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Recruiting Recap: Tigers Host Pair of Five Stars

Life is busy on the Plains right now

Mississippi State v Auburn Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images

Once again, Auburn’s new staff welcomed a number of high profile recruits to campus. We are only two days in but anyone worried this staff wouldn’t at least try to go after top rated kids should feel much better. It’s clear they won’t be star gazing but it’s also clear they aren’t gonna try and gem their way to championships. I still want to see if they can close on elite talent but it’s been an encouraging start so far on the trail.

Two Five Stars Visit

I’ll be honest. I haven’t spent much time following or paying much attention to the recruitments of 2022 5-stars. I just figured the odds aren’t great that Auburn’s new staff can make up that much ground that quickly for those kids. Thankfully this staff has other plans.

Yesterday, two of the top players in the 2022 class traveled to the Plains and both came away impressed. 5-star safety Kamari Wilson was part of a large group from IMG that made the trek. The #1 safety in the country enjoyed meeting the coaches in person and seeing the Tigers plan for him in their scheme. Specifically, Auburn is selling him on replacing Smoke Monday who also was on hand to help recruit the stud defensive back.

“I watched a couple clips of Smoke. Smoke, he can do it all,” Wilson said. “He can cover, he can hit — he can most definitely hit, blitz off the edge and I really see a little bit of me in him.”

Along with seeing himself as a similar player to Monday, he can see him easily sliding into that safety role.

I still think the odds are long that Auburn can land Wilson. UGA is the clear favorite right now thanks in part to Will Muschamp now being on Kirby’s staff. But Wilson plans to return to the Plains in the fall and if the Tigers could somehow get him on campus for an official visit then maybe they could pull off the surprise.

The player I do think Auburn has a legit chance to make a move on is 5-star DT Mykel Williams. The #23 ranked player in the 2022 class, Williams dropped a top 10 earlier this year that did not include the Tigers. That list might need to be amended.

While the big man from Columbus, GA did not give any interviews following his visit, per AuburnUndercover’s Keith Niebuhr the staff is very happy with how his visit went. He arrived early yesterday morning and didn’t leave until late Wednesday evening. Much of that time was spent with new defensive line coach Nick Eason. Georgia is again going to be tough to beat in this race but of the two this one feels more winnable for Auburn’s staff. Don’t be surprised if he takes an official visit to the Plains at some point.

Top 50 Defensive Lineman Visits

Williams wasn’t the only top defensive lineman on campus. 4-star DL Khurtiss Perry made it to campus as well yesterday.

There are a handful of recruitments that could really change the trajectory of this class. Perry is one of them. A top 50 player this cycle, Perry is at the top of the board for most every program in the country but Auburn and Alabama appear to be the top contenders right now.

The good news for Auburn is he’s really clicked with Auburn’s new defensive staff. Even better is he’s extremely close with new Auburn Tiger Marcus Harris who played with Perry in high school and trains at Madhouse in Montgomery along with Perry. Perry specifically mentioned his relationship with Harris being a positive factor for Auburn.

One of Perry’s closest friends already is at Auburn. That’s recent Kansas defensive end transfer Marcus Harris. The two train together at Madhouse Training in Montgomery.

“That’s my brother,” Perry said. “We’ve been playing together since I moved to Montgomery — so my ninth-grade year. He’s a great athlete. Great student. Great overall player.”

Does it assist Auburn with Perry to have Harris on the roster?

“Yes, most definitely,” Perry said. “He’s a big factor. He got a chance to move in today so both of us got a chance to be on campus at the same time.”

This recruitment is likely to go the distance but in the end I think this will be a good ole fashion Iron Bowl showdown for one of the best players in the state. It’s hard to beat Nick Saban for kids he wants, especially instate kids, but let’s see if the staff can notch a major recruiting victory early in their tenure.

June 2nd Unofficial Visitors

There were a ton of prospects on campus yesterday including a major contingent from IMG so chances are very good I am not including everyone in the list below. However, these are the top prospects to know from yesterday.

“Oh my god, it was amazing,” Brown said. “I’ve never seen anything like this. Like this is my first time in Alabama. This is my first time out of Florida in like 13 years, so this is all like a really good experience for me.

“I really wasn’t expecting this. I was expecting something big and very eye-taking, but it kind of blew me out of the water.”

Brown also said he will be back for an official visit this fall. This is definitely a prospect to track over the coming months.

  • 4-star DL R.J. Moss - I am keeping a close eye on this recruitment. The Mississippi native has long included Auburn in his top group despite the fact the Tigers have yet to offer. He traveled to the Plains yesterday to workout for Nick Eason in hopes of earning that offer. No news has come out yet on how his visit and workout went. If an offer does come, Auburn will likely be hard to beat.
  • 4-star OL Qae’shon Sapp - Sapp is another big time prospect from the state of Georgia who appeared to be moving on from Auburn earlier this year. He did not include the Tigers in his top 8 back in February but following yesterday’s visit it sounds like Auburn has moved back into that top group. Sapp specifically mentioned Auburn, Cincinnati, Georgia, Florida, and Florida State as the programs recruiting him the hardest. The Noles are believed to be the favorite as of today and will host him on an official visit later this summer. Let’s see if the Tigers can get him back on campus before he makes his commitment on July 3rd.
  • 3-star LB Powell Gordon (AU Commit) - Auburn commit Powell Gordon made the short trip to campus yesterday to help with the Tigers’ efforts to land some more studs. The Auburn High School standout does not plan to visit anywhere else and is as locked in as a recruit can be. He’ll likely be on campus often to help the Tigers recruit. Something to note is that 3-star OT Eston Harris is expected to transfer to Auburn High this fall so Gordon will be in the ear of one of Auburn’s top targets almost daily.
  • 3-star OT/DT Tae Woody - Woody is a fascinating prospect. A legitimate offensive tackle, offensive guard, or defensive tackle Power 5 prospect, that versatility has made him a top target for a number of big time programs including the Tigers. Initially, Auburn wanted him at offensive tackle but now the Tigers are giving him the freedom to choose which position he wants to play when he arrives on campus. While obviously Auburn has a major need at offensive tackle, I actually like him more at defensive tackle where he recently won the MVP award at a Rivals camp. Auburn, Georgia, Florida State, and Texas A&M appear to be the top teams in his recruitment.
  • 3-star TE Michael Hawkins - Per AuburnUndercover, Hawkins visited the Plains for a private workout in hopes of landing an Auburn offer. No news on how the visit went but he’s definitely a prospect to track over the next few months. Great size at 6’5” 235 lbs.
  • QB Daniel Shock - Seems highly likely Auburn will take another quarterback in this class. On Tuesday, 3-star Conner Harrell was on campus to throw for Auburn offensive coordinator Mike Bobo. Yesterday, Shock, who holds an offer from Troy, did the same. Shock had a solid junior season completing 57% of his passes while throwing for over 1,500 yards and 15 touchdowns. I expect to see more quarterbacks on campus over the coming days to workout for Bobo. We will see who lands an offer.
  • 2023 4-star OG Knijeah Harris - Harris was part of that IMG contingent that showed up on campus yesterday. The big man appears to be a top priority for the Tigers in next year’s cycle. He spent much of the day with new Auburn’s offensive line coach Will Friend and left campus with an offer.
  • 2023 DL Stantavious Smith - Smith has yet to receive a rating by recruiting subscription sites but based off his offer list, he’s highly likely to be a blue chip recruit in next year’s class. I expect him to be an important target for the Tigers.

Expected June 3rd Visitor

It will be another busy day on the Plains today especially considering one of the top 7 on 7 teams from the west coast will be on campus. Here are some names to know. Shout out to Keith Niebuhr of AuburnUndercover who along with Jason Caldwell have been all over everything this week. This list comes from his update this morning.

  • 4-star DE Caden Story - It took no time at all for Nick Eason to make Story one of his top priorities in this 2022 class. Auburn appears to be the team to beat right now though an Alabama offer could change things greatly due to his older brother being on roster there. Even if that offer comes in, Auburn has done such a good job in this recruitment it wouldn’t shock me if the Tigers landed him anyway. He’s set to commit on August 1st.
  • 4-star CB Benjamin Morrison - Auburn made a move with Morrison over the spring when they had him on a virtual visit. Now they are hoping to capitalize by getting him on campus. The 4th ranked player in Arizona is receiving interest from programs across the country most notably Michigan, Notre Dame, and Washington. The Fighting Irish are believed to be the top contender but the Tigers are very much a factor in this race.
  • 3-star LB EJ Lightsey - His rating and offer list don’t mesh. Despite being rated the #547 player in the country, he olds offers from Auburn, Georgia, Florida, Florida State, LSU and many others. However, he might be a kid that needs to camp for those programs to take him right now. It wouldn’t be surprising if that’s exactly what he does today for the Tigers.
  • 2023 5-star DE Jayden Wayne - For the 3rd consecutive day, a five star will be on Auburn’s campus. Wayne is part of that 7on7 group out of Washington who are traveling across the southeast this week. One of the top pass rushers in next year’s class, I imagine the focus of this visit for Auburn is securing a 2nd visit.
  • 2023 4-star CB Caleb Presley - Presley doesn’t have an offer yet from the Tigers but I suspect that changes today. He impressed at Alabama’s camp yesterday and earned one from the Tide.
  • 2023 4-star QB Gabarri Johnson - The 2023 quarterback board is just now taking shape so let’s see if the Tigers decide to make a move here.
  • 2023 4-star RB Jayden Limer - So far all of Limar’s offers come from PAC-12 programs. Auburn might try and get a feel for whether the Washington product is open to traveling across country. If so, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Tigers offer.
  • 2023 OLB Denzel Moore - Moore was briefly committed to Indiana before reopening his recruitment last week. He’s a prospect I think has a chance to really fly up the rankings over the next 2 years. Auburn’s previous staff offered last summer.
  • 2024 RB Stacy Gage - It’s not just 2023 kids Auburn is hoping to lay the groundwork for future success but 2024 and beyond. Gage is likely to be one of the top players in that class. He doesn’t yet have an offer from the Tigers but that could change today.

War Eagle!