Over the next
2 weeks 2-3ish 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.
talk commiserate over everyone’s favorite position: offensive tackle. Last year was a wild ride for Auburn’s OT recruiting but it ended as it has for 3 years now, 0 blue chip prep talent. The good news is AU made up for missing on prospects like Broderick Jones and Javion Cohen by landing two of the top JUCO prospects in the country. And now with spring cancelled, both will have a great shot at cracking the starting lineup in 2020.
But at some point, Auburn has to start consistently signing blue chip prep talent. What I mean by “blue chip prep talent” is prospects rated a 4* or higher coming out of high school. Every other big time program in the SEC is doing that pretty consistently, not so much for Auburn. In 2017, Auburn signed 5* Calvin Ashley and 4* Austin Troxell. Those were the last 2 signees coming out of high school to have been ranked as an OT and be rated a 4* or higher. For comparison, here are how many blue chip prep prospects Auburn’s top rivals have signed over that same time period (2018-2020)
- Georgia - 6
- Florida - 5
- Alabama - 4
- LSU - 2
- Texas A&M - 2
I think the Tigers have enough OT talent to find 2 capable starters in 2020 but the depth looks razor thin at the moment, especially if someone like Austin Troxell goes down with another knee injury. If that is going to change, Auburn must start bringing in four year players who can contribute which means signing more blue chip prep talent. Here’s a look at the names that could help Auburn end the drought in 2021.
One game rarely wins a commitment for a program. One game though can change how a prospect views that program. Tommy Brockermeyer and his twin brother James Brockermeyer traveled to the Plains for the Iron Bowl last fall. In truth, they were there to watch Alabama, a program that probably leads in their recruitments but thought it would be nice to check out another SEC program. Following that visit, Auburn was squarely in their top group. The Tigers are still probably a long shot in this race behind Alabama and Texas but they are at least in the race. Both, if able, will take an official visit to Auburn later this summer. If that visit actually happens, maybe it can be enough to push Auburn ahead.
Unfortunately, Brockermeyer does not have any recent tape available but here’s 247’s scouting report on the nation’s #7 player.
Big-framed offensive tackle with outstanding football pedigree. Possesses requisite height and frame potential for elite tackle prospect. Plays with active feet and encouraging leg drive. Shows better than expected pad level and leverage relative to height and frame length. Plays with a high motor and displays block-finishing ability. Gets to second level well. Owns a very high ceiling as a pass-blocker and true left tackle potential. Occasionally plays with too much forward lean. Can get too far out over his feet. Hand placement consistency could use work. Missed junior year with a shoulder injury. One of the top offensive tackles nationally in the 2021 class. Possesses early-round NFL Draft potential.
And here’s Tom Lemming’s breakdown on Brockermeyer. SBNation recently partnered with longtime recruiting guru Tom Lemming so if you want a copy of his 2020 Prep Football Report, use the code sb20 & click the link the link! http://www.tomlemmingprepfootball.com/buy-now.
His father, Blake, was a Prep Football Report All-American and on the cover of one of our issues years ago. Tommy has as much or more potential as his father Blake.
On Film–He shows excellent feet, long arms, and natural strength. His technique is solid as is his hand placement. A very intelligent, active, and aggressive run blocker, he’s also a tough and durable tackle with terrific agility. When you watch his film you see an athlete with natural knee bend and the technique you look for in either a tackle or guard at the next level. He dominates the point of attack and dominated everyone he went up against in the 2018 season. “He’s the best young offensive lineman I’ve seen in the past twenty years,” said one conference coach.
Favorite Schools–Looking at TX, AL, and MI, but the Longhorns could be tough to beat.
Mims is another extremely talented OT prospect out of the Peach State who has been on Auburn’s campus a number of times. But I am going to be honest folks. I will be stunned if Mims is an Auburn Tiger next fall. He actually expressed displeasure over Auburn’s Iron Bowl victory since he was cheering for Alabama (while on a visit to Auburn). Throw in Auburn’s lack of success landing elite OTs, especially ones being pursued by Alabama and Georgia, and it feels like this is a race AU has little shot of winning. Still, he has been to Auburn twice already this year and will likely officially visit when possible, so there’s still a chance at least.
Mims doesn’t have any junior tape available but you can get a good feel for his talent from his sophomore highlights. First off, he’s a massive dude at 6’7” 315 lbs. He will step on campus ready to contribute as a true freshman. Despite that size, he’s a tremendous athlete with surprisingly light feet and a devastating punch. For my money, he’s the best offensive tackle in this class.
If I were making a list of the most important targets on Auburn’s board right now, Johnson would be no lower than #3, maybe #1. Why? Well for a few reasons. First, he’s a blue chip prep prospect that’s actually favoring Auburn, which as previously discussed, is not something all that common these days. Second, he’s durn good and would have a chance to see playing time very early in his career. Auburn was one of the first programs to offer Johnson which should serve them well now that his recruitment has exploded. Keep an eye on Florida State and Notre Dame in this race as well. Both are hard after the Ocala native.
What jumps out when watching Johnson is his impressive combination of length and flexibility. He’s got the frame to bulk up to 310+ lbs while not losing any of his bend. Johnson excels as a run blocker, consistently displacing his opponent and getting to the 2nd level. As a pass protector, the tools are there to be outstanding though he might need a year or two to build the lower body strength to hold up in the SEC. Overall, Johnson is the exact type of prep OT prospect Auburn has failed to sign for 3 years now and a must get in 2021.
It’s been a big three months for the West Forsyth standout. He’s landed offers from Auburn, Georgia, LSU, Florida State, Penn State and South Carolina. All this attention comes after a break out junior campaign. The three teams though to watch at the moment are Auburn, Georgia and South Carolina. The Tigers were thought to be the team to beat a month ago but things have gotten interesting with UGA’s entrance into the race. If Johnson is 1A on the needs list, Fairchild is 1B. Landing both would give Auburn the type of OL class they really need to start signing more consistently.
Fairchild is listed as an offensive guard by 247 but Auburn likes him at OT. He could slide inside if needed but Jack Bicknell wants to start Fairchild out on the outside. A wrestling state champ, when Fairchild gets his paws on you, it’s game over. Fairchild plays with fantastic pad level showing a strong understanding of leverage and how to get the most out of his strength. He’s very athletic, which you can see when he’s stuffing ball carriers in the backfield as a defensive lineman. He could play anywhere on the OL at the next level and will likely be one of the top ranked OL in the state of GA this cycle.
More Texas flavor to Auburn’s recruiting board. Wykoff was set to visit AU right before everything got shutdown by COVID-19. The Tigers made his top 8 but he hasn’t yet made it to campus. This is a recruitment where the inability to host visitors could hurt the Tigers. Instate programs Texas and Texas A&M are probably the programs to watch at the moment.
Versatile athlete that could slide inside if needed at the next level. Wykoff is extremely physical and excels at both run and pass blocking. He excels in handling under sized speed rushers and rarely gives up the edge. Will need to continue to get stronger and improve his initial punch but the tools are there to develop into a quality SEC offensive lineman.
Auburn has some work to do in this race but if they can get Carson on campus things could get interesting fast. The Texan took a trip to Fayetteville right before visits were suspended and left with the Hogs on top. Baylor and Mississippi State are two teams to keep an eye on as well.
Carson has one of the nastier punches in this class. He fires off the ball ready to hit someone. You won’t have to teach this kid aggressiveness. Where he will need some time to grow is as a pass protector but there’s no debating this kid has a chance to be a very good lineman at the next level.