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Auburn Football Recruiting: Big Cat Weekend Preview

This year’s Big Cat Weekend visitor list is as loaded as ever.

5* CB Andrew Booth is back on campus this weekend.
Andrew Booth’s Twitter:

Auburn’s biggest recruiting event is finally here. The Tigers will welcome a number of top prospects to campus for a day focused not on scheme or academic fit but instead on relationships with the coaching staff, current players and other prospects. It’s the premier off season recruiting event for the Tigers and typically helps lay the groundwork for some big time commitments down the road. Here’s a look at who is all expected on campus today. Warning, I wrote a lot of words....

Official Visitors

For the first time ever, Auburn will have an official visitor on campus for Big Cat Weekend. With the new recruiting rules that allow for early official visits, I was interested to see how much Auburn would use them and if they did, would they use them during their big recruiting weekends. The Tigers seem very open to hosting official visitors this spring. They did so for Luke Deal and it lead to a commitment. 5* OT Devontae Dobbs, 4* OT Darius Thomas, 4* ATH Jashawn Sheffield and 3* DE Mataio Soli are all expected to officially visit this summer as well.

As for Cross, he’s an interesting prospect to track. He plays for DeMatha Catholic, a high school football powerhouse out of Maryland, but seems open to playing anywhere in the country. He’s already officially visited Florida and has OVs set for Alabama and Florida State as well. I’m a big fan of Cross’s skillset. He’s an outstanding tackler who probably excels more as a run stopper than a deep coverage guy but is talented enough to get the job done if needed on the backend. We should know a lot more about Auburn’s chances of landing the #9 ranked safety after his visit this weekend.

Auburn Commits

Unfortunately, two of Auburn’s top commits will not be at Big Cat Weekend. 4* QB Bo Nix will be in Dallas competing in the Elite 11 this weekend. I would not at all be surprised to see him win that event. 4* CB Jaylin Simpson is reportedly scheduled to take the ACT/SAT this weekend, so is unable to make the trip as well. Both of those are valid reasons for not being there but considering they are two of Auburn’s strongest recruiters, I am sure coaching staff would have liked to have had their help this weekend.

The good news is everyone else is expected on campus this weekend. The Grayson duo, Pappoe and Clark, have been extremely active on the trail for the Tigers and I expect that to continue this weekend. Don’t sleep on Kobe Hudson either as a strong recruiter for the Tigers. He might be two years away from signing but he’s a guy that wanted to jump on board early so he could be the leader of his class.

Getting Pickens back on campus is big. I think he’s solidly committed despite some concerning remarks made to 247 last week but more visits to the Plains should help keep him solid. I’m also interested to hear how active he is as a recruiter this weekend. With Nix not there, it would be a big boost for Auburn to have Pickens step into the role as the alpha recruiter on the offensive side of the ball.

Georgia Commits

The Tigers got whooped by the Dawgs on the trail last cycle losing pretty much every major battle with Kirby Smart. Auburn is striking back with a vengeance in 2019. Auburn scored a huge victory over UGA at the start of last month when they landed Owen Pappoe. Now Auburn is coming back for more. Two of the Dawgs top commitments are expected on campus today for Big Cat Weekend. One of which, Trezman Marshall, arrived yesterday and spent the night.

Auburn went from a school Marshall didn’t even communicate with to a school that looks very capable of flipping him. He visited the Plains two weekends ago and is already back again. He and Owen Pappoe are close and would love to play with each other at the next level. Marshall was at Florida State earlier this week and is expected in Tuscaloosa Sunday. He doesn’t strike me as someone firmly committed.

Haselwood is probably the tougher flip. Both Auburn and Oklahoma are coming hard but the #1 ranked WR has continued to reiterate that he’s firmly committed to the Dawgs. Honestly, I think with his good friend Justin Fields on campus in Athens it will be hard to flip the 5* wideout from UGA. Best chance might come if UGA’s offense struggles on the field or at least doesn’t show much in the passing game. But still, getting both of these guys on campus for a big event is huge news for the Tigers.


One of the major storylines this recruiting cycle for the Tigers has been their focus on the state of Mississippi. In fact, Auburn has offered more prospects from Mississippi (15) this cycle than from Alabama (13). The Tigers offered exactly zero underclassmen from the Magnolia State last year and a total of 14 between 2016-2018. You get the picture, Auburn is coming hard for some top guys in it’s neighbor state.

A big reason for the spike in offers to Mississippi kids is simply due to the fact that the state is loaded with talent this class, especially on the defensive line. The Tigers are expecting four DL from Mississippi on campus this weekend. Jaren Handy arrived Thursday and is staying all the way through Big Cat Weekend while Charles Moore and Derick Hall both arrived last night.

Moore has been committed to Mississippi State since last August but that hasn’t stopped the Tigers from coming hard after him and he’s listening. This will be Moore’s third trip to the Plains this year. He lives close to Starkville and has praised the new staff’s loyalty to him after he suffered an ACL injury last fall so this is going to be a hard flip. But it won’t be impossible and three visits already shows the Tigers are a major contender.

More than likely, Derick Hall is Auburn’s top target at the Buck spot and after watching his highlights you can easily see why. Hall has an impressive 6’4” frame with freaky athleticism and a penchant for pressuring quarterbacks. The Tigers will have to fight off both instate schools to land Hall but right now they might be the team to beat. It should be important to note that Hall says Gus Malzahn is the head coach he’s closest to right now.

The final Magnolia State defensive lineman to watch is recent Ole Miss decommit Jamond Gordon. Not long after telling the Rebels media he was firm with Ole Miss, he decommitted. A big reason why has been his increasing interest in the Tigers. Mississippi State has jumped into the frey since his decommitment so there’s a very good chance that like Hall, this ends up an Auburn/Mississippi State/Ole Miss battle. I don’t expect it to happen but I also would not be shocked if Gordon committed to the Tigers this weekend.

Finally, there are a trio of athletes to watch in Jones, Prince and Mingo. Raydarious Jones is teammates with another top Auburn linebacker target, 5* LB Nakobe Dean. He currently plays QB but the Tigers like him at cornerback. Prince is a guy that has seen his stock rise this spring and is getting a lot of attention from the likes of Auburn, Georgia and Texas A&M. Mingo could play safety or wide receiver at the next level. I’m not really sure where any of the three stand on Auburn’s board or where Auburn sits in their top groups but having all three on campus for this weekend shows both sides are giving each other a hard look.

South Florida

South Florida has always been good to Auburn. Recently it’s produced guys like Ryan Davis, Carlton Davis and Nate Craig-Myers. The Tigers are hoping to keep that pipeline open this recruiting cycle.

The Tigers are hosting two backs from the Sunshine state in Noah Cain and Kenny McIntosh. This will be Cain’s 2nd visit to the Plains this spring and while Auburn is getting a ton of love nationally, the Tigers are very much a top contender. Keith Niebuhr had a very eye opening interview with Cain’s dad on why the Tigers are getting a long look from Noah. This will be McIntosh’s first visit to Auburn. Miami is considered the team to beat but getting him on campus could change things. Either of these guys would be a huge victory for Auburn in this class.

An interesting prospect to watch today is Khris Bogle. He’s an elite pass rusher out of Ft. Lauderdale who is high on Miami and Tennessee. But this will be his first trip to the Plains and if he clicks with Garner, watch out. At this point, I think Bogle and Hall are Auburn’s top Buck targets.

Putnam will be making his 2nd trip to Auburn this spring. He’s everything the Tigers love in guards: athletic, strong and nasty. Auburn is hoping to load up at the OL spot this cycle and already have one man on board in Jakai Clark. Florida State is thought to be the team to beat in this race but the Tigers are making a strong push.

Finally, there are the Pedro Menendez teammtes who recently landed offers from the Tigers, Tye Edwards and Kenny Logan. Edwards has long been on Auburn’s radar. Ignore his low rating, this is a guy that could play either running back or linebacker at the next level at a high level. He’s got quite the list of offers already. Auburn appears to be recruiting his teammate Logan as a safety. He’s another kid whose seen his stock begin to soar this spring.

Louisiana Linebackers

Auburn hasn’t had a ton of success recruiting the state of Louisiana in recent years but they seem to be working hard to change that. The Tigers almost stole 4* WR JaMarr Chase from the Boot last cycle and probably could have signed 3* S Joseph Foucha if they hadn’t loaded up at the safety spot over the summer. But almost and could have doesn’t really cut it in the recruiting world. Auburn’s hoping to close the deal on 1-2 guys this cycle starting with this talented duo.

All signs point to LSU being the landing spot for Donte Starks but if there’s any team that could pull the surprise, it’s Auburn. Like Pappoe, Starks has grown very close with Auburn linebackers coach Travis Williams and previous visits to the Plains apparently eased his parents’ minds on how far away from home Starks would be. Still, this one looks like an uphill battle but getting Starks on campus for the third time this year ain’t a bad sign. T-WILL has already scored one huge out of state victory this recruiting cycle, can he do it again?

Things are murkier with Harris and Auburn. At various points in his recruitment he looked poised to commit to LSU or Alabama but held off. This is his 2nd visit to the Plains this spring. Can Auburn become a factor? We should know more after today’s visit.

Georgia Talent

There’s a very good chance Archer teammates Andrew Booth and Colby Wooden will play with each other at the next level. The question is will that team be Auburn or Clemson? Up until recently, Clemson seemed like the likely answer. Not anymore... Auburn has made a serious push for both and there’s a chance the better looking Tigers might be in the lead for both. Owen Pappoe has played a huge role in that but so has Kevin Steele, Travis Williams and Rodney Garner. Both would like to make their decisions this summer. Could they pop this weekend? Maybe but I don’t think it’s likely. But Auburn could put themselves in a great position to snag both in the couple of months.

Someone who I think might pop this weekend is Keiondre Jones. I believe this will be his 5th trip to Auburn this spring. The Tigers main challenger is Florida where his cousin and former Auburn target, 4* QB Emory Jones, currently plays. But Jones seems to have really clicked with JB Grimes and Auburn commits Jakai Clark and Pappoe are hard after him as well. If there’s a guy that pulls the trigger this weekend I think he’s the most likely.

A guy not getting a ton of buzz in the media but is clearly highly coveted by top schools is Zion Puckett. Auburn, Alabama, Georgia and Ohio State are all coming hard after the talented athlete. Puckett could play wide receiver or cornerback at the next level and I’m not sure Auburn has made a decision where they want him yet. They just know they want him.

Add Kalen Deloach to the impressive linebacker list this weekend. I’m very high on Deloach who reminds me some of Channing Tindall from last year’s class. He’s quick, strong and hits like a truck. South Carolina might currently be the team to beat for Delaoch but Auburn has been a factor for awhile. Big to get him back on campus.


Auburn typically doesn’t host many juniors for Big Cat Weekend. When they do though they are typically elite recruits. That’s the case for both Roydell Williams and Tate Ratledge. There’s a very good chance Williams will be the top ranked player in the state of Alabama next year. The Tide are thought to be the early leader but his recruitment has a long ways to go. Ratledge will no doubt be a top 100 OT in next year’s class. With the Tigers searching hard for top OT talent, expect this guy to be on campus a bunch over the next 2 seasons.

War Eagle!