Over the next 2 weeks, we will be taking a position by position look at the top targets on Auburn’s 2021 board. This is a first pass at who might be looking at Auburn the hardest this early in the cycle and whom Auburn might have the most interest in. However, recruiting is fluid and these lists will likely change.
Last offseason, Gus Malzahn decided he needed to increase the recruiting firepower of his coaching staff. That meant taking a bit of a gamble by moving on from well respected running backs coach Tim Horton and bringing on an unproven recruiter but Auburn legend Carnell Williams. Coach ‘Lac had some experience working at IMG and in the AAF but none as a D1 coach. So could he go out on the road for the first time ever and go toe to toe with some of the top coaching staffs in the country to land elite talent?
Turns out he could.
Carnell’s debut as a recruiter went about as well as any fan could have hoped. He beat out former Auburn Tiger turned recruiting villain Dell McGee to secure the pledge of top 50 prospect Tank Bigsby. Now we will see if last year was a one hit wonder or if Auburn is returning to its former glory of Running Back U. Early returns point towards the latter.
While Tank Bigsby was unquestionably Carnell Williams’s biggest win on the 2020 recruiting trail, it wasn’t his first win as a recruiter. That came in Goodwin. The Hewitt-Trussville standout committed to the Tigers last May. Now Cadillac will have to hold onto his pledge as every major program in the nation will likely come knocking on Goodwin’s door in the coming months. As of today though he appears very solid due to his close relationship with Williams.
An ACL injury robbed Goodwin of his junior campaign but in just limited action you can see the talent. He’s not a massive kid but he’s well built and absolutely explosive. Backs with both his explosiveness and wiggle have a chance to be special in today’s modern spread offense world. The big question will be can he get back to full strength after his major knee injury. If he can and puts together a strong senior season, he has a chance to challenge for the #1 RB ranking.
An early candidate for best name in the 2021 class, Lovasea Carroll was a very early commit to the Gamecocks last April. However, he reopened things after visiting the Tigers in the fall and recently released a top group of Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Ohio State and South Carolina. He recently named the Gators his leader but AU might be the team running #2 at the moment. Carroll was expected to take an official visit to the Plains next week but that’s obviously not going to happen. We will see how that affects Carroll’s decision timeline.
Carroll put up a 4.5 forty yard dash at The Opening Regional last spring and all that speed is on display in his tape. When you then see he has the frame to grow to 200-205 lbs without losing that burst you can get why most every major program in the southeast is after this kid. If there’s a question mark it’s probably his change of direction as he’s not as smooth in his cuts as other backs in this class. But his upside is tremendous and Carroll is a player Carnell Williams is reportedly extremely high on.
Cody Brown has been running around and through defenses for awhile now. Becoming a starter as a sophomore, Brown broke onto the recruiting scene with a 1,588 yard, 25 touchdown season in 2018. Auburn offered not long after the season ended that year and have been after the Parkview star ever since. So has most every SEC program with Georgia, Florida and Tennessee thought to be Auburn’s toughest competition at the moment.
The Tigers already have lightning in this class in the form of Armoni Goodwin. If they wish to add some thunder, they won’t find a better prospect than Cody Brown. At 6’0” 225 lbs, Brown is a load to bring down in the backfield. Not only is he powerful, he’s got enough explosiveness that once he finds a lane it’s likely 6 points. What also jumps out is his short area quickness which allows him to make would be defenders miss in the backfield before exploding for huge chunks of yardage. He’s averaging over 8 yards a carry in his high school career with over 50+ TDs. In my opinion, he’s one of the best fits for Malzahn’s downhill power rushing attack in the 2021 class.
White doesn’t yet hold an offer from either Auburn or Alabama but he’s a name to watch this fall. The Tigers hosted him for an unofficial visit in early March and wanted to evaluate him in person this spring before handing out an offer. That’s obviously on hold for now but a strong season in the fall could see him jump up the Tigers’ board in a hurry.
While not the biggest back in this class, White is a tenacious runner who rarely goes down on first contact. He consistently keeps his feet moving through contact which allows him to earn extra yards. White also has some nice burst which makes him a threat to go the distance any time he gets free.