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Auburn Football Recruiting: Recapping Junior Day

Wednesday the 2019 cycle ends but that means things are just beginning for the 2020 class.

Tennessee v Auburn Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images

Signing day is just two days away and there will be plenty to talk about Wednesday when Auburn hopes to close strong on this 2019 class. But recruiting never stops and focus has already begun to shift to the 2020 class and beyond. This past weekend, Auburn did not host any 2019 targets but instead kicked off the 2020 cycle by welcoming some of the top prospects in the southeast in the 2020 and 2021 classes to campus for the first Junior Day of the year.

It’s become a tradition under Gus Malzahn for the Tigers to put on a Junior Day the weekend before NSD. Last year, it was when Auburn made their big move for Owen Pappoe and launched their plan to recruit Mississippi much harder. So while many names that you will see listed today might never show up on campus or again, some will inevitably turn into extremely important targets for the Tigers and be the talk of the class this time next year for 2020.

Here’s a rundown of who all made it to campus courtesy of fine reporting by AuburnUndercovers Keith Niebuhr.

2020 Prospects

That’s a lot of names and you are forgiven if you don’t recognize many. But there are some big ones on that list to watch. First, obviously, would be Daniel Foster-Allen who committed to the Tigers yesterday after his visit to the Plains. He’s very raw but has the tools Garner loves in defensive lineman to be a good player up front in the SEC one day.

Three big offers went out this past weekend as well to guys Auburn fans should keep an eye in the coming months. First, there was Mississippi native Jeremiah Pegues who was offered as a tight end and is expected back on campus March 2nd.

Then came Rodney Groce, an intriguing linebacker out of Pleasant Grove, AL. He’s very much on commit watch after his trip and appears to be someone high on T-WILL’s list for the 2020 class. Big kid whose future is probably at inside linebacker.

Finally, there was Kobe Pryor, a physical, quick twitch back out of Cedartown, GA. He’s blown up in recent weeks so it wasn’t a huge surprise to see the Tigers jump into the race. Cadillac Williams (love typing this) visited him just this past week and it appears Pryor will be a priority for Auburn moving forward. The 2020 class is DEEP at tailback this year which means Auburn should be able to find at least one talented back in this class. Pryor fits the bill.

It was big for Auburn to get Quandarrius Robinson back on campus after he decommitted this past week following a strong push for the Tide. There are those close to his recruitment who still think he ends up on the Plains but it’s clear that recruitment is gonna be a battle.

Speaking of battles, Auburn appeared close to landing EJ Williams’s commitment before a flurry of offers rained down near the end of 2018. Clemson has emerged onow as the top contender which isn’t a surprise considering their recent success and the fact that two of his former HS teammates (Justyn Ross and Ray Thornton) have signed there the last two cycles. This will be a tough one for AU to win but if there’s any team that can beat Dabo’s Tigers it’s probably Auburn or maybe Georgia.

But things seem to be trending in the right direction with JJ Evans who is coming off a monster junior season. Evans and Williams will battle it out this year for the honor of being the state of Alabama’s top wideout and I’m not sure who I have picked to win at this moment. Of the two though, I like Auburn’s chances more with Evans right now than Williams.

As for the position Auburn fans are most concerned about currently, offensive line, keep an eye on Avery Jernigan. I think the Tigers are the clear favorites and I wouldn’t be surprised if he jumped on board soon. He’s listed as an OT but at 6’3, I think his future is probably inside. Either way, that would be a nice pickup for Auburn if they could get it.

Finally, remember the name Javion Cohen. The Central High standout has a chance to be one of the fastest risers in the 2020 class in the state of Alabama. Auburn has yet to offer but I wouldn’t be shocked if it happened in the upcoming evaluation period. The Tigers need offensive tackles and it would be foolish to pass on a kid with this type of upside in your own backyard.

2021 Prospects

Honestly, the 2021 list might have been even more impressive than the 2020 one. Nixon, McKinstry, Mafah and Hunter will all likely be top 100 prospects in that class. Auburn is a top contender for all four and might even be the leader for three of the quartet (Mafah being the odd man out). It’s obviously absurdly early to be talking too much about the 2021 cycle but it is never a bad thing to get an early start on some of these guys. My super early prediction is that Lee Hunter will be Auburn’s first 2021 commit this summer. You heard it here first folks.

War Eagle!