After a strong close to the month of May, Auburn’s recruiting efforts have hit a bit of a dry spell. Over the weekend, top safety target 4-star Kamren Kinchens committed to Miami over Auburn.
Interestingly, what proved to be one of the major deciding factors for Kinchens is the new NIL bill in Florida that would allow Kinchens to profit off his name, image and likeness. Here’s what he told InsideTheU’s Andrew Ivins:
“I feel like both schools were perfect for me when it came to the fit,” Kinchens said. “The more I want out of life is here in Miami. I just felt like a small college town and a big city town are two different things when it comes to the business side of things so with the [name, image and likeness thing, that basically became a plus to what I was already feeling from the UM staff.”
It’s a tough blow for the Tigers who felt good about where they stood not that long ago. I still expect Auburn to stay after the blue chip defender in hopes of pulling off a flip down the line, something not uncommon with regards to Miami commits. But for now, it appears Kinchens will stay home and play for the Miami Hurricanes, so let’s explore where the Tigers go from here.
First, Auburn has been trending the right direction recently with 4-star Ahmari Harvey out of Tallahassee, FL. Once again, the Tigers will have to convince a talented blue chip to spurn the local program and instead take his talents to the Plains. Florida State has long been seen as the favorite with Florida as a top challenger. We will see if Auburn can win this battle. Landing Harvey would more than makeup for missing on Kinchens.
Another name to monitor is Louisiana native 3-star Jah’von Grigsby. Auburn offered Grigsby in late March and he told Rivals.com that he almost committed on the spot. At that time, Purdue was believed to be the Tigers top contender but Michigan State as since jumped into the fray and have reportedly emerged the top team to beat. Grigsby plans to commit this month and with Kinchens off the board it wouldn’t shock me to see Auburn turn up the heat.
I’d also keep an eye on former Ole Miss commit 3-star MJ Daniels. Since he decommitted from the Rebels, most analysts seem to believe that Florida State, Mississippi State and Texas A&M are his top schools. There’s not a ton of Auburn buzz at the moment but things could change in the coming months.
More names will likely emerge, especially if Auburn were to miss on the targets mentioned above. Instead of another safety, Auburn could also just take an extra cornerback and slide him over to safety as needed. 5-star Ga’Quincy McKinstry, 4-star Markeivous Brown and 3-star Kamari Lassiter are three names that come to mind of kids versatile enough to play in different spots in the secondary.
In the end, I feel pretty confident Wesley McGriff will sign another solid DB class. Last cycle, Auburn signed one true safety in Chris Thompson Jr and another in Ladarius Tennison who could play there if things are too crowded at nickel. They also already have Phillip O’Brien Jr. committed who is expected to play back there for the Tigers. With both Smoke Monday and Jamien Sherwood being draft eligible though, I imagine Auburn wants at least two in this class if possible.