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Auburn Football Recruiting: Tigers’ Eyes Upon Texas

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It’s pretty clear that Auburn’s recruiting focus this cycle won’t solely be on the same trio of states.

TODD VAN EMST / AUBURN ATHLETICS

Alabama, Florida and Georgia have been and will always be the bedrock states of Auburn’s recruiting efforts. If the Tigers signed a class consisting of only prospects from those 3 states they would likely still have a top 10 class. In fact, that’s basically what happened in 2015. But the ability to poach top talent in other states is important especially if another state has a particularly strong crop of prospects or is deep at a position group of need.

Lately, Auburn has started making a stronger push west with the focus mostly being on Mississippi. The 2019 Mississippi class was absolutely loaded, specifically on the defensive line, and the Tigers capitalized by snagging 3 highly rated defensive lineman (though one hopped into the transfer portal pretty quickly).

Last season, Auburn signed one of its more diverse classes in terms of states with that 7th ranked class being made up of prospects from 7 different states. Unsurprisingly, the meat of that group came from the familiar trio of Alabama (4), Florida (3) and Georgia (10). Interestingly, there was a tie for that 3rd spot with Florida. The state? Texas. And that trend isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

In the 2021 cycle, Auburn has already offered 37 prospects from the Lone Star State per 247. That’s the most of any previous class per 247 whose numbers go back to 1999 (though they start getting more unreliable after 2010). That’s a very noticeable shift in strategy for Auburn’s recruiting efforts.

So why the change? Well, first off, Texas puts out an enormous amount of talent every year. The Tigers have plucked some solid prospects from the state in recent history in the likes of Nosa Eguae, Emory Blake, Jarrett Stidham and Kam Martin. But the big reason is more likely tied to coaching staff changes.

When Auburn hired Marcus Woodson, they leaned heavily on his Mississippi connections to snag some highly rated targets in that 2019 class. They are now doing the same with Chad Morris who has a plethora of connections in the state of Texas. He graduated from Texas A&M, was a high school head coach in the state for 14 years and coached at SMU for 3 seasons. If you look back at his classes at SMU and Arkansas, they were all loaded with Texas talent. Now, Auburn is hoping those relationships Morris has cultivated over the years can help open up new pipelines for talent.

But offers are one thing. Getting commitments is what matters. That’s where Sunday’s commitment was so big for the Tigers. 4* QB Dematrius Davis is arguably the most decorated high school quarterback in that state this class having only lost a single game in the last 2 seasons while winning consecutive state titles against some of the best competition in the country. Kids know and respect him. Quarterbacks are typically the central pieces of a team’s offensive class, so getting Davis on board and recruiting now for Auburn is huge.

So who specifically might Davis help Auburn land down the road? Well I think it’s first important to mention that just because Davis has committed doesn’t mean Auburn is a lock to sign every top kid in the state. The Tigers still have A LOT of work ahead of them if they wish to continue to snag big time players from Texas but having someone like Davis lead the way is a great start.

To start though you have to look at his high school team. North Shore is always loaded with D1 talent and this year is no different. The two names to watch in the 2021 class are 4* WR Shadrach Banks and 4* OL Jaeden Roberts. Banks is a long time Texas A&M commit and there’s a lot of confidence in Aggieland that he will stick. Roberts’s recruitment is much more open but there are some heavy hitters Auburn will be competing against in the likes of Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M.

As for non Davis teammates, keep an on both 3* WR Latrelle Neville and 3* TE Lake McRee. Davis and Neville are close with many believing that their relationship played a major role in Nevile’s commitment to Virginia Tech. He’s reaffirmed his commitment recently on social media but that doesn’t mean a ton these days. As for McRee, he plays at another elite 6A D1 high school program in Lake Travis. The same program Chad Morris won two consecutive state titles at before leaving for Tulsa.

But Auburn’s efforts in Texas aren’t solely tied to one player. The Tigers have been hard after other big names before the momentum for flipping Davis began building. Twin brothers 5* OT Tommy Brockermeyer and 4* C James Brockermeyer were on campus for the Iron Bowl and had official visits scheduled for June before the shutdowns. 4* OT Savion Byrd attended Auburn’s dramatic season opening win over Oregon and was on campus earlier this spring. The Tigers have been in hot pursuit of speedster 4* WR Ketron Jackson for some time. They also recently made the top lists of 4* S Andrew Mukuba and 4* TE Dametrious Crownover. There’s also 3* RB Alton McCaskill who Carnell Williams is reportedly very high on as well.

There’s obviously a long ways to go in this 2021 class and nothing is certain in recruiting but it’s clear Auburn plans to do its best to recruit Texas more heavily this cycle. Landing Davis was a big first step towards this strategy proving successful and it would not surprise me at all if Auburn at least matched last class’s number of 3 signees from the Lone Star State.

War Eagle!