Auburn fans have very quickly become acquainted with the transfer portal. The portal was the enemy for many weeks stealing away fifteen players. But last week, the Tigers befriended the mysterious being and landed two commitments of their own in nose tackle Tony Fair and safety Bydarrius Knighten. That friendship looks to continue this week when at least two top targets are expected to make their decisions.
Both Fair and Knighten are expected to be impact players for this Tigers this fall but both are graduate transfers with only a single year of eligibility remaining. This week, Auburn is hoping to add two starter caliber defenders with four years left to play starting on Wednesday with Vanderbilt safety transfer Donovan Kaufman.
Kaufman became one of Auburn’s top targets when he announced his decisions to enter the portal last month. He only played in 2 games last fall as a true freshman but even in such limited action it became clear this kid is a high caliber SEC player who has a chance to help lead a defense for the next 3-4 seasons. Auburn immediately became a top contender considering his former head coach Derek Mason is now leading the Tigers’ defense. However, Texas has come on strong thanks to Kaufman’s previous relationships with Chief of Staff Jason Grooms and Director of Recruiting Operations Taylor Searels who both worked at Vanderbilt last season. A former high school coach of his, Cordae Hankton, is also an analyst on staff so the Longhrons have plenty of their own built in relationships as well.
This is no slam dunk but it does appear the Tigers are in a great position to land the playmaker later this week.
On Friday, Kansas defensive lineman Marcus Harris will announce his decision. Harris was a low ranked 3-star out of Montgomery when he signed with Kansas in 2019. After a redshirt season, Harris exploded onto the scene this past fall leading the Jayhawks in tackles for loss with 7.5 while also recording 27 tackles, forcing a fumble and recovering another. He has the versatility to play the end in Mason’s base 3-4 scheme and then slide inside to defensive tackle in the 2-4 set. While I am not sure if he’d win a starting job, Harris would at least add another impact player to Auburn’s rotation up front.
Tennessee has also reportedly offered and his former roommate Da’Jon Terry has already announced his intentions to transfer to Knoxville. Still, this feels like Auburn’s race to lose. Once again, Nick Eason’s NFL background could prove the difference.
Those two are the only targets to have set announcement dates but there’s a good chance they won’t be the only players to make a move this week. Auburn is reportedly hard after LSU quarterback transfer T.J. Finley who is enticed by the opportunity to stay in the SEC and compete with Bo Nix for the starting gig this fall. Texas and Penn State are also involved but I think Auburn is in the best place at the moment. A decision is likely to come within the next 2 weeks.
There’s also former Central Michigan running back Jordon Ingram who per AuburnUndercover’s Keith Niebuhr is working to clear some final academic hurdles but is expected to eventually land with the Tigers. The same is true for former Texas A&M 4-star linebacker Ke’Shun Brown. He told Niebuhr over the weekend that Auburn had not yet offered but if they did he’d very likely commit. He’s close friends with Marcus Harris and could potentially provide depth at either inside linebacker position or even at the STUD.
Finally, I still expect Auburn to add some offensive line help, it’s just the staff is at the mercy of what’s available in the portal. Right now, they haven’t been publicly linked to any targets and are likely waiting to see who else jumps in. Players have until July 1st to enter the portal so there’s still plenty of time for a quality target or two to jump in. The Tigers are also likely to pursue a veteran wide receiver capable of starting this fall and leading this young group if one were to come available. There’s been a lot of wild speculation over who that could end up being but no real intel has emerged at this time.
Bryan Harsin made it clear during his National Signing Day press conference back in February that Auburn was far from done adding to its 2021 roster. He’s been true to his word so far and it looks like the Tigers are still hunting for more impact players. By the time the dust settles, Auburn very well might have added a transfer to every position group on the roster sans tight end. Pretty clear that Harsin is aiming to win immediately this fall.