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Auburn Football Recruiting: Let the Insanity Begin

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The craziest month in college football recruiting history is upon us.

https://twitter.com/CoachDerekMason/status/1399090782989176842/photo/3

Things are about to get real.

The longest dead period in college football recruiting history comes to an end tomorrow and with it the return of the recruiting roller coaster we all know so well. Except now it’s on an even more accelerated timeline as programs and recruits race to make up for 15 months of virtual only recruiting.

June will be a month we have never seen before in college football recruiting. There is a very real chance Auburn has a visitor of some sort on campus every single day. That will likely result in a record number of commitments in July and August as high school prospects hurry to secure their spots at top college programs around the country. With the advent of the transfer portal, those spots are more precious than ever.

It sounds like Bryan Harsin and his staff have a plan. They are gearing up to meet Auburn’s top prospects in person for the very first time and have spent the past couple weeks laying the groundwork operationally to be able to host all these top recruits. Harsin’s expectations are exactly what you want to hear from the head coach.

“I want our coaches to do a great job and to enjoy a month that’s going to be somewhat of a grind, but know that we did a hell of a job at the end of June with every player that stepped foot on this campus, every kid that came to camp, even the guys that we’re not recruiting,” Harsin said. “This isn’t just about the guys that we’re taking or trying to offer and all that. It’s about everybody that comes on campus. So there’s going to be plenty of people here that don’t end up at Auburn. But when they leave here, you want them to have an experience that they’ll talk about wanting to come back.

But plans are one thing, execution is another. Every head coach at every college football program plans to recruit well and get the best talent. Only a few are able to do it on a consensus basis.

It’s time to find out whether Harsin can join them.

Attempting to preview this whole month would be dizzying and chances are very good that so much will change day to day so I am just going to keep it simple and take a look at who Auburn expects to have on campus this week. This information comes from AuburnUndercover’s Keith Niebuhr who is the best Auburn recruiting insider in the game.

Tuesday, June 1st

  • 3-star OT Eston Harris Jr - As of now, Harris is not planning to take an official visit to Auburn. His reasoning is pretty sensible. He’d rather use that free trip on a place further away than a program right up the street. So while it’d be nice for the Tigers to host him officially, it’s more important they get him on campus as often as possible. Day 1 is a good sign. Harris is one of Auburn’s most important targets in this class. As has been written ad nauseam on this site, signing OT talent has been a problem on the Plains for multiple recruiting cycles. Harris is the exact type of prospect Auburn just hasn’t been able to secure on a consistent basis. Let’s see if this new staff can flip the script. As of today, I like Auburn’s chances.
  • 3-star DT Tre Emory - It says a lot that Emory is planning to spend his own money to drive to Auburn from Mount Pleasant, TX on the very first day that visits are allowed. The Tigers offered Emory in late April after he’d announced a top group. He very quickly amended that list to include Auburn. He’s set official visits to Arkansas, Baylor, Oklahoma State, and Oregon State. It would not surprise me if Auburn was the 5th. I also think that if the Tigers push they will have a great chance at landing the big Texan. Emory is a really good system fit for what Derek Mason wants to do up front.
  • 2023 5-star DT James Smith - Last night, AuburnUndercover’s Keith Niebuhr reported that the #6 ranked player in the 2023 class will be on the Plains tomorrow when the dead period lifts. While I don’t think folks should read too much into who shows up on the very first day, it definitely doesn’t hurt that the first place a top ranked player wants to see when finally allowed to visit again is Auburn. Smith is obviously an incredibly important target in next year’s class. Let’s see if Nick Eason can win himself a monster recruiting battle.
  • 2023 3-star OLB Jaquavious Russaw - Smith isn’t the only standout on that Carver defense that will be on campus tomorrow per Niebuhr. One of the top pass rushers in the state next cycle, Jaquavious Russaw, will be joining Smith in Auburn on Tuesday. Russaw transferred to Carver this off-season and landed an offer from the Tigers in April. Between Juwon Gaston and Marcus Harris, it’s clear Bryan Harsin is working hard to improve Auburn’s standing in Montgomery. Good time to do so considering the elite level of talent coming out of that city over the next couple of years.

Wednesday, June 2nd

  • 4-star DT Khurtiss Perry - Speaking of elite Montgomery prospects. This is one of the most important recruitments in the 2022 cycle for Auburn. Alabama has long been viewed as the team to beat but the Tigers are working hard to change that. He’ll be in Tuscaloosa on Tuesday but then will travel to the Plains on Wednesday. This is the first time Derek Mason and Nick Eason will be able to meet with Perry in person. I think that has a chance to be a game-changer in this recruitment. However, taking kids from Nick Saban that he really wants is VERY difficult. It won’t happen much this cycle but Auburn is trying to make this one of those recruitments.
  • 4-star OT Qae’Shon Sapp - The good news is Auburn will have a 4-star offensive tackle on campus this week. The bad news is this 4-star offensive tackle is a heavy Florida State lean right now. Sapp has scheduled 3 official visits thus far to Florida, Cincinnati, and Florida State. The Noles are the clear leader but maybe a trip to the Plains can start to change things. The Tigers are working hard to land an official visit.

Thursday, June 3rd

  • 2023 OLB Denzel Moore - A former Indiana commit, Moore is headed to the Plains later this week. His skillset likely makes him an OLB in Auburn’s new scheme specifically the STUD which is the outside linebacker that plays to the field and is asked to do a little of everything ala Derick Hall. I think he’s got a chance to have a big junior season and rise in the rankings over the next 2 years.

Friday, June 4th

  • 4-star WR Darrius Clemons (Official Visit) - Boise State and Auburn rarely recruited the same caliber of players so unsurprisingly many of the kids Bryan Harsin has been building relationships with over the years are unlikely to be top Tiger targets. But there are a few, none bigger than Clemons who has known Harsin and Auburn’s new Director of Recruiting Darren Uscher since middle school. That relationship has the Tigers in the thick of this recruitment and they will have the first crack at Clemons. He’s also expected to take official visits to USC, Penn State, and Michigan. I really do think Auburn has a legitimate chance to win this battle. Clemons is a day 1 impact player at wide receiver.
  • 3-star DT Maxie Baudoin IV (Official Visit) - I really like where Auburn sits in this race heading into June. Baudoin has scheduled only one official visit thus far and it is to the Plains. The 6’3” 290 pound defensive lineman out of Louisiana was one of the first players new DL coach Nick Eason offered upon being hired. As long as LSU doesn’t jump into the race you have to like the Tigers’ chances.
  • 3-star DL Kaleb Artis (Official Visit) - The other defensive lineman Eason immediately offered upon being hired? That would be Kaleb Artis. The 6’5” 270 lb lineman out of Fresh Meadows, NY blew up this spring landing offers from the likes of Auburn, Florida State, Notre Dame, Texas A&M, and Tennessee. He’s already scheduled all five of his official visits with plans to see Auburn, Penn State, Virginia, Florida State, and Rutgers in the month of June. A decision is likely to come soon after.
  • 3-star OT Jacob Hood (Official Visit) - Hood is one of Auburn’s top targets at offensive tackle. Unfortunately, he’s also one of UGA’s and grew up a fan of the Dawgs. The Tigers have some work to do if they want to win this battle but they will get the first shot at him this weekend. Can Auburn finally convince an offensive tackle that there are plenty of opportunities on the Plains to be successful?
  • 3-star DB Emory Floyd (Official Visit) - If there is anyone on commit watch this week it’s Floyd. The playmaker out of Powder Springs, GA could play anywhere in the secondary at the next level. Despite his rating, he’s one of Auburn’s top targets in the 2022 class. He has admitted previously that Auburn is the team to beat right now with Georgia and Florida chasing. It would be a nice momentum boost to lock him down this weekend.
  • 3-star K Alex McPherson (Official Visit) - The #1 kicker in the 2022 class grew up an Auburn fan. However, his brother, Evan McPherson, played three seasons at Florida before leaving early and being drafted in the 5th round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Georgia, Florida, and Texas A&M are all set to host the Fort Payne star of official visits this month too. Auburn is probably still the favorite but the competition is fierce.

War Eagle!