Following National Signing Day earlier this year, Gus Malzahn made sure to note that Auburn planned on bringing in a large haul at offensive line in the 2020 class. Some of us (hi there!) were skeptical because well.... Auburn hasn’t really signed big OL classes under Gus outside of 2015.
It appears that is changing.
Today, 3* OG Tate Johnson announced his pledge to the Tigers via a commit video released by 247Sports.
Johnson’s commitment gives Auburn four commits already in this class and they aren’t planning on stopping anytime soon. The trenches need refilling after small classes in recent cycles and the Tigers are well on their way to doing just that.
As for Johnson’s recruitment, like Cohen he’s been one of the standouts on the camp trail this cycle. His offer list is strong with Florida State and Georgia Tech the other two programs to make him a top priority. This 2020 class might be low on flashy ratings but it’s very high on long term potential. Johnson, Cohen and Jernigan are three guys I could all see turning into multi year starters for the Tigers down the road.
First off, no one will have to teach Johnson toughness at the next level. That’s always a good place to start as an offensive lineman. Johnson is a finisher who craves contact. He excels in the run game, using his powerful frame to get consistent movement at the line of scrimmage while also having quick enough feet to reach his 2nd level assignments. He’s solid in pass sets and will enter Auburn an already very polished product. At 6’4” 310 lbs, his future is most likely in the interior though he played outside for Callaway. Like every high school OL, he will probably need a year in the weight room to get to SEC strength but he already possesses a solid frame and isn’t carrying much bad weight. I think as a redshirt freshman Johnson could push for early playing time even if it’s the first man in if there’s an injury.
I really like this OL class Grimes, Dillingham and Malzahn are assembling. It’s both exciting and maddening. These are the type of prospects Auburn should have been signing more often in previous cycles so they didn’t have to have a 6-7 man class to ensure they have the numbers for 2020. But the good news is they have made the adjustment and already have 4 quality prospects on board. Johnson, Cohen and Jernigan are all rated in about the same area which is just slightly outside of 4* status. I expect at least one to be a consensus 4* by the end (Cohen) and could see another landing in the top 350. The staff is still after some big fish though in the forms of 4* OG Chris Morris, 4* OT Marcus Dumervil and others.
As I wrote this morning, chances are this is not Auburn’s last boom of the week and definitely not the last of the month. Should be a very active month of recruiting for the Tigers.
War Eagle Tate!