Auburn’s WR recruiting looked to be in dire straights in mid July. The Tigers were at one point believed to be leaders for 4-star Christian Leary and 3-star Adonai Mitchell. Instead, both decided to commit to Auburn’s rivals. It looked like Auburn would be on the hunt for plan B and plan C options.
Not so fast.
What looked unlikely two months ago became a reality this morning. One of Auburn’s longtime top targets, 4-star WR Malcolm Johnson Jr, announced on Instagram today that he plans to be a Tiger.
BREAKING: 4-star WR Malcolm Johnson Jr has committed to #Auburn over #Bama #UGA #LSU #UF — AND, there is more NEWS — He will reclassify and enroll at AU next week. Full coverage at https://t.co/7DGol0u3cr. #WDE pic.twitter.com/xqAeRyI1bc— Keith Niebuhr (@Keith247Sports) August 14, 2020
This is a HUGE victory for Kodi Burns and the staff. Alabama, Georgia and Oklahoma made Johnson a priority and at various times this year were believed to be the team to beat. But Auburn stayed after Johnson and a recent road trip allowed him to step foot on Auburn’s campus to help seal the deal. This is a massive pickup for the Tigers.
Not only though is Johnson committing to Auburn but he’s enrolling early and will be eligible to play this fall per AuburnUndercover’s Keith Niebuhr. With no high school football this fall in Virginia, Johnson thought it best to go ahead and begin his collegiate career. That adds to an already impressive 2020 WR class that featured four commits, three of which were blue chips. Chad Morris will have plenty of young weapons at his disposal this fall.
Johnson is a speedster. One of the fastest players in the 2021 class, Johnson is a threat to go the distance every time he touches the ball averaging over 17 yards a catch last fall. But his game is more than just speed. He’s a big kid at 6’1” 185 lbs with outstanding hands who wins with both speeds and great routes. Given his versatile skillset, Johnson could see action at both the 9 and 2 spot in Auburn’s offense. Expect to see Chad Morris to find a way to get this kid the ball early and often.
Johnson’s commitment is big for the Tigers but doubly so with him reclassifying to the 2020 class. That means that not only can he help Auburn immediately this fall but leaves a scholarship open in the 2021 class to be used either on another WR or another position of need.
Auburn will likely take at least one more wide receiver in the 2021 class possibly two if its the right two. Tar’varish Dawson gives Auburn flexibility to pursue the best on Auburn’s board at DB and WR as he can flip to either side of the ball. Keep an eye on three kids committed elsewhere in 4-star Isaiah Brevard (Oregon), 3-star Hal Presley (Baylor) and 3-star Roc Taylor (Tennessee). The Tigers are a threat to flip any from that group.
Johnson’s commitment should be a taste of what’s to come in the coming days. 4-star S Ahmari Harvey and 3-star CB Kamari Lassiter are set to make decisions next Friday and Saturday respectively. Landing both would move Auburn to #15 in the class rankings putting them in striking range for another top 10 class with 7-9 spots still to fill.