Woah... I nor really anyone (until this afternoon) saw this one coming. The nation’s #1 JUCO offensive tackle Kilian Zierer just pulled a stunner. Long considered a major UCLA lean, the German native announced on Twitter today he wants to be a Tiger.
As he says in his commit announcement, Zierer only recently came to the States and just played his first year of American football for the College of Canyons last season. That’s all it took for some of the top programs in the nation to come calling including Auburn, Florida State, Oregon, USC, UCLA and TCU. Those last two were Auburn’s stiffest competition with the Bruins thought to be the frontrunner. But it appears Zierer’s official visit during Big Cat Weekend was enough for the Tigers to surge ahead and close the deal. This is an absolutely MONSTER victory on the recruiting trail for this coaching staff.
Zierer is a big fella at 6’7” 290 lbs with the frame to put on more weight without losing a step. As mentioned earlier, he’s very new to offensive line play so he’s far from a finished product which actually makes him an even more exciting prospect considering how solid his tape was last year given his lack of experience. Zierer has quick feet, allowing him to excel as a zone blocker and make plays in the second level. I was impressed by his pass sets given him being so new to the position and it’s even more impressive that he’s worked on both sides of the line. He also does a great job of keeping his feet moving through contact which allows him to consistently finish. The big man has a tendency to play pretty much standing up at times and will need to get stronger in his lower body to handle blocking some of the SEC’s powerful defensive lineman.
He will have three years to play two so there could be a world where the Tigers redshirt Zierer to give him a little more time to develop before throwing him into the fire. However, that’s probably doubtful given the need at offensive tackle in 2020 so I expect to see Zierer on the field pretty early in his Auburn career.
Auburn now has five offensive lineman on board this cycle which is exactly what the doctor ordered after some pretty light classes the past few years. It’s also a great mix of veterans who can see early playing time in 2020 and young prospects with high ceilings. Chances are good though that the Tigers aren’t done yet up front either. JUCO 3* OT Brenden Coffey has had Auburn as his top team for some time now but might have just lost his spot to Zierer. 3* OL Jeremiah Wright is a guy Auburn would love to get on board this summer too if they could. There’s also JUCO 3* OG TJ Bass, 3* OG James Robinson, 4* OT Isaiah Walker and 4* OT Marcus Dumervil. As of today, I think chances are good the Tigers land Wright and call it a day but it wouldn’t be shocking if they signed seven offensive linemen this go around.
With 14 commits on board as August approaches, Auburn sits in a solid spot heading into fall camp. This weekend will be the last major recruiting event when the staff hosts a number of top targets at a picnic event on the Plains. There’s a chance that could lead to a couple of more booms too. Given the concerns over coaching instability and a disappointing campaign on the field in 2018, the staff has done an outstanding job laying the groundwork for a potential top 10 class. Still need to find some defensive lineman and defensive backs but overall hard not to be excited about this 2020 group.
War Eagle Killian!