In Bryan Harsin’s introductory press conference, he made a point to tell the Auburn family that he plans to go anywhere and everywhere to sign talent. He emphasized that recruiting Auburn’s usual recruiting territories will remain a priority but he also believes there are prospects out there that like him would be willing to move across the country to play for the Tigers.
So far, that strategy had not yielded any positive results. But that changed today. This evening, 3-star TE Micah Riley-Ducker, announced his intention to be an Auburn Tiger.
BREAKING: Tight end Micah Riley-Ducker has committed to Auburn over Iowa, Iowa State and Illinois. It’s one of the biggest verbals to date in the Bryan Harsin era. More coverage at https://t.co/7DGol0crNR. pic.twitter.com/PegX8gL90n— Keith Niebuhr (@Keith247Sports) July 7, 2021
He chose the Tigers over a final group that featured Auburn, Illinois, Iowa, and Iowa State. At first look, that doesn’t seem like a huge win for Auburn but when you look at the tight end pedigree of Iowa, the recent success of Iowa State using that position, and the fact Brett Bielema is now leading the Illini, it’s easier to understand why this is such a big victory for the Tigers on the trail.
The Hawkeyes were believed to be the leader for much of Riley-Ducker’s recruitment until he took an official visit to the Plains. That trip changed the direction of his recruitment as the Tigers surged into the lead thanks in large part to Riley-Ducker seeing Auburn as being the best chance to compete for a national championship. Auburn commit 4-star QB Holdern Geriner also deserves a lot of credit for his work behind the scenes in building a relationship with Riley-Ducker and selling the tight end on playing with him on the Plains.
A big versatile athlete, Riley-Ducker has the skillset Harsin loves to feature at the tight end position. He’s a big kid at 6’6” 235 lbs but he moves well for his size and flashes excellent hands. A dominant blocker on the edge, there aren’t many reps of him playing with his hand on the ground chipping defensive ends so that’s a part of his game that will need to be developed. You also have to love the edge he plays with. Between him, Landen King, and Brandon Frazier, the Tigers have some big time athletes in that room for the foreseeable future. It’s now about finding ways to get them the football.
After going months without a commitment in the 2022 class the Tigers have landed a new pledge on back to back days. July is likely to be a big month for Auburn as they look to build the foundation of this 2022 class heading into fall. 4-star RB Damari Alston is set to commit on July 25th and 4-star DL Caden Story will make his decision on August 1st. There’s also a very good chance 3-star LB Micah Pollard, 3-star DL Maxie Baudoin IV, 3-star S Caleb Wooden, 3-star WR Jay Fair, and 3-star OL Drew Bobo could all have decisions this month as well.
Chances are high when the month of July is over Auburn’s class ranking will be closer to where Tiger fans expect it to be heading into August. Landing Riley-Ducker is a great first step in that direction.
War Eagle Micah!