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Auburn Football Recruiting: 2018 & 2020 Notes

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In recent days, Auburn has landed a top 2020 target, lost a 2018 signee and become the top contender for a former blue chip QB prospect. I thought it was the dead period....

2020 4* Buck Quandarrius Robinson
Quandarrius Robinson’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/QueRobinson23/status/997566111838363648

A lot of has happened recently that has nothing to do with the 2019 class. Now that I have access to my C&M account again (turns out Vox doesn’t know how to turn off 2FA #security) let’s talk about it.

Tigers Land 2020 Pass Rusher

The Jackson-Olin pipeline is alive and well for the Auburn Tigers. In the 2017 class Auburn snagged 4* T.D. Moultry. In the 2018 class, 4* Coynis Miller chose the Tigers over the Tide. It does not appear likely that Auburn will snag either 3* LB Jamaal Abrams (Florida commit) or 4* LB Vonta Bentley (Clemson lean) in the 2019 class but don’t worry things will return to normal in 2020. Yesterday, 4* Quandarrius Robinson announced, via AuburnUndercover’s Keith Niebhur’s Twitter, his plans on being an Auburn Tiger.

This has been a longtime coming for Robinson. He’s been to Auburn 10+ times and has consistently kept the Tigers at the top of his list. Robinson reminds me a little of where 2019 commit George Pickens was at this time in his recruitment. Like Pickens, Robinson doesn’t have a ton of on field production at this point in his career but he oozes athletic potential and is expected to be one of the premier prospects in the state of Alabama in next year’s class. Like Pickens, I expect a breakout junior campaign for Robinson.

Robinson played way out of position last year at safety due to team need. This year, however, he’s expected to line up at defensive end and seems destined for the Buck spot as an Auburn Tiger. Robinson is somewhere between 6’4”-6’5” and 210 lbs. Don’t be surprised if he shows up onto campus in two seasons listed at 6’5” 250 lbs. He’s got a great frame, elite quickness and a TD Moultry like attitude that made him a top priority for Rodney Garner, Travis Williams and the Auburn staff early in his high school career. Unlike Pickens last summer, Robinson already holds a slew of offers from some big time schools such as Alabama, LSU, Florida and South Carolina. Expect this young man to fly up the rankings over the next two years.

It’s obviously early but it’s hard not to be excited about Auburn’s 2020 class already. They have three blue chippers committed already, all three guys that could end up in the top 100. 4* WR Kobe Hudson looks like a potential 5* candidate down the line while 4* DE Andy Boykin fits the mold of versatile DL that Garner has come to covet. Robinson now gives the Tigers an elite pass rusher as well.

For comparisons, Auburn didn’t land their 2nd 2019 commit until January 10th, 2018 when Bo Nix finally jumped on board. Auburn already has THREE top targets committed in July and their junior seasons haven’t even begun. The 2019 class has a chance to be Gus Malzahn’s best but early signs are pointing to the 2020 class giving 2019 a run for their money.

2018 Signee Won’t Make it to Campus

I hate when this happens but it’s sadly not uncommon these days. 4* DE Kayode Oladele was one of the more interesting signee of the 2018 class. He has played exactly one year of high school football but oozes elite potential. The Tigers decided to take a chance on him, made a huge push and landed him just before the early signing period. Unfortunately, we won’t ever get to find out what Rodney Garner could do with him.

Former SECCountry recruiting reporter Benjamin Wolk reported yesterday evening that the Nigerian native will not be enrolling in August and is looking to land somewhere else.

This situation seems eerily similar to Carlito Gonzalez last year. It kept being reported that Gonzalez had work to do but the staff was optimistic he would make it. In the end, he did not do enough to qualify at Auburn but apparently had enough credits to enroll at Memphis. Oladele told AuburnSports.com’s Jeffrey Lee something similar:

“I’m not fully qualified because some of my credits were not counted by the NCAA,” Oladele said. “I’m short of some credits, so I have to take more classes.”

Oladele signed with Auburn over Ole Miss and Tennessee, among others. He was ranked the No. 22 defensive end in the 2018 class.

“I can’t even grayshirt at Auburn,” Oladele said. “I’m parting ways with Auburn and looking for another home to further my education and football career.”

I highly doubt Oladele enrolls anywhere in the SEC but don’t be surprised if he pops up on a roster elsewhere. Florida State is a school I would keep an eye on along with any of the G5 FL schools. It stinks we won’t get a chance to see Oladele wear the orange and blue but I wish the young man the best of luck elsewhere. He’s had some rough luck so far with him missing his senior season due to a visa issue and now not able to enroll at his first school of choice due to some academic issues.

As for Auburn’s other three late enrollees, things are good with Anthony Schwartz and Arryn Siposs. According to AuburnUndercover’s Keith Niebuhr, Siposs is currently on his way to the Plains and is expected to arrive tomorrow. Schwartz, meanwhile, is competing in one of the premier world track events this week where he is considered one of the favorites. Schwartz, despite not running what is considered a great time for him (still REALLY fast), made it through to the semifinals yesterday.

The only question mark remains with Coynis Miller. Obviously, with Oladele not making it in, Auburn REALLY needs their top ranked DL signee to make it to campus. From everything I have seen reported and heard, Auburn is VERY confident he will be on campus this August. Don’t be shocked if Miller ends up the next Nick Coe, late enrollee that redshirts but turns heads in practice and then becomes one of the top DL in the rotation. But until I see his name pop up on the official Auburn football roster, I’m probably gonna sweat a little....

Tigers Adding a 4th QB?

It turns out I might have been wrong a few months ago when I said Auburn was done adding to it’s 2018 roster after landing graduate transfer Jack Driscoll. Cord Sandberg was once 4* QB prospect that held offers from the likes of Auburn, Clemson, LSU and Mississippi State. The Bradenton, FL native committed to Dan Mullen and the Bulldogs but decided to pursue a professional baseball career after being drafted in the 3rd round back in 2013 by the Phillies.

But the baseball dream hasn’t panned out and Sandberg told the Bradenton Herald last week that he plans to return to football.

“I felt it was time to go to college, get an education and at the same time play a little football and pursue that dream,” Sandberg told the Bradenton Herald after six seasons with the Phillies, where he reached as high as Double-A. “... And if for some reason I never start a college football game ever, I can at 28 be like, ‘OK, I gave it all I had to both, but now I have a four-year degree and I can move on with the next part of my life.’”

Auburn appears to be interested. In that same article, Sandberg told the Herald that he already has received a full ride offer from the Tigers while both LSU and Florida have offered him a preferred walk on spot. The Phillies will cover some of his college expenses so a full ride isn’t completely necessary but Sandberg admits that it would be much easier if he was on scholarship.

He wants to enroll in August and given that the only time he will be able to visit is the last week of July, expect his recruitment to be a whirlwind. If he wants to take official visits, which it appears he does, that means he will only have time for two. Chances are very good that one of those will be to Auburn and I suspect the other will be to Florida due to his previous connections with Dan Mullen.

So what does this all mean? Well, I take this as Gus Malzahn learning from some past failures. After Nick Marshall left, Auburn was thrashing in the wind the next two seasons due to poor QB play. Jeremy Johnson did not prove to be the future as hoped while Sean White performed to an adequate but not championship level. The Tigers had only 2 QBs on roster last year and with Jarrett Stidham expected to leave for the NFL after 2018, the Tigers will only have 3 on campus next year with possibly the true freshman of the bunch the most likely to start. As we have all come to learn, not a bad idea to have plenty of insurance at the QB position.

Sandberg (along with former Tiger Mike Blakely) lead his Manatee squad to a state title in 2011. The Florida native is a lefty with great athleticism and throws with some nice touch. Honestly, he reminds me a lot of Nick Fitzgerald watching his tape though Fitzgerald might be faster. Still, Sandberg looks like a good fit for Auburn’s scheme and after a redshirt year in 2018, could be a darkhorse challenger for the 2019 starting spot. The bottom line is it never hurts to have plenty of QB depth, a lesson Malzahn has learned the hard way. We should know by August whether or not he Tigers will in fact have four QBs on roster in 2018

War Eagle!