Summer is typically one of the busiest times of year for Auburn football recruiting and that looks to be continuing in 2018. The Tigers are hoping to build on what was considered one of the strongest Big Cat Weekends to date and add some more top talent to this class over the next couple of months.
Last Friday, Auburn had their first high school camp of the summer. These camps are often times when some of Auburn’s top targets for future classes emerge. At this time last year, George Pickens and Andy Boykin earned offers after strong camp performances. At the time there wasn’t a ton of buzz for either. Now, both are committed and being recruited by every big name in the game. So when a prospect lands an offer at one of these events, you should probably pay attention.
The biggest news of the camp was Johnson’s performance and commitment. His quickness made him a tough matchup for every DB in attendance, including one of the state’s top ranked cornerbacks and a guy I really like in 4* Jaydon Hill. Johnson transferred to Hewitt-Trussville this offseason and is expected to be a key piece in their offensive attack. He had a heck of a debut in their spring game scoring 4 TDs.
A top ranked prospect at Central High School, what could go wrong? Auburn has struck out on recent recruitments of Central alums Markail Benton (Alabama) and Justyn Ross (Clemson). Maybe the third time is a charm for the Tigers in 2020. I have a feeling this kid is going to be a highly wanted man in next year’s class.
As a rising junior, Jernigan already holds offers from Auburn, Florida State and South Carolina. Not a bad start at all for the young man’s recruitment. He was one of the top performers at an MVP Camp in GA earlier this year.
Two of the biggest standouts Friday were twin brothers Blaine and Bryson Green from Allen, TX. Both left with offers and are expected to be big time prospects down the road. Being Texas boys the Tigers are probably longshots to eventually land their signatures but getting in the race early never hurts, as you will see later in this post...
It’s been interesting to see how schools have handled the new rule changes allowing for earlier official visits. Some schools, like Clemson, have refused to host any prospects for early official visits. Other schools, like Oklahoma, have had huge weekends with tons of official visitors. Auburn has fallen somewhere in the middle. It appears the Tigers are taking it on a case by case basis and allowing kids who want to make their decisions early to come visit early but aren’t necessarily pushing the issue. We will see come signing day whose strategy wins out and what teams decide to do in the future.
So with that said, Auburn hosted their 3rd official visitor of the spring this past weekend in 4* OG Keiondre Jones. I obviously am not privy to the Auburn coaching staff’s recruiting board but I have a sneaky suspicion Jones’s name is at or at least somewhere near the top of their offensive lineman column. Jones has been a frequent visitor to the Plains this year. This past official visit was his SIXTH visit since January, so it’s obvious the feelings are mutual. I thought Jones might pop at Big Cat Weekend or even after this visit but he seems to want to take all of his official visits before making a decision this summer.
Safe to say we enjoyed ourselves this weekend pic.twitter.com/zE4S1q54vO— © (@keiondrejones) June 11, 2018
He will be in Gainesville this weekend and the Gators are thought to be one of Auburn’s biggest competitors for the talented guard’s signature. His cousin and former Auburn target, 4* QB Emory Jones, signed with the Gators last cycle. But keep an eye on both Clemson and South Carolina. At one time the Gamecocks were considered his top team though it appears they might have fallen off some in recent months. Clemson, though, remains very much in the race. However, Clemson isn’t doing summer official visits so if Jones wants to commit this summer he might have to do so without taking an OV to one of his top schools. If he sticks with the plan to commit this summer, chances are good Auburn will be the pick.
There was some buzz last night when the Bleacher Report incorrectly took the tweet below to mean 4* WR Jalen Curry had committed to the Tigers.
That was incorrect, Curry was simply letting everyone know he was on his way for his official visit to the Plains. But there’s a chance down the road they are proven right. Auburn was the first program to offer Curry a D1 scholarship and since then he’s always put the Tigers in his top group. But this week Auburn can go from cursory shoutout to legit threat for one of the nation’s top wideouts out of the Lone Star State.
An obvious question though is would Auburn take Curry’s commitment if he wanted to jump on board? After all, this was supposed to be a small WR class yet the Tigers already have two commitments and are hard after 5* Jadon Haselwood and 4* John Dunmore. Would the Tigers really take 4 wideouts? Well I don’t know the answer for sure but I have to think that if 2 of 3 from Curry/Haselwood/Dunmore wanted on board, AU ain’t saying no. But Auburn is long ways from those tough decisions. Texas A&M, Ole Miss and Tennessee are thought to be Curry’s current leaders. Can Auburn make a big push this week? They will try that’s for sure.
Possibly the biggest (both literally and figuratively) visitor this week will be this weekend when 5* OT Devontae Dobbs is expected in town. Dobbs is the #10 overall ranked prospect in the country according to 247’s Composite rankings. This will be Dobbs 3rd trip to the Plains so there’s obviously some interest but pulling one of the best players in the country out of Michigan will be a tough task for the Tigers. Right now, Michigan State and Ohio State are considered the top contenders. This weekend will be Auburn’s best shot at breaking into that top group too. It’s no secret that offensive tackle is one of Auburn’s biggest needs this recruiting class and I am sure the coaching staff makes that clear to the big man this weekend.
Finally, a name to watch this weekend is 4* ATH Jashawn Sheffield. It’s not set in stone but there seems to be some optimism he might take an official visit this weekend. If that does happen and he has a good visit, I would be shocked if he wasn’t an Auburn commit by Monday. Sheffield is a true athlete who could play on offense or defense. More than likely, he would start off at safety for the Tigers but I wouldn’t be surprised if he got the Noah Igbinoghene treatment and was allowed to take some reps at WR as well. He’s an elite talent and one the Tigers want badly.