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Auburn Football Recruiting: National Signing Day Preview

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It will probably be a quiet day for the Tigers.

https://twitter.com/burks_mb/status/1212194652255924224

Somehow we have come to the end of the 2020 recruiting cycle. In yonder times, there was no Early Signing Period meaning National Signing Day was THE day and it was often a circus. However, with the majority of the 2020 class having already signed, there will likely be very little drama tomorrow, especially for the Auburn Tigers.

Tigers Pickup Preferred Walk On

Before we talk about what to expect tomorrow, I think it’s important to highlight an interesting pickup the Tigers got yesterday. 3* QB Sawyer Pate lead Thompson to a state championship which included thrashing Central, a program with some familiar names on it for Auburn recruiting fans in 4* WR EJ Williams and 4* OT Javion Cohen. Pate threw for over 3,000 yards, 41 touchdowns and 3 interceptions in 2019 yet did not receive a single offer. However, Auburn might prove the beneficiary as they offered the Thompson standout a preferred walk on opportunity this past weekend and yesterday he accepted.

Pate is listed as a pro style quarterback but has some elusiveness to his game. He might not break off many 20+ yard scampers but he’s quick enough to escape pressure in the backfield and pickup positive yardage if it’s there. At 6’1” 210 lbs, he’s a well built kid with the size to play at the next level. His delivery is a bit funky but he’s insanely accurate completing almost 75% of his passes this past season. Don’t be surprised if this kid ends up on scholarship in the not too distant future. He’s got a chance to at least battle for that backup spot this fall.

National Signing Day Preview

Considering Auburn signed 23 players back in December and already has pledges from two other blue chip prospects, tomorrow shouldn’t be a too dramatic day for the Tigers. Here’s a quick breakdown on who has already signed and who to watch out for tomorrow.

Auburn Early Enrollees

  • 5* RB Tank Bigsby
  • 4* DL Zykeivous Walker
  • 4* WR Kobe Hudson
  • 4* DB Ladarius Tennison
  • 4* S Chris Thompson Jr
  • 3* Buck Romello Height
  • 3* OT Kilian Zierer
  • 3* C Avery Johnson
  • 3* OG Tate Johnson
  • 3* QB Chayil Garnett

Auburn Signees

  • 4* LB Wesley Steiner
  • 4* DL Jay Hardy
  • 4* WR Ze’Vian Capers
  • 4* WR J.J. Evans
  • 4* DB Eric Reed Jr
  • 4* TE J.J. Pegues
  • 4* LB Desmond Tisdol
  • 4* LB Cam Riley
  • 4* CB Marco Domio
  • 3* OT Brenden Coffey
  • 3* DL Daniel Foster-Allen
  • 3* WR Elijah Canion
  • 3* OL Jeremiah Wright

Auburn Commits

  • 4* DL Deandre Butler
  • 4* TE Brandon Frazier

Auburn Targets

With only 1-2 spots left, Auburn doesn’t have much room for new additions. The Tigers took some big swings in the late period but it looks like they will come up empty for the most part. There’s always a chance of a late surprise or a name that hasn’t been reported popping up (ala JaTarvious Whitlow not too long ago). For now though these are the names to follow. I am using the same confidence prediction I did back in December:

As for my predictions, I am gonna add a confidence level of Lock (VERY confident in pick), 50/50 (leaning that direction but far from certain) and No Idea (literally just me guessing).

Here we go...

5* OT Broderick Jones | 6’5” | 298 lbs | Lithonia, GA | Georgia Commit

Contenders: Arkansas, Auburn, Georgia, Illinois

What was supposed to be the biggest storyline for Auburn heading into National Signing Day turned into a bit of a dud. After electing not to sign early and telling reporters at the Under Armour All-America Game that things were “50/50” between Auburn and Georgia, there was some understandable excitement about what might happen in this race come February 5th. The Tigers had the last visit and it was thought that might be enough to push them over in this race.

Except he never took that visit...

UGA’s coaching staff visited Jones on Friday evening to watch him play basketball and then stayed all the way to midnight preventing him from making the trip to the Plains. However, he still could have shown up on Saturday or Sunday but instead elected to cancel the trip all together. I know there have been some internet rumors that maybe he made to campus for a secret unofficial but I doubt those to be true. Once again, Auburn will sign another recruiting class without a single blue chip (meaning 4* or 5*) offensive tackle.

Lovely...

Prediction: Georgia (Lock)

4* DT McKinnley Jackson | 6’2’ | 327 lbs | Lucedale, MS

Contenders: Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Texas A&M

This one has felt unlikely for some time and barring a true shocker I don’t see Jackson putting on an Auburn cap tomorrow morning. The Mississippi standout took an official visit to the Plains last fall but it appears the Tigers are sitting #4 in this race. There was a lot of Alabama buzz up until this weekend and now it appears the Aggies might have snuck ahead. I really don’t know where he goes other than it won’t be Auburn so I’ll take the safe pick and go Bama. They annoyingly tend to win these types of battles more often than they lose.

Prediction: Alabama (No Idea)

4* DL Princely Umanmielen | 6’4” | 249 lbs | Manor, TX

Contenders: Auburn, Baylor, Florida, Texas

When Umanmielen decommited from the Longhorns back in October, it was thought Auburn would be a major factor in this race. However, he never made it to campus that fall. It was reported he might take an official visit to the Plains this past weekend but Auburn apparently decided to part ways. With so little spots left, it appears they won’t use that last one on a defensive lineman. I think the Gators are the darkhorse in this race but I am gonna pick he ends up signing with the program he had been committed to last fall.

Prediction: Texas (No Idea)

3* DT Marquis Burks | 6’3” | 285 lbs | Chicago, IL

Contenders: Auburn

I do expect at least one Boom tomorrow in the form of the nation’s #4 ranked JUCO defensive tackle. The Tigers are looking for depth in the interior of its defensive line next season and see Burks as someone that can provide it. Rodney Garner scouted quite a few top JUCO defensive tackles and settled on Burks last fall. That says a lot about this kid’s potential. He never took any other official visits after his Auburn one in December.

Prediction: Auburn (Lock)

3* CB Alfahiym Walcott | 6’1” | 190 lbs | Wilmington, NC

Contenders: Auburn, Baylor

Walcott showed up suddenly on Auburn’s radar last week. The Tigers offered the JUCO standout and then hosted him on an official visit last Thursday and Friday. If Auburn decides to push I think they would have a great chance at landing him. However, it does not appear that is happening at this time. Dave Aranda hosted Walcott right after his Auburn OV and it appears the Bears are the team to beat right now. Anything can change over the next 24 hours but as of this morning, I don’t see Walcott landing in this class.

Prediction: Baylor (50/50)

3* OT Brady Ward | 6’7” | 310 lbs | Mobile, AL

Contenders: Arkansas, Auburn, Ole Miss

There was another interesting visitor this past weekend. Brady Ward is a massive human being at 6’7” 310 lbs with an impressive reported offer list. However, I am not sure how many of those offers are actually committable. Ole Miss is reportedly considering giving him a grayshirt opportunity. The Tigers appear to be offering either a preferred walk on spot or a blueshirt. My guess is unless an SEC program comes in late with a full ride, Ward takes the Auburn offer. This could end up being a sneaky pickup down the road for the Tigers.

Prediction: Auburn (50/50)

Final Thoughts

It was going to be hard to top Auburn’s excellent Early Signing Day given how few spots remained in this class and the fact the Tigers picked up commitments already from two top targets. The Jones news hurts, especially since all the buzz heading into his Georgia OV was that Auburn had the momentum. But overall, this a solid class for the Tigers and one that has a chance to fill some immediate needs for next season. We will see if this staff has anymore surprises hidden up their sleeves and given their history of hitting on late additions (Daniel Thomas, Tyrone Truesdell, Boobee Whitlow), I wouldn’t put it past the Tigers to sign another under the radar stud tomorrow. Otherwise, they will likely use that last spot in the graduate transfer market.

War Eagle!