For much of 4* LB Trezman Marshall’s recruitment, Auburn was a non factor. The Tigers were never listed among his top teams and he had never took a trip to the Plains despite Auburn’s best efforts. In fact, there was basically zero communication between the two sides for pretty much all of his recruitment. Last month, he announced his commitment to the Georgia Bulldogs over Alabama and Clemson. End of story right?
This past weekend, the #10 ranked player in the state of Georgia made his way to Auburn’s campus for the first time.
What the heck changed? Owen Pappoe is what changed. Auburn’s prized linebacker commit is extremely close with Marshall and the two have always said they wanted to play together at the next level. After committing to the Tigers over the Dawgs at the start of the month, Pappoe promised he would hit the recruiting trail hard for the Tigers in an effort to sign a top class. He wasn’t lying. Auburn’s top rated signee has been working hard behind the scenes helping the Tigers recruit a number of top prospects including 5* CB Andrew Booth, 5* OT Wanya Morris, 4* DE Curtis Fann, 3* DE Colby Wooden and you guessed it, 4* LB Trezman Marshall.
Now this one visit doesn’t all of a sudden mean Auburn is going to flip the nation’s 8th ranked athlete. Marshall appears very solid to the Dawgs and it’s going to take a lot to convince him to sign elsewhere later this year. But this is an important development for the Tigers obviously. Auburn now at least can attempt to recruit the standout defender and possibly secure an official visit down the road. Anything can happen when you can get guys consistently on campus. It also confirms that not only is Pappoe recruiting hard for the Tigers, he’s having an affect. Whether or not Auburn can actually land some of these kids is still to be seen but it’s clear that Pappoe’s commitment has had the major impact on the recruiting trail that the coaching staff had hoped.
Speaking of anything happening if you get on campus a bunch, 5* C Clay Webb was also on campus this past weekend. Many see the talented Oxford native as a lock to the Crimson Tide but don’t write that down in pen just yet. Auburn continues to recruit the state’s top prospect extremely hard and as long as he continues to visit, you gotta think the Tigers have a chance. The good news for Auburn is Webb appears dead set on waiting until later this year to make his commitment. If he were to pull the trigger today it would probably be bad news for the Tigers. But hasn’t and it doesn’t sound like he will either, giving Auburn time to hopefully close the gap between them and the Crimson Tide. Don’t sleep on Georgia either in this recruitment. Sam Pittman just might be the best OL recruiter in the country right now and the Dawgs are coming hard after Webb. This recruitment will be a hotly contested battle between the SEC’s top three programs.
5* Offensive Tackle Will Officially Visit
In last week’s mailbag, someone asked about Auburn’s offensive tackle recruiting. I mentioned that the Tigers were pursuing two prospects from well outside their usual recruiting area but to only really take those recruitments seriously if they did in fact make a return trip to the Plains. Well you can officially move 5* OT Devontae Dobbs into the “Pay Attention to this One” category as the Michigan native has announced his intentions to officially visit Auburn June 8th. 247’s Steve Wiltfong was the first to report the news last week.
This is obviously a big development. Auburn is at best running #4 right now behind Michigan State, Ohio State and USC but it’s also clear he has some real interest in the Tigers. He first visited the Plains as part of a high school tour of the southeast as a freshman and then returned earlier this spring on an unofficial visit. That means his June trip will be his 3rd visit to Auburn and the fact he’s using one of his 5 official visits on the Tigers means he at least wants to give the Tigers a long look.
I still think this will be a tough battle for the Tigers to win but it’s clear Auburn is at least a factor. The Tigers obviously would love to sign two top tackle prospects this class after not signing any underclassmen in the 2018 class. The #10 player in the country would certainly erase the memory of last year’s recruiting misses. We will see where things stand after his June visit.
Luke Deal Commitment
Auburn already has one tight end committed this class in 3* Tyler Fromm. The Tigers are hoping to sign two tight ends this class and would absolutely love for that 2nd one to be 3* Luke Deal. In my 2019 tight end class preview, I mentioned that Deal was my favorite TE target and that hasn’t changed. He’s got day 1 starter potential and a skillset the Tigers have been lacking since CJ Uzomah graduated. This Friday, the Emerald, South Carolina native is expected to announce his commitment. At this time, it appears no one has a really good feel on who he will pick.
For much of Deal’s recruitment, Clemson appeared the team to beat. Once they offered this past spring, most assume he was a lock to join Dabo’s squad. But Auburn, Notre Dame and Michigan have all made strong pushes and after his Auburn official visit on April 27th, the feeling was Clemson had faded and one of those 3 schools would be the pick. But Clemson hasn’t gone away without a fight. The off brand Tigers have hosted the talented tight end prospect on unofficial visits the last two weeks putting them squarely back in the race.
After his official visit to the Plains, there was a feeling Auburn might have moved in to the lead. But April 27th was a long time ago in the recruiting world and with Clemson getting Deal back on campus twice before his decision, I have the unfortunate feeling he’s going to pick his homestate Tigers this Friday. But it does sound like he’s still thinking through his decision and I would not be surprised to see Auburn visit him one more time before his announcement. Deal and Fromm would quickly turn Auburn’s tight end position from a huge question mark into a possible weapon once again next season.
George Pickens is a Beast
When Pickens was first offered by the Tigers last March, he did not hold a rating from any recruiting service. When he committed last July, he had was a lower ranked 4* prospect with a slowly growing offer list. After a breakout junior season and some strong performances on the camp cycle this spring, Pickens has seen his stock rise in a hurry and is now the #95 player in the country according to 247 Composite. There’s a very good chance he could challenge for a 5th star by the end of this recruiting cycle. Saturday during his spring game he showed why schools from all over the country are coming hard after the Auburn commit and why he continues to rise in the rankings.
That ain’t no scrub defense he’s owning either. That’s 2018 Auburn signee Matthew Hill’s alma mater the Brookwood Broncos, a 7A program out of Georgia. What makes Pickens such a special talent is the fact that he’s not only a giant human being at 6’5” 200 lbs but he’s also insanely agile and quick for his size as demonstrated above. Expect every big name school in the country to come hard after the Auburn commit but I think chances are very good come December, Pickens will sign with the Tigers.