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Auburn Football Recruiting: Decisions Coming Soon

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Auburn looks to end July with a bang.

https://twitter.com/DamariAlston/status/1412208447039455240/photo/1

We are approaching the end of July and Auburn’s 2022 recruiting class is still lagging behind the rest of the conference. The Tigers only have 5 commits which is the fewest by far in the SEC. The next closest are Florida and Ole Miss who each have double the number of pledges. 247 Composite finally gave Alex McPherson his rating which adds point to Auburn’s total but because these recruiting sites suppress special teams ratings, his low grade of 0.8165 has killed Auburn’s player recruit average dropping it to third last in the SEC.

Not great ya’ll.

The good news is that recruiting cycles don’t end in July. Auburn still has just over 5 months until the start of the Early Signing Period. Even better, a number of Auburn’s top targets are close to making their decisions and those decisions are likely to mean good news for the Tigers.

Upcoming Decision Dates

Two of Auburn’s top targets, 4-star RB Damari Alston and 4-star DL Caden Story, will announced their commitments at the end of the week. Alston is committing on July 25th which happens to be the same day that Big Cat Weekend will start and he’s expected to be in attendance. The Atlanta native is down to a final 3 of Auburn, LSU, and Northwestern.

LSU is still after three elite instate backs and are unlikely to accept Alston’s commit right now. That makes this an Auburn vs Northwestern battle with the Tigers trending heavily. Not only would Alston give the Tigers a talented back in the 2022 class but another big recruiter to help Holden Geriner continue to add more high caliber prospects to this class. Between his violent running style and dynamic personality, I fully expect Alston to become a fan favorite when he arrives on the Plains.

The other blue chip with a set commit date is Caden Story. He will announce on August 1st and appears to be down to Auburn and UCF. His previous relationship with Gus Malzahn and Travis Williams have the Knights involved in this race but it would be a shock if Auburn wasn’t the pick on Sunday. He’s a perfect fit for Derek Mason’s scheme and would give the Tigers their first high profile defensive commit.

Last week, 3-star WR Jay Fair briefly tweeted that a decision would come on July 20th. However, that tweet has since been deleted so I am unsure if he’s sticking with that date or not. Regardless, this is a tight race between the instate Horned Frogs and the out of state Tigers. Fair is one of the most explosive wideouts in this class and is one of the top players on Auburn’s offensive board. This would be a big win to pluck the speedster out of the Lone Star state.

3-star OL Drew Bobo will likely have a decision in the near future as well. The son of new Auburn OC Mike Bobo, Drew put together one of the stronger springs of any prospects and earned offers from Auburn and Georgia. Those two programs are likely the leaders with Kentucky and Georgia Tech still in pursuit. He will take a couple of more visits when things reopen this weekend before making his commitment. I lean Auburn right now but this will be a battle to the finish as Bobo is a legit take for the Dawgs.

Finally, another Auburn-Michigan battle is emerging. The Tigers lost the first two for 3-star CB Myles Pollard and 3-star LB Micah Pollard. Luckily, this go around, no one is named Pollard.

Instate athlete 3-star Ja’Kobi Albert released a top 3 of Auburn, Maryland and Michigan last week. The Terps don’t seem to be a major contender so this is shaping up to be another Tigers v Wolverines showdown. There had been some confusion in the past on whether or not Albert is a take for the Tigers. That’s no longer a question. He’s absolutely a take for the Tigers and a top priority.

The athlete out of Fairfield could play wide receiver or defensive back at the next level. Auburn wants him at field safety and nickel. He’s a mere 0.01 from 4-star status on 247 Composite and likely to be a blue chip by the end of this cycle. It would be a bad sign for this staff if they were to lose another kid from the southeast to Harbaugh.

Jarell Stinson Decommits

Last week, Auburn’s class lost its longest tenured member. 3-star CB Jarell Stinson initially committed the day after Gus Malzahn was fired with the understanding that Kevin Steele was likely to be Malzahn’s replacement. That obviously didn’t happen which lead Stinson to seriously consider other options, most notably Florida and UCF.

The Gators are likely his top choice but there are questions over whether he’d be a take or not in Gainesville. He also has interest in Tennessee where former Auburn WR coach Kodi Burns is selling him on idea of playing on the offensive side of the ball. Ole Miss could also be a factor.

I am not surprised Stinson and Auburn parted ways. The new Tigers staff liked him and I thought there was a good chance he’d end up in Auburn’s class but both sides want different things right now. Stinson wants to continue to explore his other options while Auburn’s new staff has been more firm than the previous one on committed prospects not taking lots of visits to other places. Stinson gave Auburn’s new staff a fair shake but decided that his future is best served elsewhere.

This decision will likely work out for both sides but prepare yourselves for the “Gus Malzahn Flipped Elite AL Prospect From Bryan Harsin” articles that are sure to come out if Stinson eventually ends up in Orlando.

Seven Auburn Transfers Ranked in 247’s Transfer Rankings

Auburn new coaching staff has leaned heavily on the transfer portal this off-season to augment holes in the roster and the 2021 signing class. 247 released a ranking for the top 150 transfers this year. The Tigers landed 7 in the top 150 which was the best among the SEC. In fact, only Florida State matched that number overall. Here’s where Auburn’s seven transfers ranked and their 247 grade where applicable.

  • #28 (0.8979) CB Dreshun Miller (West Virginia)
  • #61 (0.8600) QB TJ Finley (LSU)
  • #77 (0.8500) S Donovan Kaufman (Vanderbilt)
  • #106 (0.8400) DL Marcus Harris (Kansas)
  • #127 WR Demetris Robertson (Georgia)
  • #129 DB Bydarrius Knighten (SEMO)
  • #137 RB Jordon Ingram (Central Michigan)

I was a little surprised to see Ingram listed but not Eku Leota. My guess is that because Ingram has a number of years of eligibility left, he’s valued higher by 247 than Leota.

If you apply those four extra 247 Composite grades from Miller, Finley, Kaufman, and Harris to Auburn’s 2021 class by finding similarly ranked players in the 2021 class into the Class Calculator, Auburn’s class score moves to 230.68 which bumps Auburn ahead of Maryland to #18 overall in the 2021 Composite Team Rankings. Though I should note that I don’t think 247 has the grades weighted appropriately just yet. Not sure how Donovan Kaufman in just 2 games against SEC opponents could drop from an 87 to an 85....

Going heavy into the portal is probably not a practice Auburn’s new staff wants to rely on moving forward but at least for these first two cycles while they look to establish relationships with top prospects and still attempt to fill holes with impact players, it’s not a bad move for Bryan Harsin to find playmakers anyway he can.

War Eagle!