clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Auburn Football Recruiting: Early Look at 2022 Board

New, 1 comment

Breaking down some of Auburn’s top targets in next year’s class.

JAY HARE / DOTHAN EAGLE / https://dothaneagle.com/sports/high_school/despite-coronavirus-geneva-county-running-back-emmanuel-henderson-still-receiving-division-i-offers/article_16c0e812-81cf-11ea-918f-9bd77d54d6e0.html

Yesterday, 247 dropped their new top 247 for the 2022 class. No Auburn commits made the cut but a number of top targets were included. Here’s a breakdown of some early names to know at each position.

Quarterback

Auburn already has its quarterback for the 2021 class in Dematrius Davis thus allowing Chad Morris to shift his attention to finding his man for the 2022 cycle. I have previously written about Morris, Simpson and Bailey. The new name to highlight today is the nation’s top ranked player Quinn Ewers.

Ewers is being billed by 247 as the best QB prospect since Trevor Lawrence. The Southlake Carroll star threw for over 4,000 yards last season tossing 40 touchdowns while only throwing 3 picks. 247’s Crystal Balls and RivalsCast have four total picks for Oklahoma being his eventual school of choice but based off a recent interview with 247’s Steve Wiltfong, Ohio State might actually be the team to beat. Team number 2? That could very well be the Auburn Tigers:

“Obviously they’re one of the most watched football teams every year,” Ewers said. “Just that moment and playing for Auburn with all their fans and millions watching online, it’s crazy to think about playing in front of that big of crowd and atmosphere, it’s just crazy.

“Coach Morris is awesome. I’ve known him for a little bit and I know people coached by him and they say he’s an awesome coach. Even my coaches at my high school have been coached by him at Lake Travis and say he’s an awesome guy to get coached by. Really smart.”

He was scheduled to visit the Plains before the pandemic broke and visits were cancelled. I expect him to make that trek eventually though once visits are allowed again. While it will be tough for Auburn to win this race, it’s clear the Tigers are a major factor alongside Clemson (who has yet to offer but could soon), Ohio State, Oklahoma and Texas. I still believe Simpson is the likeliest man to be Auburn’s 2022 QB commit but Auburn is a legitimate candidate to snag the best player in next year’s class.

Running Back

The recruitment likely to dominate Auburn fans attention next cycle is Emmanuel Henderson’s. Ranked the nation’s best running back in the 2022 class by 247 and #21 overall, Henderson is one of the most explosive offensive playmakers in next year’s class. He rushed for nearly 2,000 yards last fall and 32 touchdowns for Geneva County. Interestingly, 247’s player comp for Henderson is Kerryon Johnson. The Tigers are believed to be the early favorite but this is going to an Iron Bowl battle to the finish. Could Carnell Williams sign three straight top 5 running backs? That’s where things are heading for the moment. Cadillac is working hard to return Auburn to RBU glory.

Wide Receiver

Following an outstanding 2020 class, it’s been a bit of a struggle on the trail for Kodi Burns in the 2021 cycle. There are still some big names on the board though and with athletes like Tar’varish Dawson and Landen King already committed, Auburn can afford to be picky. As for the 2022 cycle, it’s so early that’s it’s a bit difficult to get a good handle on the WR board. Bonner recently told InsideThe AuburnTigers’s Jason Caldwell that Auburn’s offer was a big deal and Texas native Randy Masters appears to be close with Dematrius Davis. This is a position that will likely become more clear in the coming months.

Tight End

As long as Chad Morris is on staff, I expect Auburn to try and sign at least one tight end every cycle. But given the recent success on the trail signing talented tight ends, Auburn might be able to skip it in 2022 if they can’t get a truly elite target.

Offensive Line

The early returns on Jack Bicknell Jr as a recruiter have been pretty durn good. If he can somehow reel in any of 5-star Tommy Bockermeyer, 5-star Amarius Mims, 4-star Savion Byrd or 4-star James Brockermeyer this class immediately becomes one of the best Auburn has signed in some time. Even without any of those names it’s a strong group. The Tigers are likely to sign at least 5 OL in the 2021 class and could go as high as 6.

For 2022, I expect Auburn to sign a smaller group but hopefully not the tiny ones of cycles past. In my opinion, Auburn should aim to sign 4 offensive lineman every cycle. You don’t wanna just take bodies to have them so signing 3 on the occasion isn’t terrible but if Auburn can consistently bring in 4 man classes, depth should not be a problem moving forward.

In next year’s cycle you can really see Bicknell’s philosophy at work. It’s clear Auburn’s new OL coach prefers to target bigger players that can play tackle with the option to slide inside over Grimes’s preference of guards that he converts to tackles. Of Auburn’s 15 offensive line offers for 2022, 14 are to players listed as offensive tackles per 247. That single interior lineman, Kanaya Chartlon, is 6’6” 329 lbs. Bicknell is going to sign some big fellas.

The two names to keep the closest eye on early are Banks and Shor. Banks recently decommitted from Oklahoma State and is interested in visiting Auburn per Keith Niebuhr. Shor is an Auburn legacy who the Tigers made an early priority going back to Grimes’s tenure. Expect more names to emerge in the coming months. Also expect those names to be of very large human beings.

Defensive Line

There is a lot of DL talent in the states of Alabama and Georgia in the 2022 cycle. That’s obviously a very good thing for the Tigers as you will be hard pressed to find a better recruiter of those states than Rodney Garner. The Tigers have a chance to once again sign a loaded DL class in 2021. Don’t expect that to change in 2022 either. Perry is a name to keep a close eye on as he’s been heavily recruited by not only Garner but by Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn since he was an 8th grader. That will be a heated battle between the two instate programs.

Linebacker

After signing a loaded 2020 class, Travis Williams has only 1 maybe 2 spots to work with in 2021. That’s why the focus has been on elite targets 5-star Smael Mondon, 4-star Xavian Sorey and 4-star Barrett Carter. However, in 2022, T-WILL should have more spots to work with which is good news as next year’s linebacker class is loaded.

Three of Auburn’s top targets are already ranked in the top 100 for next year’s cycle. Both Daniel Martin and Jaron Willis are GA natives so you know the Tigers will have to fight hard to steal them from Kirby Smart. LSU is also a program to keep an eye on with Martin. Jalon Walker is a North Carolina native who already holds an offer from Clemson. Those are going to be some big time battles, something Travis Williams makes a frequent habit of participating in.

Instate wise, TJ Dudley already holds offers from both Auburn and Alabama. He’s only been to Auburn once so undoubtedly once visits are allowed again, the Tigers will work hard to get him back on campus as soon as possible. Coach T-WILL has quickly turned Auburn’s linebacker corps into one of the best in the country and I don’t see that changing soon. If KJ Britt and/or Owen Pappoe can hear their names called in the 1st round, it would add some serious ammunition to Williams’s already formidable recruiting pitch.

Defensive Back

Auburn’s 2022 DB recruiting is off to a strong start. The Tigers lone two pledges in the 2022 class are both DBs. I suspect Auburn will attempt to sign a minimum of four DBs in this class, probably more.

The two top men on the board, Denver Harris and Trequon Fagans, have some positive connections to the Tigers. Auburn has made some tremendous inroads into North Shore this past cycle landing Dematrius Davis and Jaeden Roberts. They are still trying to flip Shadrach Banks as well. In the 2022 class, Denver Harris will be the most coveted member of the Mustangs and Auburn is deep in this race.

As for Fegans, he’s a standout at Oxford High School. The same program KJ Britt starred at before coming to the Plains. Auburn also recently offered Fegans’s teammate Roc Taylor. If they can flip Taylor that sure wouldn’t hurt their chances with Fegans.

Bobby Taylor is another Texan strongly considering the Tigers. He included Auburn in his top 12 earlier this month. Dominick Fields also listed Auburn in his top group this past weekend. Both are names to watch closely in next year’s cycle.

Finally, Auburn was the first program to offer Fairhope star TJ Banks doing so last week. Tennessee immediately followed suit. Banks has a number of family members that attended Auburn and given the Tigers being the first to pull the trigger, you have to like Auburn’s chances early. Long way to go and it looks unlikely any decisions will come in 2020.

War Eagle!