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Auburn Football Recruiting: Big Opportunity Today

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The Tigers are hosting an enormous amount of talent today for their top 15 showdown with LSU. A look at who is expected on campus and what a victory today could mean in a top target’s recruitment.

Derick Hall’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/derick_hall5

One of the blessings of having Alabama and Georgia at home the same year is Auburn gets to host monster recruiting weekends. Those two games were big reasons why Owen Pappoe took a much harder look at Auburn, why Christian Tutt decided that AU was the place for him and helped lead Wanya Morris to decommitting from Florida State. Jordan-Hare on a Saturday night does a lot to sell the program.

On the flip side, one of the curses of having Alabama and Georgia at home the same year is the next year they are both away. That greatly limits the ability to have those huge game events where you get a ton of the best players in the country on campus to witness an electric environment. This weekend might end up being Auburn’s only big chance of the season (though Jimbo is working hard to change that). Judging by the visitor list, the coaching staff is looking to take full advantage of the moment.

I got virtually all these names thanks to reporting by AuburnUndercover’s Keith Niebuhr, AuburnSports’s Benjamin Wolk and AL.com’s James Crepea.

Official Visitors

The Tigers will host five official visitors this weekend. If not for a scheduling conflict, it would have been six but 4* RB Mark-Antony Richards was unable to make it. He will more than likely be on campus for one of Auburn’s remaining SEC home games. But the group that is planning on making the trip is an impressive one. All are top 240 players and all are guys the Tigers would take immediately if they wanted on board. There’s a chance one just might by the end of the weekend.

4* OG Williams Putnam | 6’4” | 280 lbs | Tampa, FL

Putnam has long been near the top of Auburn’s OL wishlist and it sure feels like that wish could be closer to coming true. The Tampa, FL native was considered a lock to Florida State most the summer but that commitment never came to fruition. Turns out, the Tigers were in this battle way more than anyone else realized. Now they have a chance to take the lead.

JB Grimes and Tim Horton have been the heavy lifters in this recruitment. Putnam could honestly play any of the five offensive lineman positions but is probably best suited for the interior. The Noles won’t be easy to beat in this battle but this weekend could go a long ways towards Auburn making that move. Also wouldn’t hurt if Florida State continued their implosion.

4* DB Cam’Ron Kelly | 6’1” | 190 lbs | Chesapeake, VA | Auburn Commit

The most recent Auburn commitment will use his final official visit for his 2nd trip ever to the Plains. Kelly committed shortly after taking his first visit to Auburn at the end of July for the BBQ event. This will be his first time attending an Auburn game. I got a feeling he’s going to leave the weekend feeling even better about his decision. The big thing to note with Kelly is that with this being his final official visit, if he wanted to go anywhere else he would have to pay his own way. He seems pretty locked in with the Tigers.

4* RB Kenny McIntosh | 6’0” | 218 lbs | Fort Lauderdale, FL

Much of the discussion around Auburn’s running back recruiting has understandably centered around 4* Noah Cain and Richards. After all, both of those backs have made multiple visits to the Plains. McIntosh, however, has only visited once for Big Cat Weekend. That changes today.

It would be considered a stunner if McIntosh signed anywhere other than Miami but the fact he hasn’t already pulled the trigger and committed has raised eyebrows. Oklahoma is reportedly the #2 team right now but that could change after this visit. This is probably a longshot for the Tigers but it’s always a little less long when a kid decides to use one of his official visits for a trip to your campus.

4* Buck Derick Hall | 6’4” | 216 lbs | Gulfport, MS

There’s no debate who sits atop Auburn’s Buck board, it’s Derick Hall. Long considered an Auburn lean, Hall ended up not making his commitment before the season as he had hoped. But credit to him, he wants to make absolutely sure he’s making the right decision before pulling the trigger. Hall does not want to be a kid that commits and then later flips elsewhere. Mississippi State, Florida State and maybe Ole Miss are all threats but I think the Tigers will eventually end up with their guy, maybe by the this time next week.

4* LB Kalen Deloach | 6’0” | 206 lbs | Savannah, GA | Florida State Commit

This is a visit to track for sure. Deloach once had the Tigers as his top team but they ended up in 2nd place to the Noles. He’s been one of the more vocal supporters of Florida State on social media since his commitment so most assume his commitment is solid. But considering the slow start in Tallahassee paired with Deloach’s close relationship with Travis Williams and the fact he’s using an official visit to travel to Auburn, things might not be as solid as they seem. If Auburn is going to flip this kid then they have to make a big move on this visit. For the record, Deloach is one of T-WILL’s favorite prospects in this class.

Auburn Commit Visitors

All of Auburn’s commitments sans Jaylin Simpson are expected on campus this weekend. I wouldn’t read too much into Simpson not being on this list. He’s recovering from a foot injury and so might have decided it was best to stay home.

The guy to watch is Jamond Gordon. He was in Oxford, MS last weekend and some Ole Miss sites are reporting he will be back this weekend for their showdown with the Tide. If he skips Auburn’s biggest home game to visit the Rebels for a 2nd consecutive weekend that would be a major red flag. I suspect that he ends up on the Plains today.

Unofficial Visitors Committed Elsewhere

I’m not sure Auburn is a real threat to flip any of these guys but considering the 2020 early signing day is just over a year away, that’s ok. What I am interested to see is what names not currently on this list pop up this weekend. There are five guys I am keeping an eye on: 5* WR Jadon Haselwood (Georgia), 4* DL Justin Eboigbe (Alabama), 4* LB Tyron Hopper (Florida), 4* S Dreshun Miller (LSU) and 3* DT LeDarrius Cox (Tennessee). I would not be surprised if any of those five turned up. I also would not be surprised if any of those five ended up in Auburn’s signing class when it’s all said and done.

2019 Uncommitted Visitors

This list isn’t as long as you may expect but that’s another product of the accelerated recruiting process. So many kids are already committed that many of them will be showing up to their respective school’s campus this weekend. There could be a surprise or two that make it on this list but the majority of names to watch are probably guys already committed elsewhere.

As for the names on this list, the big one is obviously Clay Webb. Webb has long been a top Auburn target but for months now the Tide have seemed the clear the choice. But in recent weeks, there’s been some serious buzz that both Georgia and Auburn have made big moves. Personally, I still think he ends up at Bama but getting him on campus sure doesn’t hurt. Expect all of Auburn’s commitments to spend a lot of time in his ear this weekend.

2020 Uncommitted visitors

Woah.... Now this is a visitor list.

Recruiting starts much earlier these days and this fall is critical to many 2020 recruitments. Auburn will have one of the more impressive 2020 visitor lists you will see this fall on campus today. Obviously, having three 5*s visiting is a pretty big deal. Of those three, Auburn probably has the best chance with Myles Murphy. However, I think AU trails for all three at the moment.

With this many 2020 prospects on campus and it being a big time game, I would not at all be surprised to see a prospect or two pop. The names to watch are probably Robby Ashford, Cameron Riley, Roydell Williams, Will Anderson and EJ Williams. I’m not saying that all 5 will commit, that’s not gonna happen. I just think those are five guys Auburn currently leads for and would take if they wanted on board. Today’s game is a huge chance for the Tigers to make some big moves with some elite prospects in next year’s class.

2021 Uncommitted Visitors

Despite what Crow says, it’s never too early to look down the road in recruiting. I mean it kinda is but I’m gonna do it anyway. The Tigers appear to be the early team to beat for Nixon, McKinstry and Vandagriff. In fact, I would not be surprised if by the end of this fall Auburn has a commitment already from the 2021 class. My money is on Vandagriff.

Noah Cain

One final comment before I begin my pregame rituals. For the large majority of recruits, one game does not play a huge role in their recruitments. It can trigger the desire to learn more about a school but rarely does a single win or loss mean you land or lose a recruit. But there are rare instances and rare matchups where the results can really matter. Noah Cain’s recruitment might be one.

He’s not hidden the fact that LSU is probably the team to beat. He’s also not hidden the fact he wants to see how they do early this season so he can feel comfortable with his decision. Auburn is right there in his top group and he will officially visit later this fall. If Auburn can pull out the victory that might reheat Ed Orgeron’s seat and in turn give Cain more pause on picking the Bayou Bengals. A loss, however, might signal the end of Auburn’s chances.

I don’t think the winner of this game is guaranteed to land Cain nor is the loser completely out of the race. But being two of his top teams and him saying publicly he wants to see how his top schools perform early in the season before making a decision does mean this game could play a big role in his final decision. Auburn has gone #AllIn after Cain and I suspect part of that is their belief they can knock off LSU. Let’s see if they can get it done today and if that ends up mattering in this recruitment when it’s all said and done.

War Eagle!