Auburn vs Stanford recruiting battles have not gone well for the Tigers in recent classes. In 2017, it was 4* DL Ryan Johnson. The following year, it was 4* DL Andres Fox. Early this cycle it looked like history would repeat itself with 4* LB Wesley Steiner. The talented backer out of Warner Robins, GA dropped a top 4 in late May consisting of Auburn, Stanford, Georgia Tech and LSU. However, it became apparent pretty quickly this would be a 2 team fight that at the time many thought Stanford had the best chance of winning.
That all changed in June. Steiner came to campus for Big Cat Weekend and ever since seemed to be trending Auburn. Cautious optimism turned into excitement when Steiner told AuburnUndercover’s Keith Niebuhr yesterday that he was ready to make a decision. Today he made that decision public and it was big news for the Tigers.
Isaiah 12:1-6...— Wesley Steiner (@ItsYa_Boi_Wes) July 2, 2019
Committed to.. pic.twitter.com/QxcCa1UcEr
Steiner was one of the stars on the first day of The Opening. He put up the top SPARQ score, a ridiculous 148.17. That actually beats Owen Pappoe’s record setting number from last season at the The Opening regional in Charlotte. I expect he continues to shine in Frisco this week.
Steiner is a T-WILL recruit so he obviously possesses two qualities: speed & aggression. Like fellow Auburn commit 4* LB Trenton Simpson, Steiner also doubles as his team’s running back where he rushed for over 1,000 yards and 12 TDs in 2018. But he will be on the defensive side of the ball for the Tigers and for good reason. An elite athlete, Steiner can line up all over the field whether it’s rushing the passer off the edge or covering wideouts in the flat. He’s also highly intelligent not just in the classroom but on the football field as well. Don’t be surprised if one day he earns a similar moniker as recently departed senior backer Deshaun Davis as the DC on the field. If there’s any knock on him it’s the same one that comes with many of T-WILL’s recruits - his lack of length. But in today’s game of wide open offenses, speed and athleticism is typically counted on more than length. Steiner is the prototype for the modern day linebacker.
This is a phenomenal linebacker class Travis Williams has assembled. Now that he has proof of success on the field to match his dynamic personality, we are beginning to truly see the level of recruiter Williams can be for the Tigers. Two top 100 backers and another blue chipper is about as good as it gets. There’s a very real possibility too that one of Simpson or Steiner push for 5* status before this cycle is over.
Unfortunately, this good news for Auburn is probably bad news for another target in 4* LB Desmond Tisdol. From the sound of things, Auburn appears set to only take 3 true backers and then pursue a Buck target this cycle. That means Tisdol might no longer have a spot though if Auburn were to miss on 4* Phillip Webb, Simpson is someone who could possibly play the Buck and the Tigers could bring Tisdol on as the 3rd backer in that case. For now though that looks unlikely.
All of a sudden Auburn has a class just outside the Top 10. What looked dire just over a month ago now looks more like what you expect from Auburn on the trail. There are still some big holes to fill in this class. The Tigers need two more OL, some impact players on the DL, a running back and some reinforcements at defensive back but they sit in a MUCH better place than they did heading into June. The staff will hold another big recruiting event at the end of July that could result in some more booms as well. Keep an eye on 3* OT Brenden Coffey. The nation’s #2 JUCO OT has the Tigers in front right now and could have a decision sometime this month.
War Eagle Wesley!