Auburn’s former defensive staff had their eyes on a pair of defensive backs who impressed at the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game in December. One was 3-star A.D. Diamond whom Kevin Steele offered while interim head coach and signed during the early signing period. The other was 3-star S Juwon Gaston who went into the month of January without an Auburn offer.
That changed quickly once the Tigers new staff was in place. Auburn offered on January 20th and immediately became a top contender. This afternoon, he chose the Tigers over South Carolina and Tennessee.
Auburn’s social media committed a false start earlier today, tweeting out that they had received his National Letter of Intent before deleting it. While that snafu stinks for Gaston who was hoping for a little drama before his announcement, it thankfully did not change the result.
First off, Gaston has a chance to make an immediate impact for Auburn in 2021 even if he doesn’t see a single snap on defense. The Carver standout is one of the best returners in the 2021 class. He returned an astonishing SEVEN kicks for touchdowns in 2020 and added three more touchdowns on punt returns. His patience combined with his explosiveness and vision makes him a nightmare to cover on kickoffs. I have to think Auburn’s staff will at least give him a couple of chances in the return game this fall.
Gaston, however, isn’t just a special teams player. He recorded 96 tackles, 5 TFL and 5 INTs on defense last fall. Given his tackling ability and size, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him work at both nickel and safety for the Tigers. A solid late addition to this 2021 class.
Gaston is the last expected commit of the day as 3-star RB Jarquez Hunter won’t be announcing until Friday and 3-star CB Dontae Balfour is expected to pick North Carolina later today. However, there continues to be speculation that Auburn will be adding one more player today, likely a flip. Who that might be remains a mystery but my theory is it will be a corner back as the Tigers are likely to miss on Balfour and decided to pass on South Carolina signee 3-star CB La’Dareyen Craig. We will see.
War Eagle Juwon!