Hello there strangers. My apologies for the drought in recruiting news. A captivating run by Auburn’s basketball team paired with a busier than usual work life lead to me slacking off on my #crootin duties. But have not fear! I’m back and there’s plenty to talk about as action on the recruiting trail starts to pick up heading into summer.
Auburn’s 2019 Recruiting Not Yet Done
Typically, the passing of National Signing Day signals the end of one recruiting cycle and the beginning of another. However, Auburn is hoping to add at least one more prospect to their #11 ranked 2019 class it appears.
Earlier this month, former 4* DB Cam’Ron Kelly announced his intentions to transfer from the Plains due to family concerns. He later committed to North Carolina, the program thought to have finished 2nd for his services last December.
That was a tough blow to the Tigers as Kelly was expected to have a role in the DB rotation in 2019 before becoming an important contributor in 2020 and beyond. Given the fact that Jeremiah Dinson, Daniel Thomas and Javaris Davis will all graduate after the 2019 campaign and there’s a very possible change Noah Igbinoghene puts together a strong enough junior campaign to warrant an early trip to the NFL, Auburn could find themselves down a plethora of talented DBs.
Enter Justin Ford.
The 3* JUCO cornerback initially signed with Kansas in December but later reopened his recruitment following the February signing day. He will reportedly have three years to play two at his next school of choice. Ford took a quick unofficial visit to the Plains yesterday and told AuburnUndercover’s Keith Niebuhr that he has a top two of Auburn and Utah. There’s a chance he could take an official visit to Iowa State but as of now it appears to be down to those two schools with the Tigers in a very good spot.
Ford’s decision should come in early May. At 6’2” 185 lbs, Ford would give Auburn some much needed length at the corner position. He was an All-Conference performer at Golden West College last season and his tape is aptly titled “Playmaker”. With quick hips, great instincts and outstanding closing speed, it’s easy to see why Auburn would love to sneak in him as a late addition to the 2019 class with Kelly’s departure. The 2020 class is a bit light at DB so getting any help now would be big for the Tigers.
Offensive Line Recruiting Update
Obviously with so much time having passed since my last update, I can’t NOT touch on every Auburn fans FAVORITE recruiting subject. Auburn’s offensive line recruiting took a bit of a step back (shocking I know) when 3* OT Trey Zimmerman picked UNC over the Tigers in late March.
With another top target, 4* OT John Young, trending to Kentucky, I was going to be very perturbed if Auburn let talented local 3* OT Javion Cohen just waltz his way to Columbia, SC with no resistance. Thankfully, that won’t be the case as the Central High star decommitted from the Gamecocks last week and landed an Auburn offer that following Friday, vaulting the Tigers into the thick of the hunt.
Cohen’s stock is very much on the rise. He’s been a standout on the camp circuit this spring including capturing the Rivals Camp Series’ OL MVP in Atlanta last weekend. One of the holdups for Auburn was reportedly concerns over his ability to play OT at the next level given his 6’4” frame. But those concerns appear to have been mitigated and Cohen is now a top target for Auburn. The Gamecocks won’t go quietly, he is taking an official visit there this weekend, but it’s hard to not like Auburn’s chances moving forward.
Another fast rising prospect in the southeast is 3* OG Tate Johnson. The former teammate of 2019 Auburn signee Keiondre Jones and the current teammate of major AU RB target 4* Tank Bigsby, Johnson has been another top performer on the camp circuit early this spring. Florida State, Georgia Tech and Auburn have all made the Callaway stand out a top priority early this cycle but a recent visit to the Plains appears to have pushed Auburn slightly ahead. This will be a fight to the finish but the Tigers appear to be in a good spot.
Finally, 3* Marlon Martinez is down to three schools and is closing in on a decision. Auburn, LSU and Florida all made the cut and I think if he was announcing today, the good looking Tigers would be the pick. But Martinez plans to take an official visit to the Baton Rouge before shutting things down which feels ominous. While not sporting the flashiest of ratings, Martinez is near the top of the board for the Tigers. He could play anywhere along the line though he’s being projected at OT for the moment. Snagging Martinez, Johnson and Cohen by the end of June would sure be a nice way to combat Auburn’s recent struggles landing talented prep OL talent.
Other names to continue to monitor on the offensive line:
5* OT Broderick Jones (Georgia) - Visited AU earlier this year and hasn’t been a frequent visitor to Athens despite his pledge. However, Jones is a pretty private kid from all reports so it’s hard to know how good a shot or not good a shot the Tigers have at the flip. Getting him back on campus for something like Big Cat Weekend would be huge for Auburn’s chances.
4* OT Joshua Braun - Keep an eye on this one. The Tigers weren’t considered much of a threat until a recent visit and now might be sitting #2 behind Florida.
4* OT Marcus Dumervil - Teammates with Marlon Martinez, Auburn is trying to make a strong push in this recruitment. With that said, Oklahoma looks to have the early lead with Alabama, LSU and Georgia all in the hunt as well.
4* OT Jalen Rivers - Auburn did not make his top 5 but an unofficial visit to the Plains earlier this spring put the Tigers back in the discussion. Still a lot of work to be done by the Tigers if they want to make it to the top of his list.
4* OG Chris Mayo - The Rhode Island native dropped a top 8 earlier this month that included the Tigers. Kentucky is thought to be the leader after his official visit to Lexington but he’s expected to give Auburn an OV as well. I definitely think he’s a name to track closely in the coming months.
4* OG Miller Merriweather-Lewis - LSU is his top team, Merriweather-Lewis has said so himself. But Auburn appears to be lurking at #2. If they can get him on campus a few more times this one could get interesting.
3* OT Bradley Ashmore (Vanderbilt) - I’m not 100% sure where Ashmore sits on Auburn’s board. I suspect he’s a down the line guy if the Tigers miss on a few more names but if Auburn likes what they see in person during the current evaluation period that could very well change.