Wednesday we took a look at Auburn’s top targets on the defensive side of the ball. Now it’s time to talk offense.
Quarterback - 1/1
Barring a meteor strike or some sort of scandal resulting in the ouster of Gus Malzahn, Auburn is pretty much set at quarterback. 4* Bo Nix was a must get for the staff and they got him. I thought maybe AU would consider taking a 2nd developmental player to ensure they had 4 QBs on roster but they settled that matter by landing Cord Sandberg. The focus is now on the 2020 class (keep an eye on Robby Ashford).
Other Names to Watch: N/A
Running Back - 0/1
After signing a 3 running back class in 2018 and there being 0 senior tailbacks currently on the roster (well no senior scholarship tailbacks at least), Auburn isn’t looking for quantity but quality in this year’s class. They want one, preferably, elite back to add to the mix in 2019.
- 4* Noah Cain - There is zero debate around who is the #1 name on Auburn’s RB board right now, it’s Noah Cain. Multiple RB targets have stated Auburn will await to hear Cain’s choice before moving on. The 5’11” 210 physical tailback recently dropped a top 6 with many believing the LSU Tigers are the team to beat at the moment. In fact, Auburn isn’t getting a lot of love nationally as being a real contender. But Auburn’s coaching staff very much believes they are in this race and are hoping a strong start on the field helps them close this deal. Circle that September 15th matchup vs LSU. Auburn is not only going to want some revenge from last year but they are gonna wanna show Cain which of these SEC West Tiger teams he’s gonna wanna suit up for next season.
- 4* Mark-Antony Richards - While Cain appears to be Auburn’s top choice, the Tigers would take Richards in a heartbeat. The do it all athlete out of West Palm Beach, FL has been to campus a few times this year and is expected back for an official visit this fall. His brother, Ahmmon Richards, is a star WR for the Miami Hurricanes but at one point was a top AU target. So Richards and his family are very familiar with Auburn and Gus Malzahn. However, the fact that his brother is a Cane coupled with his frequent visits to Coral Gables has many believing he will land at Miami. But he’s giving Auburn a hard look, especially because they want him at his preferred position of running back instead of defensive back like Miami. The coaching staff has compared Richards to recent 2nd round draft pick Kerryon Johnson making him a clear priority in this class.
- 4* Kenny McIntosh - McIntosh is another Auburn/Miami battle on the trail this year. A physical force with the ball, the 6’0” 205 bruiser visited for Big Cat Weekend and left feeling good about the Tigers. Auburn is expected to have him back on campus at some point this fall for an official visit. However, I think it’s going to be very difficult to pry him away from Mark Richt.
- 3* Tye Edwards - Edwards has become almost a cult hero on some Auburn message boards. He’s a fantastic athlete that could play on either side of the football but he’s been adamant he wants to tote the rock at the next level. Unfortunately for him, not many programs, including Auburn, want him at tailback. Many see him as a linebacker so for now he’s being patient while hoping to impress teams with a strong senior campaign. If Auburn misses on some other targets or Edwards has a change of heart, I could see him landing in this class. He’s definitely a name to track over the next few months.
- 3* Tahj Gary - There’s some Mike Dyer to Tahj Gary’s game. At only 5’9” but 205 lbs, he’s built like a small tank and has no fear running between the tackles. Auburn has reportedly been very clear with him that they wanna see what Cain decides to do this fall before moving on. However, if AU is not the pick for Cain, then expect Auburn to make a strong push for this talented tailback out of Woodward Academy. As of today, I think he’s the most likely tailback to be signed by the Tigers in this class.
Other Names to Watch: 4* Steele Chambers (Ohio State), 4* Derrian Brown, 4* Ronald Thompkins (Nebraska), 3* Jamious Griffin (NC State), 3* Jamontez Woods
Wide Receiver - 2/3
Auburn signed an elite WR class last recruiting cycle and that already seems to be paying off on the field this fall camp. But Auburn appears to be in line to add another elite class right behind it. The Tigers already hold a commitment from one of the premier WR prospects in the country, 4* George Pickens. They also have a guy I think is about to have a monster senior campaign in 3* Ja’Varrius Johnson who looks like Auburn’s future replacement for Ryan Davis. Auburn doesn’t have to sign anymore wideouts but there are two they would really like too if possible.
- 5* Jadon Haselwood (Georgia) - This will undoubtedly be one of the major storylines this fall. The nation’s #3 ranked player has long been committed to the Dawgs but he’s not been shy about visiting other campuses. Auburn and Miami have emerged as real threats to steal Haselwood away from Kirby Smart but it won’t be easy. The young man has been clear that he’s all Dawg for the moment but he wants to see their offense throw it around a bit more. If they do, I don’t see him flipping. However, if they continue to pound opponents into submission with limited passing attempts, don’t be surprised if the flip rumors grow louder. Haselwood is close with Auburn WR coach Kodi Burns and Auburn commits Bo Nix and George Pickens.
- 4* Jalen Curry - If Curry could have made Auburn’s picnic event two weekends ago, he’d probably be on Auburn’s commit list. But it ain’t a quick trip from Houston, TX to Auburn, AL and the talented wideout couldn’t make it. But Auburn continues to be his top school with Tennessee a strong #2. The fear though with Curry is he tends to trend to the team he’s most recently officially visited. For now, that’s Auburn but if he shows up somewhere else this fall, don’t be surprised if all of a sudden a new team is #1. Auburn would love to lock Curry down soon if possible.
Other Names to Watch: 4* John Dunmore (Penn State), 4* Ramel Keyton (Tennessee), 3* Kenyon Jackson (Texas A&M)
Tight End - 2/2
So this is weird... Auburn’s actually done at the tight end position this cycle thanks to holding commitments from two of their top targets: 4* Tyler Fromm and 3* Luke Deal. I know the tight end position has been a place of frustration/drama/irritation/all the feelings for Auburn fans so it might be hard to get too excited right now. But just to be clear, this is an outstanding TE class Auburn is bringing in next season. There will be no excuse not to get some production from that spot in the very near future.
Other Names to Watch: N/A
Offensive Line - 3/5
Once again the same story is unfolding for the Tigers’ offensive line recruiting efforts. A plethora of talented interior prospects and some struggles at offensive tackle. The Tigers hold three offensive line commitments this class in 4* OG Keiondre Jones, 3* OT Justin Osborne and 3* C Jakai Clark. The good news is Auburn already holds a commitment from a a talented OT this class in Osborne which already ahead of what they did last year. The bad news is it’s hard to see who that 2nd tackle in the class will be right now.
- 5* Wanya Morris (Tennessee) - The toughest loss so far this recruiting cycle for the Auburn Tigers has to be Wanya Morris. Now ranked as the nation’s #1 offensive tackle, he clearly could have been the heir apparent to Prince Tega Wanogho at left tackle. But Jeremy Pruitt sold not only him but more importantly his mother on Morris being a foundational piece to the Volunteers rebuild. With that said, Morris does appear likely to take an official visit (weekend of the Tennessee game ironically enough) and his teammates and Auburn commits Owen Pappoe and Jakai Clark continue to stay in his ear about signing with the Tigers. For now, I think this is going to be a very difficult flip.
- 5* Clay Webb - I’m not really sure Auburn’s even is still in this race. I know Webb will say so and that he will probably take an official visit but my guess would be Auburn is probably #4 behind Alabama, Clemson and Georgia right now. With that said, Auburn will pursue him up to signing day because he’s a day 1 impact player. Webb is listed as a center but could slide to either guard position if needed at the next level.
- 4* William Putnam - While Auburn was considered one of Putnam’s top teams, the assumption all summer by numerous people covering his recruitment was that the Plant High School standout was all Florida State. That was until Steve Wiltfong sat down and interviewed Putnam and came away shocked at just how close a race this is between the Tigers and Seminoles. Putnam wanted to make a decision this summer but has decided to hold off until after his official visits this fall. That’s great news for Auburn and I am starting to think this one might end up a huge victory for JB Grimes on the trail. Putnam could probably play any of the five offensive line spots but is probably better suited in the interior.
- 3* Kamaar Bell - Bell seems to have quickly emerged as a top Auburn target this recruiting class. He’s an intimidating force in the interior at 6’3” 320 lbs and I think is a perfect fit for Auburn’s system. However, I think the young man wants to play for the Crimson Tide but it’s not looking like they will have a spot for him. If that’s the case, this will quickly turn into an Auburn/Florida/Ole Miss contest and I like the Tigers’ odds in that fight.
Other Names to Watch: 4* Xavier Truss (Georgia), 4* Dontae Lucas (Florida State), 3* Charles Cross (Florida State), 3* Kingsley Eguakun (Miami), 3* Jamye Simmons