The 2016 recruiting class for Auburn started out almost half full before Signing Day even began. Auburn brought in nine early entrees who have been on campus and taking classes since January 13th. Those nine players will be going through spring practice and have an extra leg up on the other incoming freshmen. You could consider a tenth early enrollee with Ohio State transfer Jamel Dean. Dean, who redshirted and practiced with Auburn last season after leaving Ohio State and arriving in the summer, counts towards the 2016 recruiting class in terms of numbers. Unfortunately, he does not count towards the rankings for this year.
Auburn's class ended up ranked 8th in the nation according to the 247Sports Team Rankings. It wasn't quite as high as I was hoping, but it was still overall a very good class.
The Early Entrees
I wrote about these previously, so rather than burden you with links to each article, here's a link to a round-up of those players.
WR Kyle Davis
RB Malik Miller
TE Landon Rice
QB/ATH John Franklin III
LB Paul James III*
DL Marlon Davidson
DL Antwuan Jackson Jr
CB John Broussard
LB Tre Threat
DB Jamel Dean**
*James was one of the top JUCO defensive ends, but Auburn lists him as a linebacker in their tweet. That's an interesting footnote; particularly given Auburn only signing one true linebacker in this class.
**Dean transferred to Auburn last summer, but counts towards the 2016 class.
The Signing Day Class
The following are in order that their National Letters of Intent were received by Auburn. Click on the links to jump straight to the article about their signing with the Tigers, today.
*** Tashawn Manning is dealing with cancer and will not join the team for a few years.
We were hoping for more than one offensive tackle, and we were rewarded. Brodarious Hamm was a known commit, but new OL coach Herb Hand worked extra hard at the last second to secure Prince Sammons, as well. Auburn didn't become part of his recruitment until Hand was hired a few short weeks ago.
With these two on board, Auburn replaces the holes in the depth brought about by Avery Young and Shon Coleman departing early for the NFL. Snagging Sammons was the first big surprise of the day and it may be the best one.
Woody Barrett has all the tools to excel in Gus Malzahn's offense. He's a true dual-threat player. He needs some polish in the passing game and will probably redshirt in 2016, but expect to see him pushing hard for the starting job in 2017.
Oh Dameyune Craig, you sick, sick man. We knew Dameyune was a top recruiter. He proved it with this class. Auburn's haul at the WR position is one of the best in the nation. Southern Cal's might be a bit better in terms of rankings, but these guys are all still top-notch. Auburn's receivers struggled at times this last season with hanging on to the football when it was thrown their way. You can expect these new guys to push the ones who have been on campus for a while to improve their game if they want to keep their spots. I do expect to see at least two, if not all, of these signees on the field this fall.
Auburn swooped in late with an offer for Daniel Thomas of Montgomery after they missed on Nigel Warrior. I'm thrilled that they did. When I learned about Thomas, I was really hoping he'd find a way into this year's class. He'll join an impressive group with Jayvaughn Myers and Marlon Character. Character and Thomas are Safeties, while Myers is a Cornerback. They'll all have a chance to earn playing time next season, but I suspect Thomas at least will redshirt.
After two seasons of little pass rush, you can definitely question the coaching of the defensive line. What you can't question is Rodney Garner's abilities as a recruiter. Even if the DL class were only the early entrees, it was still one of the best in the nation. Adding 5* Derrick Brown this afternoon makes it even better. Auburn's defensive line next season could consist of former five stars across the board. That's going to be a lot of fun to watch.
Auburn High School kicker Sage Ledbetter signed to be a preferred walk-on at Auburn. Getting a good kicker on board for next season is big for Auburn. Daniel Carlson could always go pro after his junior year. Don't laugh, a kicker did it this past season. #Legatron is more than ready for the big time, and if he has a degree in hand, it wouldn't shock me to see him leave.
Auburn missed on 2-3 prospects that no one really expected they were going to get today, anyway. The Tigers lost a "commitment" in David Marshall to Georgia, which everyone saw coming weeks ago. They added a stellar wide receiver class and a 5* defensive tackle. I'd say that's pretty stellar.
The Tigers only signed 21 players, today, one of which is going to have to sit out a few years for medical reasons. To sign 20 people and still end up with a Top 10 class is impressive. Coach Malzahn & Company did some serious work on the recruiting trail.
It never ends, though. The Tigers are already looking forward to 2017's class, which is headlined by 5* OT Calvin Ashley. Because it's never too early to look ahead, we'll take a quick glance at the 2017 class and targets a bit later this week.
Another College Football Christmas is over. War Eagle, everyone. I'm going to go home, have myself a scotch, and then collapse.