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Auburn Football Recruiting: Another Busy Weekend Ahead

The Tigers will host five more top targets this weekend in an effort to close out the 2019 cycle strong.

4* ATH John Rhys Plumlee
John Rhys Plumlee’s Twitter:

It’s plenty busy on the recruiting trail right now. Auburn coaches are traveling all over the country (more on that later) visiting not only their top targets in the 2019 class but future classes as well. Offers are flying out daily to top level 2020, 2021 and yes even the occasional 2022 prospects. This is typically one of the busiest times of the recruiting cycle as coaching staffs attempt to put the final touches on their signing class and start building momentum for next year.

Official Visitors

Like last weekend, Auburn is expecting five official visitors on campus over the next couple of days. Unlike last weekend, I think there’s a VERY good chance the Tigers add a commitment by Monday. Here’s a look at who is expected on campus later this evening.

4* ATH John Rhys Plumlee | 6’1” | 185 lbs | Hattiesburg, MS | UGA Commit

This was the big surprise of the week. The longtime Dawg commit may have lost his place in that class when UGA pulled off a late flip of former Ohio State QB commit Dwan Mathis during the early signing period. There’s been rumors in recent weeks that Plumlee is being asked to blueshirt (explanation of a blueshirt) which may have put the talented athlete back on the market.

Interestingly, Plumlee prefers to play QB in college and that’s where Auburn is reportedly recruiting him to play. Now could this be a Jason Smith like situation where Auburn allows him a shot at QB before convincing him to slide elsewhere? We will see but it could also mean the staff expects some attrition at the QB position this spring especially when you consider the attempts to evaluate graduate transfer options.

As for Plumlee’s talents, he’s a big time athlete. He could play QB, WR or DB at the next level and is also a terrific baseball player. Plumlee is very quick, able to change directions at a moments notice and has outstanding top end speed that makes him a threat to score anytime he touches the ball. He’s got some Manziel to his game at the QB position in that he’s at his best in the midst of chaos. With a quick trigger and quick feet, he can get himself out of trouble in a hurry and be an all around headache for defenses. Plumlee would definitely give Auburn a dual threat option at QB. Given the signing of Nix though I expect Plumlee’s future at Auburn would be either at slot WR or safety. Ole Miss and Mississippi State are thought to be the teams to watch heading into this weekend. It will be interesting to see if the Tigers can make a strong late push for another elite Mississippi prospect.

3* DT LeDarrius Cox | 6’5” | 300 lbs | Mobile, AL | Tennessee Commit

For months now the thought has been that Cox would eventually land in Auburn’s class. Despite being committed to Tennessee, he’s 100% predicted to the Tigers via 247’s Crystal Ball feature. But as this recruitment has gone on the likelihood of that flip seems to have gone down. Publicly, Cox continues to say all the right things as a committed prospect but he’s set to make two huge visits in the coming weekend. This week its Auburn, next week its Ole Miss. If either of those programs plan on making a big move, now is the time.

Would Auburn take both Cox and 4* DL Charles Moore if they wanted on board? No idea outside of Moore 100% has a spot. VERY interested to see what news comes out on this young man after his visit this weekend.

3* OT Ira Henry | 6’5” | 320 lbs | St. Louis, MO

I’ve been waiting for some new OT names to pop up and yesterday one finally did. Henry has become one of the most sought after prospects on the trail late this cycle with Florida, Florida State and now Auburn hard after his signature. Henry took an official visit to the Gators this past weekend but its the Noles to keep an eye on. They have plenty of playing time to sell and Henry has considered FSU is “dream offer”.

Henry’s senior tape is not available but what you see on his junior film is a guy that can move despite his size and someone with A LOT of power in his punch. At times he can be a little overly reliant on the fact he’s just bigger and stronger than his opponent but I love how light on his feet he is at 320 lbs and his ability to finish. The Tigers need help at the OT spot for 2020 and beyond. Henry would sure help in that regard.

3* LB Christopher Russell | 6’1” | 228 lbs | Dyersburg, TN

Once a Memphis commit, Russell has become one of the top targets for a number of SEC programs. He’s already officially visited Texas A&M, will be on the Plains this weekend and has visits still scheduled for Arkansas and Tennessee later this month. The Hogs were thought to be the leaders in this race at one point but now it’s the Vols who have picked up the intensity after losing JUCO LB commit Lakia Henry.

Russell is a thumper and a clear MLB at the next level. While he doesn’t necessarily face the strongest of competition, he dominates like he should at that level. I have some questions about his speed but there’s no denying that inside the box he’s a force to be reckoned with. Auburn has made him a clear priority in recent weeks and will attempt to make a major move in his recruitment this weekend.

2* ATH Kameron Brown | 6’0” | 222 lbs | Buford, GA

I will be stunned if Brown is not on Auburn’s commit list by Monday morning. The younger brother of super star defensive tackle Derrick Brown, Kameron has spent most of his recruitment trying to convince schools to take a chance on him despite his size and slow 40 time. He finished second in the state of Georgia in tackles in 2018 with 205 and does carry two offers from strong FCS programs UT Chattanooga and Furman. But no FBS schools had come calling just yet.

Until now....

The Tigers offered Brown on January 8th just a few days before his older brother announced that he was returning to school. Interestingly, Auburn is reportedly recruiting him as an athlete. While he might get a shot at linebacker, his future might actually be at the 3-back (H-Back) position. If that’s the case, the future of that position continues to be confusing considering all the different type of athletes the Tigers have signed in recent seasons. That aside, Auburn would be getting a talented young man with a serious chip on his shoulder ready to prove his worth if he were to commit this weekend. Everyone that has spent time with the young man only have really positive things to say about his effort, attitude and leadership.

Curious Case of Dylan Jordan

One target that will not be on campus this weekend is 3* LB Dylan Jordan out of Pittsburg, KS. He recently became a top target for the Tigers and as late as Wednesday evening was expected to visit the Plains this weekend. But yesterday he surprised everyone by announcing he will instead take an official visit to TCU.

Now the Horned Frogs were the originally scheduled destination before Auburn began their push but Jordan told numerous Auburn reporters he was going to the Plains instead. But the TCU staff visited him on Wednesday and apparently convinced him to go back to his original plans. Jordan has stated he wants to commit on January 28th in the past so the Tigers will need to scramble to get him on campus if they want to make a serious move in his recruitment. As of today, TCU and Utah appear to be the top schools to watch. But don’t expect Travis Williams to go down without a fight in this battle.

Interesting Early 2020 Note

Watching offers roll in over the past week for future classes, something interesting caught my eye. Auburn had offered two OTs from the state of Arizona. After some digging I found something interesting.

For those unfortunate folks who have Twitter blocked at their workplace, Auburn has offered 5 players in the 2020 class from the state of Arizona. They offered a total of 4 from 2013-2019 per 247’s “Offers” feature. The link? Auburn’s new offensive coordinator and QB coach Kenny Dillingham.

Auburn’s newest staff addition grew up in the state of Arizona, coached high school football there AND landed his first collegiate gig as a grad assistant for Mike Norvell at Arizona State. Pretty clear he has some connections in the area. In the 2019 class, we’ve seen the clear effect Marcus Woodson’s addition to the staff has had on the trail. All of a sudden Mississippi is a place Auburn can recruit again. Might Dillingham open up some options further west?

Maybe.... Arizona is a bit of a different beast than Mississippi but it’s still something interesting to monitor as we head into a new recruiting cycle. Whether anything materializes in these recruitments is still to be seen and I sure as heck ain’t expecting Auburn to open up a pipeline to the Copper State but I also wouldn’t be shocked if there’s someone a little further west is listed on Auburn’s signee list in 2020.

Tim Horton Impact

Earlier this week, DesertWeagle made the accurate observation in the comment section that we really haven’t talked much about the Tim Horton news on this site. Honestly, I haven’t had much of an opinion on it because I want to see how it plays out. Is he going to take Patrick Suddes old role and become the big picture/right hand man guy for Gus? Or is this Scott Fountain 2.0 and he pops up somewhere else as an on field coach. Neither move would surprise me and until Gus brings in a new RB coach it’s hard to really speculate on the impact moving forward.

However, I will say that Horton doesn’t get as much respect as he should as a recruiter. It’s not as simple as position coach gets all the guys for his position. Often times, it’s the area recruiter that lays the groundwork for top targets. Horton is a very big reason why Auburn has found success in the Tampa and Birmingham areas under Gus Malzahn. His biggest pull was obviously Kerryon Johnson but he played an important role for guys like Austin Troxell and Nate-Craig Myers as well. His biggest impact in the 2019 class was his work on recently tabbed 4* RB DJ Williams who might end up making Horton look REALLY good in a few years.

But I also understand the move. Horton is a solid, not elite recruiter and the RB coach spot is a place where you can find one of those. You see what someone like Dell McGee is doing at Georgia and it’s hard not to feel like the Tigers could get more from that position on the staff. It will be VERY interesting to see who Gus brings in to replace Horton. He will inherit a talented RB room and replace some big shoes when it at least comes to pedigree in producing elite backs in this league.

War Eagle!