Give or take a player or two, it appears Auburn has 62 scholarship players coming back for the 2012 season. This is a full 23 players under the 85 scholarship player limit set forth by the NCAA. Four more freshmen have enrolled early leaving Auburn with 19 more possible slots to fill on the roster.
Of these 19 slots, it appears 12 should be taken by recruits that claim to be committed to Auburn for this class. This leaves Auburn with seven more slots to be filled by unknown recruits or those that might not have made their intentions public.
Auburn has 14 seniors expected to return for the 2012 season. Of those, Dee Ford is eligible to apply for an extra medical hardship season if he so chooses. This could result in an added year of eligibility. Only one of the returning seniors has not contributed significant playing time thus far in their careers.
One returning junior and one returning senior are former walk-ons that earned a one-year scholarship last season. These players may or may not earn another scholarship for the 2012 season.
This leaves Auburn with as many as 25 vacant slots on the roster that could be filled by the 2012 recruiting class. Four of these available slots have been filled by early enrollees Shane Callahan, Zeke Pike, Patrick Miller and Javiere Mitchell.
The remainder of the 12 recruits that claim to be committed to Auburn at present can not be considered solid until they begin classes at Auburn later this year. If all 12 keep their stated commitment, Auburn has up to nine available slots to fill in this class.
Auburn can afford to be selective with these available slots as they had no significant holes to fill from graduation, attrition or early NFL draftees.
With nine available slots and a huge pool of talent available, Auburn fans can expect a lot of activity in recruiting during these last days before the national signing period begins February 1, 2012.
Auburn fans should not worry if the Auburn staff elects not to fill all available slots. Auburn only graduates 14 seniors next season and even if one adds in possible early NFL draftees it is likely that Auburn will be pushed to have room on the roster for a full class of 25 in 2013. Saving a few available slots from this season could ease this future situation and even out class sizes going forward.
If there are ample high-caliber recruits available to fill all slots, it is very likely Auburn will move in that direction and worry about making the class sizes more equal later.
Current listings of Auburn’s committed recruits can be found at Rivals, Scout, ESPN, 24/7 Sports. While the overall rankings of individual recruits and individual classes are suspect at best for all of these sites, all are full of entertaining and useful information for the avid college football fan.