburn on top. Sheffield specifically told reporters Auburn was his #1 school and here’s why per SECCountry’s Benjamin Wolk:
“Right now, visiting Auburn, seeing this, it’s totally different than any other college I’ve ever been. Auburn is No. 1. Just talking to the coaches, 1-on-1 time with them, it wasn’t football all the time. They were talking about after college,” Sheffield said. “It’s great. I love the coaches. I got to spend 1-on-1 time with them. I got to meet the players, see how the coaches coach. They coach their players up very well. They work hard here.”
“It was just the things that the coaches said. It was just — the stuff they said has been different than what everyone else is saying. I just feel like they’re more real,” Simpson said. “They talk about the real stuff, what they want from me in the future. It just sounds about right for me. They just don’t want me to make a decision that I don’t want to make, not force anything. They just told me they really want me, and they’ve got a plan for me and Jashawn.”
Both would probably end up in the secondary if they were to sign with Auburn though Sheffield could see time at WR as well. I should also note that Sheffield is reportedly very good friends with Owen Pappoe as well. Neither Simpson nor Sheffield have set a commit date but it would not be shocking to see both of them commit in the near future. Auburn’s trying real hard to make some major noise in the state of Georgia this cycle.
2020 Commitment Coming Soon?
Continuing the theme of Auburn targeting elite teammates, chances are very good the Tigers will snag their 2nd Troup County stud when 4* WR Kobe Hudson announces his commitment this Friday. He would be the Tigers 2nd 2020 commitment joining his teammate 4* DE Andy Boykin.
It’s hard to get too excited about prospects that still have two years to sign but landing Hudson would be a big deal. He’s an elite prospect at the WR spot and will challenge for 5* status in the 2020 class. Considering the haul Auburn landed in 2018, already having one of the fastest rising prospects in the country committed in 4* George Pickens and possibly snagging the #11 WR in the 2020 class this Friday, I think the whole “Kodi Burns is a mediocre recruiter” thing can be put to rest. Auburn appears poised to continue to building an elite WR core over the coming seasons.