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2022 Class Preview: Defensive Tackle

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Some intriguing prospects in this group.

4-star DT Khurtiss Perry
https://twitter.com/KhurtissPerry/status/1312074205668749317/photo/4

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be taking a closer look at some of the top early targets for the Tigers in the 2022 class.

I won’t lie. I have a little uneasiness heading into the 2022 cycle when it comes to defensive line recruiting. Stability eluded Gus Malzahn for much of his tenure but one area Auburn always seemed to be consistently good was on the defensive line. That’s been Rodney Garner’s domain since 2013 and it’s a bit weird heading into a recruiting cycle without him in charge of things up front.

The good news is I think Nick Eason has a chance to be an outstanding recruiter in his own right. He’s got a dynamic personality and NFL experience. Is he up for the 24/7, 365 day grind of trying to convince the top high school talent in the country that Auburn is the best place for them? It’s impossible to know which is why it’s hard not to feel just a tad uncertain heading into this new cycle.

So here’s an early look at some names to know on the defensive line in the 2022 class. The list is a little lengthy because it’s so early and I am just unsure who is a priority for Eason right now.


5-star Walter Nolen | 6’4’ | 300 lbs | Cordova, TN

Recruitment

I mentioned last week that this is a really strong 2022 class in the state of Tennessee. A big reason why is Walter Nolen. The nation’s #2 ranked player released a top 10 last week that included the Auburn Tigers. Unfortunately, I think Auburn is 8th at best on that list which means Nick Eason has a lot of work to do in this recruitment.

Scouting Report

It’s very easy to see why Nolen is considered one of the best players in the 2022 class. He possesses elite quickness in a massive 6’4” 300 lb frame. He’s got an incredibly quick first step that allows him to consistently beat blockers at the snap and cause disruption in the backfield. Plays with impressive pad level and shows the ability to win with his hands. Also displays an impressive motor something that can be questionable at times for top rated defensive lineman.


4-star Khurtiss Perry | 6’3” | 267 lbs | Montgomery, AL

Recruitment

There are a few recruitments this cycle that I have circled as indicators for what kind of recruiters this new Auburn staff can be. This is one of those recruitments. It would be a shock if Perry left the state of Alabama though you can never sleep on Georgia. Alabama has long been considered the leader but the Tigers are working hard to change things and fortunately should have time to do so as Perry plans to take his recruitment slowly. Losing this recruitment doesn’t mean this new staff stinks because Perry has long been a Tide lean. But winning this battle would be a major shot across Saban’s bow. Can Nick Eason, Derek Mason, and Bryan Harsin get it done?

Scouting Report

Perry is a big time athlete. He lines up all over the field for Park Crossing and also plays on their basketball team. He’s got great length and a lean frame that can pack on muscle without losing explosiveness. He had an insane junior season totaling over 150 tackles, 11 sacks and 13 TFL. Might end up ranked the #1 player in the state before this cycle is over.


4-star Jaheim Oatis | 6’4” | 349 lbs | Columbia, MS

Recruitment

Oatis has been on college programs’ radars since he was in middle school earning multiple SEC offers while in the 8th grade. Alabama, LSU, and Ole Miss are believed to be the top contenders but Auburn has had some success in the Magnolia state recently. Given Mason’s history of using a true nose tackle, I imagine the Tigers will try to get involved in this race in the coming months. We’ll see if they can make any headway.

Scouting Report

There’s not any junior tape publicly available on Oatis but you can see in his sophomore film why he’s been so highly sought after for so long. He’s an absolutely massive human being who is the definition of a gap stuffer. Despite his absurd size, he’s still an excellent athlete showing the ability to change direction quickly enough to make plays on ball carriers in the backfield. Absolutely someone you want clogging the A gaps at the next level.


4-star Zxavian Harris | 6’6” | 308 lbs | Madison, MS

Recruitment

Harris is another talented Mississippi lineman who is on Auburn’s radar. Auburn offered last April but will likely continue to pursue under this new staff. Mississippi State is considered the overwhelming favorite for the moment but both Alabama and Georgia are getting involved. Harris is teammates with Auburn RB target Branson Robinson.

Scouting Report

If you are looking for a nose tackle, the state of Mississippi is the place to be this year. Harris is another long body in the interior that excels at eating space and stuffing the run game. Probably won’t be an elite pass rusher at the next level but has all the makings of a solid nose tackle.


3-star Kaleb Artis | 6’5” | 270 lbs | Fresh Meadows, NY

Recruitment

It’s not often Auburn recruits a prospect from the northeast but one of the first offers to go out following Nick Eason’s hiring was to Artis. Auburn isn’t the only school to take notice of Artis recently as Texas A&M, Texas, and Florida State have all offered within the last month. These offers are coming despite Artis not playing his junior season due to New York cancelling high school football. Rutgers was believed to be the early leader but that has a good chance of changing moving forward.

Scouting Report

Artis is a versatile lineman who has a nice frame to grow into an interior player without losing any quickness. Plays with a great motor, consistently running down plays from the backside. Competition is lacking but he’s dominant like he should be. Has the potential to develop into a decent pass rusher at the DT spot.


3-star Quency Wiggins | 6’6” | 265 lbs | Baton Rouge, LA

Recruitment

Wiggins is another recent offer since Nick Eason was brought on board. The Louisiana native doesn’t yet hold an offer from LSU making him a candidate to leave the state. Auburn, Michigan, Florida State, Mississippi State, and Louisville all appear to be in the race. He’s reportedly not in a hurry to make a decision so we will see how this plays out in the coming months.

Scouting Report

Two sport athlete with tremendous upside, Wiggins plays outside for his high school teams but is likely to grow into a 3-tech at the next level. Love his combination of size and athleticism. Demonstrates ability to win both with his power and his hands. Good closing speed too. I think he’s got a shot to be a top 250 prospect before this cycle is over.


3-star Alton Tarber | 6’1” | 305 lbs | Deerfield Beach, FL

Recruitment

Deerfield Beach is a yearly stop for collegiate coaching staffs because this program consistently produces Power 5 talent. Tarbor is the next one up for the Bucks. His recruitment has been pretty quiet to date but his offer list is impressive featuring Auburn, Kentucky, LSU, Michigan, and Texas A&M. We’ll see if he becomes a priority for the Tigers moving forward.

Scouting Report

Tarber reminds me a good bit of 2020 Auburn signee Marquis Robinson. He’s a wide bodied interior prospect with outstanding quickness and a forceful punch. Can consistently win at the snap with his combination of explosiveness and strength. Has a nasty swim move he uses effectively to get early penetration in the run game.


Maxie Baudoin IV | 6’3’ | 290 lbs | Lafayette, LA

Recruitment

Another interior DL prospect that was offered not long after Nick Eason joined Auburn’s staff, Baudoin is a big time stock up prospect in the 2022 class. Auburn, Florida State, Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas A&M, and Georgia have all offered in the last two months. An LSU offer could be coming soon too. He’s likely to be one of the more sought after defensive line prospects in the southeast this cycle.

Scouting Report

Disruptive interior player with a great frame. Anchors well in run game and can be difficult to move off the point of attack. Plays with nice motor and shows ability to win not just with strength but with great hands as well. Will be a very good run defender at the next level.


Jordan Phillips | 6’3” | 290 lbs | Ocoee, FL

Recruitment

Auburn offered Phillips last fall but he’s reportedly still interested in the Tigers. Auburn, Michigan, and Miami appear to be his three early favorites though there’s been no official leaders named so far. Like so many other prospects right now, it’s hard to know where they might be on this new staff’s board but this is a kid I am keeping an eye on moving forward.

Scouting Report

Had a very productive junior year against very good competition with 71 tackles, 14 TFL and 5 sacks. Good looking athlete with a nice frame and a very quick first step. Does a nice job keeping pads low. Shows he can win with leverage, quickness, and hands. Athletic enough to develop into a solid interior pass rusher at next level. A blue chip prospect in my fake expert opinion.

War Eagle!