Just two weeks ago, Auburn’s four man class was ranked #50 by 247 Team Composite. Two weeks and five commits later, Auburn has surged up 29 spots to #21 overall. Not a bad way to end the month of May.
With June right around the corner and more booms likely to come in the near future, it felt like a good time to take a high level look at Auburn’s current 2021 class. Often times, fans tend to focus more on whose next and less on who is already on board so I wanted to highlight what are likely to be the foundational pieces not only of this class but for the future of Auburn football.
Hunter is Auburn’s second longest tenured commit having pulled the trigger last December. The 6’5” 292 lb defensive tackle out of Blount High School is coming off a strong junior campaign where he racked up 77 tackles, 23 tackles for loss and eight sacks while also forcing three fumbles and recovering another two. He will be an immediate impact player for the Tigers next season if they can hold onto his pledge. Hunter is still being heavily pursued by Alabama, Georgia, Florida State and Tennessee. When campuses reopen, I fully expect to see Hunter take official visits to all those schools plus Auburn. The Tigers will have to fight to hang onto his pledge but as of today I feel good about that happening. He’s the central piece of this 2021 defensive class.
Between Goodwin missing the majority of his junior season due to an ACL injury and being Auburn’s longest committed class member, it’s easy for Auburn fans to forget that one of the best running backs in the 2021 class is already committed to the Tigers. Carnell Williams landed Goodwin’s pledge just over a year ago and the Hewitt-Trussville standout appears locked in with the Tigers. He’s flying under the radar right now but don’t be surprised if he challenges for a 5th star before this cycle is over. Despite only playing in three games last fall, Goodwin rushed for 485 yards on 52 carries. That’s 9.3 yards a touch. Oh and he scored on 10 of those 52 carries. He’s unquestionably one of the most explosive backs in this class.
Originally a Virginia Tech commit, Davis decommitted from the Hokies early May before committing to the Tigers nine days later. After Chad Morris came aboard, Auburn parted ways with former pledge, turned NC State commit Aaron McLaughlin and focused in on Davis. Landing Davis not only gives Auburn one of the best dual threat QB prospects in this class but one of the best leaders in the 2021 class. Davis has reportedly been hard at work for the Tigers behind the scenes in an attempt to load this class with weapons for the future. I am very excited to have Bo Nix and Dematrius Davis in the QB room next season.
Auburn’s most recent commit, Roberts is a massive prospect with tremendous upside. Teammates with Dematrius Davis, he helped lead North Shore to a 2nd consecutive state title last season. Roberts held offers from some of the top programs in the country including Alabama, LSU and Texas A&M. The Tigers will likely have to withstand some serious late pushes from those programs and others when things reopen but I feel pretty confident he will stick. He’ll compete early for playing time at right guard for the Tigers.
You could make the argument that Johnson is Auburn’s most important commit to date. The Tigers have not signed a blue chip offensive tackle prep prospect since 2017 when they landed Calvin Ashley and Austin Troxell. Johnson’s stock has been on the rise since last fall, climbing the rankings most every update. He’s likely need a year of strength training before being ready to compete for playing time but it would not shock me at all if Johnson takes over one of the tackle spots relatively early in his career. Auburn beat out Florida, Florida State and Notre Dame for Johnson’s pledge and will likely have to fend them off come signing day.
Dawson ended Auburn’s month and a half long commit drought when he announced two weeks ago he plans on being the Tiger. That was the first of three commits that day and one of the sneakier pickups to date. Dawson is a speedy athlete whose future position isn’t locked into place just yet. While I personally see him as a defensive back for the Tigers, he will reportedly get a shot at offense too when he arrives. It’s worth mentioning that Chad Morris was his lead recruiter so that opportunity is legit. He’s an exciting athlete that I fully expect will find a way to make an impact on the field in some way during his career.
I’m an admitted big fan of O’Brien and his upside. The Florida native was a surprise commit during junior day earlier this year. He was pegged as a virtual lock to Florida State but loved his visit to the Plains so much he decided to go ahead and pull the trigger. Don’t expect the Noles to go away, especially now that Marcus Woodson is in charge of that secondary but O’Brien appears to be rock solid as of today. I love his upside and would not be surprised to see him shoot up the rankings this fall.
Langlo was the final commit on that fateful Friday when Auburn’s class nearly doubled in twelve hours. Teammates with Caleb Johnson, Langlo’s recruitment exploded this spring landing offers from Auburn, Mississippi State and Florida State. There was some confidence in Tallahassee that once Langlo was offered he would quickly become a Nole but his relationships with Auburn’s coaching staff and the opportunity to possibly see the field early was enough for the Tigers to win his pledge. Langlo is the “thinnest” of Auburn’s commits coming in at a tiny 270 lbs at 6’7”. This 2021 OL class is one of giants.
Gooch’s commitment came as a bit of a surprise in April. There hadn’t really been any buzz around his recruitment outside of Tennessee likely being the leader. But Gooch connected with Auburn’s staff and likes the early playing time opportunity the Tigers can provide. An absolute giant at 6’8” 358 lbs, Gooch’s highlight tape might be the most entertaining of any of Auburn’s current commits. I don’t expect him to be a day 1 impact player but he’s someone that down the line could develop into an SEC left tackle. Despite his size, Gooch is an outstanding athlete and it’s hard not to get excited about his potential upside.