We are rapidly approaching the end of June and the return of the college football recruiting dead period. It’s been interesting to see the different approaches by coaching staffs on how to handle recruiting during this crazy month. Some schools, like Clemson and Ole Miss, have elected to pass on hosting official visitors. Electing instead to push for kids to visit unofficially when it’s easier to travel over the summer and bring them back in an official capacity during the season. Others, like Oklahoma and Penn State, have fully embraced summer official visits. The Nittany Lions have had double digit visitors every weekend.
Auburn’s new staff seems to have taken a more balanced approach that has favored saving official visits for the fall over taking one during the summer. There hasn’t been a blow out weekend like others have had (including a former head coach down in Orlando) but they also have had a handful of prospects on campus every weekend.
Which strategy is best won’t be fully known until signing day but I think a conservative approach to official visitors makes sense for the Tigers right now. They just aren’t in a position yet to push kids to take their spot in the class and shut things down like Alabama, Georgia, and LSU right now. Plus the Tigers will have two of the premier home games this fall with the Dawgs and Tide coming to town. Make sure you get kids on campus who plan to make a decision over the next two months but otherwise if you can get them to visit unofficially and return during the fall is probably the smart move for Auburn’s new staff.
So all of that to say, it won’t be a super loaded weekend for the Tigers with only 3 official visitors expected thus far. However, there are 3 important targets who are expected to shut down their recruitments this summer.
This has been an interesting recruitment to follow. His home city Panthers have long been the leader for the edge rusher but following an official to Penn State last weekend, he named the Nittany Lions his leader and seemed hyped about that visit. Auburn gets to make the final pitch before he makes his decision on July 4th. I get the impression that distance from home will be a factor in his recruitment and am skeptical he’ll leave the state of Pennsylvania. But he strikes me as an impressionable kid so a strong official visit this weekend could change his and his family’s minds. Let’s see if the Tigers can make a big move in this recruitment.
Fearbry is an elite athlete with great length and a frame that would allow 20+ lbs of muscle without losing explosiveness. His quickness is his strongest asset right now, consistently winning with an elite first step that allows him to get in the backfield quickly. He’ll need to improve in how he uses his hands and is someone that would likely need a redshirt season before being ready to see action at the next level but he’s got the exact skillset Auburn needs at the outside linebacker position in Derek Mason’s scheme.
Despite sporting a lower rating, Pollard appears to be a top target for a number of big time programs. Michigan and Oklahoma have already hosted the Tennessee native officially and he’s been to Knoxville and Gainesville in an unofficial capacity. He wants to make a decision this month so this is a big opportunity for the Tigers. The Wolverines might be the current favorite but I am not sure anyone has a great read on his recruitment. Auburn definitely has the opportunity to move to the front of this race this weekend.
I am a huge fan of Pollard. He’s one of my favorite cornerback prospects in this class as he reminds me a lot of Carlton Davis. Pollard has the always coveted combination of great size and speed. He mirrors extremely well demonstrating the ability to quickly flip his hips and stay stuck to a wide receiver. He’s a more than willing tackler in the run game and plays with the edge you want your lockdown corners to have. To me he’s an early impact player with a chance to be a multi year starter at the next level.
Stinson is the only member of Auburn’s three man 2022 class to not commit to the Tigers under new head coach Bryan Harsin. In fact, Stinson committed a day after Malzahn was fired. He did so under the impression that the Tigers defensive staff would be retained.
Stinson, a longtime Auburn fan, committed to the Tigers in December – one day after then head coach Gus Malzahn was fired. The 5-foot-11, 175-pound rising senior said one of the Auburn defensive coaches told him at the time that the defensive staff under Malzahn would be retained. They were not, but that hasn’t swayed Stinson’s thinking.
When that didn’t happen, it was always inevitable that he’d look around at his other options. The Opelika native has taken official visits to Florida and UCF this summer, with the Gators believed to be the Tigers toughest competition. That should not come as a surprise with Wesley McGriff now coaching defensive backs for Dan Mullen. But despite all this uncertainty, Stinson has remained publicly committed to the Tigers and now heads to campus this weekend to decide whether or not he’s ready to shut things down or go ahead and fully reopen his recruitment. Auburn has made keeping Stinson a priority and it seems the speedy local standout has clicked with the Tigers new staff. While the Gators lurk as a legit thread, I am optimistic that Stinson will remain a Tiger come signing day.
I am curious to see where Stinson ends up playing at the next level. I think he might be better suited for the nickel or field safety spot in his Mason’s scheme given his combination of size and speed. Speed in particular is Stinson’s greatest asset as he’s one of the fastest players in the state this cycle. He could also make an impact on special teams as a kick or punt returner.