The Tigers started June with a ton of momentum and are looking to keep it going over the summer months. Today, I am going to offer my take on what remaining top targets are the most important left on Auburn’s board. By “most important” I took a few things into consideration. First, whether or not that player can have an immediate impact at a crucial position of need. Second, what winning that race would mean in the larger perception of Auburn’s recruiting class. Finally, how likely that prospect is to actually pick Auburn. Here’s my breakdown of who would mean the most to Auburn if they were to sign with the Tigers in 2021.
1.) 5-star CB GaQuincy McKinstry | 5’11” | 172 lbs | Pinson, AL
Auburn has never signed a five star defensive back in the modern recruiting era. They have not signed the top player in the state of Alabama since Nick Saban’s arrival in Tuscaloosa. They could end both of those droughts this cycle if Auburn can reel in the nation’s 2nd ranked cornerback Ga’Quincy “Kool-Aid” McKinstry.
There’s a lot of reasons to be hopeful in this race. McKinstry wants to play both football and basketball in college which Auburn is selling hard. Auburn has been after McKinstry longer than most other top programs plus he’s close with his former high school teammate, now Auburn’s starting quarterback Bo Nix. But it’s hard to be optimistic given the history of elite cornerbacks in the state of Alabama rarely choosing the Tigers over the Tide. LSU also lurks as a legitimate threat in this race and Clemson can never be discounted. I expect a commitment to come by the end of July though he’s yet to publicly set a date.
2.) 4-star BUCK Jeremiah Williams | 6’3” | 224 lbs | Birmingham, AL
The Tigers need pass rushers. You would be hard pressed to find a better one in this class than Jeremiah Williams. A childhood fan of the Tigers, Williams has emerged as Auburn’s #1 Buck target in the 2021 class. Alabama, Florida and Oklahoma are also hard after the Ramsay standout with the Tide likely being the Tigers top competitor. But Williams is reportedly very close with Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn and there seems to be some confidence on the Tigers’ side that they are the team to beat in this race. Like McKinstry, I would not be surprised to see him commit by the end of next month even though he’s stated he plans to wait until December. Another important note, Williams and McKinstry are good friends and would like to play with each other at the next level. If the Tigers could get Williams on board it might help them land McKinstry.
3.) 5-star LB Smael Mondon | 6’3” | 220 lbs | Dallas, GA
Auburn’s linebacker corps returns in tact in 2020 and the Tigers just signed a loaded three man class last recruiting cycle. So in 2021, Auburn is swinging for the fences and looking to land one, at max two, elite linebacker signees. Mondon appears to be the top target.
Mondon is reportedly extremely close with Auburn linebackers coach Travis Williams and that relationship is what has the Tigers likely sitting at #2 in this race. But the Dawgs are always hard to beat for elite talent and there’s a ton of confidence he will soon be joining their 2021 class. The longer this plays out the better for Auburn in my opinion. Mondon has hinted that a commit could come this month.
4.) 4-star WR Christian Leary | 5’9” | 180 lbs | Orlando, FL
This has been a fascinating recruitment that will likely remain so until signing day. Leary is one of the most coveted wideouts in this class and arguably the fastest. Auburn offered the nation’s 130rd ranked prospect before his other two finalists Alabama and Florida. As I wrote during my preview series, Auburn actually felt like they might be the team to beat at the time. But Alabama and Oklahoma came on strong during the spring. The Sooners thought he would soon join their class before the Tide seemed to have surged ahead. Leary had a commit date set for June 6th. If he had kept to that date the pick likely would have been Alabama.
But things change. Auburn continued to stay after Leary and have built strong relationships with the explosive playmaker. Dematrius Davis’s commitment and subsequent recruitment efforts to get Leary to join Auburn has had a major impact. Leary is also sold on Chad Morris being able to get the most out of his talent. The Tigers now appear to be the team to beat once again and a decision could come soon. My hunch is this is the 2nd commit Davis was hinting at on Twitter last week but we will see. There’s already been a lot of movement in this race so I wouldn’t count this as a lock by any means. Even if the Tigers can land Leary this month they will have to fight hard to keep teams like Alabama and Florida at bay come signing day.
5.) 4-Star CB Nyland Green | 6’2” | 183 lbs | Covington, GA
As I mentioned during my preview series, I believe Green is the #1 cornerback in this class. That’s no shot at McKinstry who is a stud but I think Green has everything you want in a lockdown corner in the SEC. I also didn’t think Auburn had much of a shot just a few months ago but it appears things have changed in a good way for the Tigers.
Clemson has been viewed as the team to beat and might still be but per AuburnUndercover’s Keith Niebuhr, Auburn has made a serious push in this race. Green is close with former high school teammate and recent Auburn signee Deandre Butler. He’s also been to the Plains numerous times and is being sold on Auburn’s recent success putting corners in the league. Landing either Green or McKinstry likely means Auburn ends their five star cornerback drought. It’s also not out of the realm of possibility they snag both. That would be a historic haul if Auburn could pull it off. Still a long ways to go though in both of those races.
6.) 5-Star OT Tommy Brockermeyer / 5-Star OT Amarius Mims / 4-star OT Savion Byrd
I would have put Dylan Fairchild on this and probably in the #2 or #3 spot before his commitment to the Dawgs. I saw him as the most likely elite offensive tackle prospect left on Auburn’s board to sign with the Tigers. But with Fairchild committed to UGA, Auburn’s focus will likely now be on this trio of elite tackles.
Auburn appears to be running #3 for Brockermeyer behind Alabama and Texas. I personally think it’s a distant third but at least they are still in the race. The Tigers have shown the ability to make up ground in a hurry this offseason despite the visiting restrictions so maybe Chad Morris and Jack Bicknell can work their magic here. The bonus with signing Tommy is Auburn would likely also snag his twin brother and the nation’s #1 center prospect James Brockermeyer. Those two plus Auburn’s four current OL commits would be a heck of a job by Auburn’s new offensive line coach.
I continue to be skeptical that Auburn is a legit contender for Amarius Mims. Personally, I view the nation’s #2 ranked offensive tackle as an UGA commit despite his public statements that Alabama is the team to beat. Still, Mims has been to Auburn multiple times this spring and there’s some confidence on the Plains they are a legit contender. Mims wants to wait to make a decision which is good news for the Tigers. Maybe a strong performance on the field paired with a home run official visit could swing this thing to the good guys.
Finally, Savion Byrd is the wildcard on Auburn’s recruiting board. The Texas native is viewed as a virtual lock to SMU due in large part to his former high school coach being on the Mustangs staff. But I doubt he ends up signing with SMU in the end. LSU and Texas are believed to be the biggest threats to SMU but don’t count out Auburn. Byrd was at Auburn’s 2019 season opener vs Oregon and visited campus this spring. He reportedly recently had a virtual visit with the Tigers that went well. The Tigers shocked a lot of folks signing his former teammate Chris Thompson Jr last cycle. Can they do it again with Byrd?
7.) 4-Star S Kamren Kinchens | 5’11” | 190 lbs | Miami, FL
I am a big fan of Kamren Kinchens. The Miami native has quickly risen to the top of Auburn’s safety board. Wesley McGriff has made him a priority and he’s good friends with Auburn commit Phillip O’Brien Jr. A commitment is coming on July 11th and I like where Auburn sits. Don’t count out the hometown Canes though in this race. There’s confidence in Coral Gables they will keep Kinchens home. Auburn has had some success in recent cycles beating Miami on the trail, let’s hope that continues in July.
8.) 4-Star DT Marquis Robinson | 6’3” | 300 lbs | Milton, FL
Rodney Garner never stops looking for talent. After signing an absolutely loaded class in 2020, Coach G is looking to keep the cupboard well stocked up front in 2021. He already has a pledge from one of the nation’s best defensive tackle prospects in Lee Hunter. He could soon be adding another in Marquis Robinson.
Auburn was one of the first teams to offer Robinson and make him a priority. Florida State has emerged as the Tigers top competitor and are working hard to keep him in state. But as of today, Auburn looks tough to beat in this race. I wouldn’t be shocked if a commitment came by the end of July though Robinson has yet to set a public date. He fits the mold of a Dontavius Russell or Tyrone Truesdell in my opinion. A big, powerful, athletic interior force that could free up guys like Hunter to make some big plays.
9.) 4-Star WR Shadrach Banks | 6’0” | 210 lbs | Houston, TX
As of today, Banks appears to be firmly committed to Texas A&M. He grew up an Aggie fan and committed to Jimbo almost a year ago. But now two of his teammates, Dematrius Davis and Jaeden Roberts, are committed to the Tigers. They will undoubtedly be in his ear all year trying to get him to flip to the good guys. I think Auburn is going to have to show this fall that their passing game has taken a major step forward. If that happens, I think Auburn has a great shot at flipping the nation’s 14th ranked wideout.
10.) 4-Star DE Dylan Brooks | 6’5” | 240 lbs | Roanoke, AL
Finally, I don’t think the race to land Dylan Brooks’s pledge is over. He surprised many committing to Tennessee earlier this year and seems locked in right now. But this is a kid that was on Auburn’s campus for almost every home game the past two seasons and who comes from an Auburn family. If the Tigers can get him back for an official visit this fall, I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility they could pull off the flip.