Recruiting never truly stops but the new dead period starting at the end of July and ending on the last day of August at least signals a slow down. Coaches and prospects alike begin to focus more on the upcoming season. Things begin to pick back up when the season kicks off as players can once again visit the campuses of their top schools and coaches can hit the road to observe prospects in person. For Auburn, it looks likely things are about to get going in a major way this weekend.
Auburn’s last two commitments in the 2020 class have come from defensive backs. Chances are good that number climbs to three in a row tomorrow afternoon.
One of Auburn’s top defensive targets 4* DB Ladarius Tennison is expected to announce his decision tomorrow. Auburn, Florida, Miami and North Carolina all made the final cut but this one has been trending AU for quite awhile. Last weekend, Tennison was the only official visitor Auburn hosted. He’s long stated the Tigers are his leader and barring a stunning change of heart, he should finally jump on board tomorrow.
The Tigers like Tennison at the Nickel (called Star in Kevin’s system). At 5’9” 193 lbs, he’s not the scariest man stepping off the bus but throw the ball his way once and you will find out in a hurry this man is to be feared. He’s also a dynamic athlete with the ball in his hands and probably would be a top 5 running back in this class if he was 2 inches taller. But his future will be on the defensive side of the ball where I expect him to make an impact early for the Tigers in 2020.
I said it before but if there is only one highlight tape you watch from the 2020 class make it Tennison’s.
2021 5* Visits Again
With Clemson hosting Texas A&M and Texas hosting LSU last weekend, Auburn/Tulane wasn’t necessarily a marquee matchup to entice a bunch of high ranked prospects to campus. There was one 5* though that did make the visit.
The 2021 in-state class is shaping up to look a lot like the 2019 class in that there will be 4-5 players vying for 5* status. Right now the man that sits atop that list 5* DE Dylan Brooks. Brooks has been a frequent visitor to the Plains over the last couple of years and was back on campus again last weekend to see Auburn’s 24-6 smothering of the Gren Wave. It’s still early in his recruitment but Auburn is in a very good place to land his commitment down the road. They only have to fight off every other major college football program in the country...
In fact, Auburn might actually be the favorite to land the top 4 players in the state of Alabama next class. Brooks, 5* ATH Ga’Quincy McKinstry, 5* DT Lee Hunter and 4* RB Armoni Goodwin are all either committed to Auburn already or are thought to have the Tigers #1 on their list. But that’s nothing new for the Tigers. They typically surge ahead early in recruitments, it’s finishing that’s been the problem. The top 2 players in the state of Alabama for the 2020 class are both former Auburn commits, last year’s top ranked player was committed to Auburn for 500+ days and Auburn once lead for the top two players in the 2018 class only for them to sign elsewhere. How do they close the deal next time around? I think showing some consistent success on the field would go a long ways.
Former Commits Remain Targets
Typically, when a player decommits from a school they don’t usually end up signing with that school down the road. However, it’s not completely unheard of and there’s a greater than good chance that at least one possibly two former Auburn commits could end up back in the class.
4* DL Andy Boykin was Auburn’s first commit of the 2020 cycle. Before the 2018 season, however, he elected to reopen his recruitment. At the time, Georgia looked to be the favorite but the Dawgs quickly landed some commits from other targets. Alabama was then the team to beat but I am not sure the feelings were ever mutual. Just over a year later from his decommit from the Tigers, Boykin now appears to be trending back to Auburn. The Tigers need some defensive lineman so it makes a lot of sense but this isn’t a slam dunk yet. Auburn will be keeping a close eye on his performance this fall along with his academics. If they are happy with what they see, don’t be surprised if Boykin signs with the Tigers in December.
The other name to monitor is 3* DT Damarjhe Lewis. His commitment kind of came out of nowhere early last spring but was happily accepted by the Tigers. But as the summer wore on, it appeared both sides started look elsewhere eventually resulting in Lewis’s decommitment. But the door isn’t completely shut on this recruitment either. Lewis was back on campus for Tulane this past weekend and I fully expect him to return a couple of more times this fall. Would Auburn accept his pledge again if he wanted onboard? I don’t know but it’s something to watch.
As of now, I think Boykin is the more likely former commit to end up in Auburn’s class. The Tigers are still hard after 4* DT McKinnley Jackson, 4* DE Zykeivous Walker, 4* Buck Phillip Webb, 4* DT Omari Thomas and 4* DE Jay Hardy. How those recruitments shake out will also affect chances for both Boykin and Lewis rejoining the class if they wish. The defensive line class probably won’t be sorted out until February.
Two New DB Targets
Following Auburn’s War Eagle Picnic event in late July, the Tigers were feeling really good about finishing off this DB class. They were thought to be a top contender, possible leader for 4* CB Ethan Pouncey, definite leader for 4* CB Kendall Dennis and likely leader for JUCO 4* CB Brian George. Pouncey was expected to wait until mid fall to make his decision while Dennis and George could have announcements before the season began.
But things change fast in recruiting. Pouncey committed to Texas, Dennis elected to wait to take his official visits and George went underground. I still think Auburn has a great chance for Dennis and George but the Tigers aren’t putting all their eggs in those baskets.
4* DB Eric Reed Jr is Ole Miss’s top ranked commit in the 2020 class. But the Rebels are going to have to fight to keep him. Auburn offered Reed in July and have turned up the heat in recent weeks. He was on hand to see Auburn’s dramatic come from behind win over Oregon two weeks ago and will likely take an official visit to the Plains at some point. To make matters even more complicated for Reed, Georgia offered the Louisiana native last week and will likely host him on an official visit as well. He’s saying all the right things right now but having followed recruiting for a number of years I feel pretty confident saying this race will likely become an Auburn/Georgia battle over the coming months.
The other name to monitor is JUCO CB Emmanuel Appiah-Tahki. Auburn became the first program to offer the JUCO standout two weeks ago. He’s unrated and relatively unknown for the moment but that will likely change following his Auburn offer. He told AuburnUndercover’s Keith Niebuhr he plans to officially visit the Tigers in December. Definitely a name to watch over the new couple of months.
With Tennison likely joining the class tomorrow, Auburn will have two more DB spots left. What happens if all four of these prospects want on board? Not sure but that would be a good problem to have if it were to occur. For now, I like Auburn’s chances with Dennis and Appiah-Tahki best but it wouldn’t be a shocker if any of the four were to commit. It will be interesting to see who makes it to campus in the coming weeks.