This recruitment has been years in the making. Back in the 2015 class, Ahmmon Richards was a top target for the Tigers. Auburn ended up making his top group but losing out to the hometown Hurricanes.
Fast forward three years and those relationships forged back in Ahmmon’s recruitment proved huge for the Tigers in his younger brother’s 4* RB Mark Antony-Richards’s recruitment. Auburn was one of the first teams to jump into the race and always wanted him as a running back, his preferred position. Miami was still considered the favorite through most of last summer but Auburn was thought to be the top challenger. When turmoil struck that program, Auburn became a very real destination for the playmaker. But the Tigers had to hold off late pushes from Florida and Georgia.
They did and now Richards will be an Auburn Tiger.
Wellington’s Mark-Antony Richards commits to Auburn. pic.twitter.com/oT1cgfakgG— (((Adam Lichtenstein))) (@ABLichtenstein) February 6, 2019
Most folks, including Auburn’s coaching staff, like to compare Richards to former stud Auburn tailback Kerryon Johnson. The similarities are pretty striking. Richards has a similar frame to KJ’s coming out of high school. Both are patient runners who do a great job using their offhand to create more separation by delivering devastating stiff arms. Both are guys other coaching staffs liked more as DBs. Oh and they both wear #21. However, I do think there are some striking differences. First, Richards is probably more explosive than KJ in the open field. Second, KJ was probably a bit physically stronger than Richards coming out of high school. Finally, Richards might be a more skilled pass catcher than KJ was as a prospect. Either way, Auburn is getting a fantastic athlete in Mark Antony-Richards who has a chance to see the field early. He will need to bulk up a bit more if he wants to take the pounding of SEC play but there’s no denying he’s got a skillset that can make him an effective weapon for the Tigers in the ensuing years.
Between 4* DJ Williams and Richards it’s hard not to be excited about this running back class. Auburn signed three talented backs in 2018 but lost one to transfer this offseason. Williams and Richards gives Auburn an all of a sudden extremely deep depth chart at the tailback spot, something Auburn hasn’t had in quite some time. Whether either are able to see the field early is still to be seen but it definitely wouldn’t be a shock.
So after a rough start, Auburn just got two big back to back booms. Auburn is still waiting to hear from their two top remaining OL targets along with linebacker Octavius Brothers. Tigers really need to get at least on of those offensive lineman to salvage the day. But it sure doesn’t hurt to have more top 100 players in the class.
War Eagle Mark!