Auburn Football Recruiting: Tracking 2012 National Signing Day Targets
National Signing Day is finally here, as the anticipation for the 2012 signing classes has reached an all-time high. Last season was a crazy finish at the top, but this year has garnered more high-profile attention than in years past. This is the first season that so many of the national elite prospects are holding out until signing day and beyond.
The Auburn Tigers have landed two of the most talented classes in school history the past two seasons. In both years, the Tigers staff has closed extremely well, and this season looks to be no different. The Tigers are in for a number of elite prospects and could finish with four to six of the nation’s most elite prospects.
Looking ahead to signing day, here is a detailed look at the Tigers' remaining prospects and commits. As signing day reaches and letters of intent are faxed, the status of these players will be updated promptly. Check back for up-to-the-minute updates on the status of the Auburn Tigers' 2012 signing class.
Eddie Goldman: DT, Friendship Collegiate Academy, Washington, D.C.
ESPN: No. 1 DT, No. 10 Overall
Scout: No. 4 DL
Eddie Goldman is considered by many to be the most talented defensive lineman in the 2012 class. Goldman has elite size and quickness for an interior lineman and will play comfortably above the 300-mark.
Goldman could come in and contribute at any school with his raw ability, but he will have to improve on his consistency. Goldman has great height, coming in at 6’4”, but he shows the ability to stay low with his point of contact and drive his opponent to the rear with his leverage. Goldman will be a dominate player at the collegiate level from day one.
Committed to Florida State on 2/1
Ronald Darby: DB, Potomac High School, Oxon Hill, Md.
ESPN: No. 3 CB, No. 38 Overall
Scout: No. 1 CB
Ronald Darby started out as a commitment to Notre Dame. He decommited from Notre Dame in January, and since, it has appeared to be a Florida State and Auburn race. Darby played both running back and cornerback in high school and was a dangerous player in both capacities.
Darby is a raw cornerback, but will fit that role in college. He is one of the fastest players in the 2012 class and could be an instant impact player on special teams as a return man. Darby is a talented speedster that will have to prove more aggressive to be successful in the defensive backfield in college, but given the right system, he should flourish.
Committed to Florida State on 2/1
Avery Young: OT, Palm Beach Gardens High School, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Rivals: No. 9 OT, No. 74 Overall
ESPN: No. 8 OT, No. 61 Overall
Scout: No. 5 OT
Young is one of the more athletic offensive linemen in the 2012 class. He has good height at 6’5” and should be able to add healthy weight in college. Young has great hands and feet in pass protection and shows good pad level on initial movement in run blocking.
Young will need to improve his strength to become an elite blocker in college, but he has all the tools to be a very special lineman after a year in a college weight program. Young has been extremely quiet on the recruiting trail, but appears to be down to two to three schools. His decision will be made on signing day, and at this point, it appears to be a toss-up.
Committed to Auburn on 2/1
Stefon Diggs: WR, Our Lady of Good Counsel, Olney, Md.
Rivals: No. 2 WR, No. 8 Overall
ESPN: No. 3 ATH, No. 13 Overall
Scout: No. 2 WR
Diggs is a pure playmaker. He has played both running back and receiver at the high school level, but projects at receiver in college. He has good top-end speed and superior athleticism that makes separating from a defender appear smooth and easy.
Diggs shows the ability to make tacklers miss in the secondary and will play well out of the slot in most offenses. He will be able to stretch the field for his future offense and should develop into an elite receiver at the next level. Diggs could also add time as a return man on special teams.
Committed to Maryland on 2/11
Cordarrelle Patterson: WR, Hutchinson C.C., Hutchinson, Kan.
Rivals: No. 1 WR (JUCO), No. 4 Overall (JUCO)
Cordarrelle Patterson is the elite prospect heading out of JUCO for the 2012 recruiting season. Patterson has spent a season at Hutchinson Community College in Hutchinson, Kan. He caught 61 passes for 924 yards and 15 touchdowns this past season. He also added 32 carries, 379 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns to his stat line.
Patterson is originally from Rock Hill, S.C. and is looking to make an instant impact wherever he lands. Patterson has great awareness and changes direction during the play. He also shows the ability to track the ball well and reach outside his body to make plays. He also will help stretch the field at the next level.
Committed to Tennessee on 2/1
Ricardo Louis: WR, Miami Beach High School, Miami Beach, Fla.
Rivals: No. 27 WR, No. 183 Overall
ESPN: No. 5 ATH, No. 21 Overall
Scout: No. 29 WR
Louis is an elite athlete in this year’s class. Louis played varying positions in high school, but he has seen little time at the receiver position. Most, if not all, projections have him playing receiver, so despite his athleticism, there are questions surrounding his ability to run routes and catch the football consistently.
He has elite speed and has an amazing knack for making plays. He will benefit a team on special teams immediately, but should take a year or two to settle into a firm receiver role. Once he becomes polished, Louis has the skill set to become an elite talent at the collegiate level.
Louis made his recruitment interesting after he decommitted from Auburn and committed to Florida State. He has since decommitted from the Seminoles and remains open until his final decision is made on signing day.
Committed to Auburn on 2/1
Jordan Diamond: OT, Simeon High School, Chicago, Ill.
Rivals: No. 28 OT, NR Overall
ESPN: No. 10 OT, No. 94 Overall
Scout: No. 8 OT
Diamond is a very talented offensive line prospect in the 2012 class. He has great strength and shows consistent finishing and aggression with his blocks. He will engage the opponent and play hard to the whistle. Diamond is a 6’6” player that is just a shade under 300. He has a great frame and should be able to add bulk over time in a college-level training program.
Diamond will be an asset relatively early in his career, showing great arm stretch and feet in pass-blocking and good pad level in run-blocking. Diamond is one of the more physical lineman prospects in this class.
Signed with Auburn 2.3.12
Alex Kozan: OG, Valor Christian High School, Castle Rock, Colo.
Rivals: No. 12 OG, NR Overall
ESPN: No. 23 OG, NR Overall
Scout: No. 16 OG
Kozan is a highly-regarded offensive line prospect. Kozan shows great aggression at the point of attack and has good pad level. He has the ability to make it to the second level and attack linebackers, helping create and open running lanes for his offense.
Kozan has spent the majority of his playing career at the tackle position, but most, if not all, programs project him to shift inside to guard in college. He has the athleticism and aggression to be a quality offensive lineman and a big pick-up for a program in this class. He isn’t likely to play right away as he adjusts to the guard role, but after a redshirt season, he should be quite a load in the trenches.
Committed to Iowa on 1.30.12
Arik Armstead: DE, Pleasant Grove High School, Elk Grove, Calif.
Rivals: No. 6 DE, No. 61 Overall
ESPN: No. 3 OT, No. 24 Overall
Scout: No. 1 OT
Arik Armstead has had one of the more roller-coaster recruitments during this 2012 recruiting season. His brother, Armond Armstead, is a senior at USC and was looking to transfer outside of the Pac-12 to play with his brother. After attempting Notre Dame and a transfer waiver in the SEC for Auburn, it appears that Armond may be staying put. Armond’s absence makes it seem likely for Arik to stay on the West Coast.
Armstead is an elite prospect in this class and projects at both offensive and defensive line. Armstead has made it apparently clear that defense is his future goal, however. Armstead shows elite speed and athleticism for his size and will be an instant playmaker from day one. His quickness and strength should allow him to play in opponents' backfields often.
Committed to Oregon 1.29.12
Leonard Williams: DE, Mainland High School, Daytona Beach, Fla.
Rivals: No. 5 DE, No. 53 Overall
ESPN: No. 5 DT, No. 50 Overall
Scout: No. 13 DE
Williams is as raw of a talent as they come. Williams is one of the most elite defensive linemen in this class because of his pure athletic ability. Williams shows great strength and speed and is a very aggressive downhill attacking defender.
He will have to perfect his technique at the next level, or he will lose more battles than he will win. He has all of the physical tools to become an elite pass rusher on the outside or grow into a terrifying inside man in college. Whichever route his coaching staff takes him at the next level, ensuring that he keeps his pads low at contact and becomes more refined with his hand techniques is a must for his wealth of talents to grow into a dominant football player.
Committed to USC on 2/1
Kwon Alexander: LB, Oxford High School, Oxford, Ala.
Rivals: No. 20 OLB, NR Overall
ESPN: No. 3 OLB, No. 29 Overall
Scout: No. 3 OLB
Kwon Alexander is an elite linebacker from the state of Alabama. Alexander has great closing speed and tackling ability for his position. He will fit in the role of outside linebacker very well in college. He has great awareness in the running game and shows good coverage skills.
Alexander’s aggressive play creates turnovers, as he can appear from nowhere to make bone-chilling hits on his opponents. He has shown the ability to read offenses well enough to time his blitzes and make fast penetration into the backfield. Look for Alexander to earn time early on special teams, and eventually, as a starter at outside linebacker.
Committed to LSU on 2/1
Jordan Moore: DB, Martin Luther King High School, Lithonia, Ga.
ESPN: No. 15 S, NR Overall
Scout: No. 26 S
Moore is a diamond in the rough-type player for the 2012 class. He is a track star that was well on his way to run track on scholarship at TCU until his film began to garner offers from some of the top programs in the south. Moore has only played one year of football, but shows great athleticism and hits with reckless abandon.
Moore has elite speed and plays well against the run. He will need to work on his footwork in pass-coverage in college, as his speed will not always be able to make up for lost steps. He also always attempts to blow away the ball carrier when at times, a form tackle may be required. Despite his raw talent, Moore has tremendous upside and will be a huge pickup for whichever program lands his signature.
Committed to TCU on 1.31.12
Will Adams: OT, Sandy Creek High School, Tyrone, Ga.
ESPN: No. 174 OT, NR Overall
Scout: No. 88 OT
Adams is a teammate of current Auburn commit JaQuay Williams. Williams and Adams made a last-minute trip to Auburn this weekend for Adams to make a final visit before signing day on Wednesday. Adams is currently a Georgia Tech commit, and he wanted to ensure himself of his decision to become a Yellow Jacket. He recently received an Auburn offer and currently looks to be the Tigers' to lose.
Adams is not an elite lineman in this class, and much of that has to do with his playing weight and quickness on his drive step. Adams lists at 6’5”, but he is only 270 currently. He needs a redshirt season, as most linemen do, but with that, he could add bulk to his frame and work into a formidable lineman at the collegiate level. He has the speed to make it to the second level and aggression that is looked for in line play.
Committed to Auburn on 2/1
Deon Bush: DB, Columbus High School, Miami, Fla. (Commit)
Rivals: No. 6 S, No. 83 Overall
ESPN: No. 4 S, No. 101 Overall
Scout: No. 18 S
Bush is an extremely fast and athletic safety. Bush is one of the best safety prospects in this class. He has great play recognition and has shown the ability to close on the football well. Bush can use his speed to recover on lost steps and has the hips to cover man if called on to do so. He has the frame needed to add bulk and will need to if he wants to become an elite player at the collegiate level.
Bush can make plays in space and can tackle relatively well for his position. He will play well enough to the football to keep big plays from happening and has the ability to make them himself. Bush can also be a big asset on special teams, as his speed and field vision could be put to use in the return game.
Committed to Miami (Fl) 1.7.12
Projection: Miami (Fl)
Shane Callahan: OT, Chaparral High School, Parker, Colo.
Rivals: No. 22 OT, No. 212 Overall
ESPN: No. 28 OT, NR Overall
Scout: No. 33 OT
Callahan is a strong and athletic offensive line prospect. He projects at offensive tackle and has the aggressive drive that fits the role well. Callahan shows strong finishes on his blocks and has a good initial explosiveness off of the football.
Callahan has a tendency to play a little high, and at the collegiate level, that will cause some line-push issues. He has the upper-body strength to control his opponent well and manhandled lesser competition at the high school level. Callahan has the frame to add bulk and will need to if he plans to last on the outside for four years. His upside is tremendous, and having him enroll early was a major plus for both Auburn and Callahan.
Enrolled at Auburn for spring semester
Patrick Miller: OT, Dwyer High School, West Palm Beach, Fla.
Rivals: No. 24 OT, No. 225 Overall
ESPN: No. 23 OT, NR Overall
Scout: No. 30 OT
Miller is what coaches envision when they think of offensive linemen. Miller plays to the whistle and will aggressively attack his opponent until he wins. Miller is tall, coming in at 6’7”, but he lacks ideal weight, only tipping the scales at around 260. With time in a proper weight-training program, Miller can be scary good.
Because he lacks ideal weight currently, he makes up for it with his aggression and technique. He plays well in the run game, but has some development that is needed in the pass protection game. Look for Miller to develop into an elite lineman that has a lasting career in orange and blue. Miller may be one of the best pickups for the Tigers in the 2012 class.
Enrolled at Auburn for spring semester
Javiere Mitchell, LB, Leeds High School, Leeds, Ala.
Rivals: No. 25 OLB, NR Overall
ESPN: No. 82 OLB, NR Overall
Scout: No. 46 OLB
Mitchell has surprisingly played along the defensive line for much of his career in high school. Despite only weighing in at 200, Mitchell shows the strength and tenacity to make it past offensive linemen and play in the backfield of the opponent.
Mitchell has a never quit attitude and is tough to stop once his motor gets running. He projects at the outside linebacker position and will likely fill the role extremely well. Mitchell has the build to add good weight in a college weight program and possibly improve slightly on his speed. He shows a very good ability to wrap and tackle and will likely impact immediately on special teams for the Tigers.
Enrolled at Auburn for spring semester
Zeke Pike: QB, Dixie Heights High School, Edgewood, Ky.
Rivals: No. 16 QB, NR Overall
247sports: No. 14 QB, NR Overall
ESPN: No. 38 QB, NR Overall
Scout: No. 16 QB
Zeke Pike has taken a lot of criticism in the past year for his play and off-the-field antics. Pike traveled the camp circuit, such as the Elite 11, and performed moderately well, but he lacked the consistency that scouting services are looking for in an elite quarterback prospect. On film, Pike shows out. He is a raw and extremely talented playmaker.
There are times that Pike doesn’t play over his feet and won’t allow for his body to set before he makes throws. He can go off target from time to time as well, but the athleticism possessed by receivers at the collegiate level should help him gain some completions despite the inaccuracy. Pike likes to throw the football, but can make plays with his feet when necessary. With great coaching, Pike could be a stud by the end of his career.
Enrolled at Auburn for spring semester
Joshua Holsey: DB, Creekside High School, Fairburn, Ga.
Rivals: No. 15 CB, No. 180 Overall
ESPN: No. 8 CB, No. 86 Overall
Scout: No. 12 CB
Holsey is one of the prized recruits in this year’s Tigers class. Holsey is an extremely quick and athletic defensive back that shows elite awareness and a knack for reading the quarterback. He has shown the ability to jump routes consistently, making him dangerous in coverage.
He does not have elite level speed, but should play aggressive enough at the line for that not to matter. Holsey will be a very good player once he finishes his physical development and stands the chance to be a very special player for the Tigers defense. He may be a player that makes an instant impact for the Tigers.
Committed to Auburn 5.24.11
Cassanova McKinzy: LB, Woodlawn High School, Birmingham, Ala.
Rivals: No. 19 OLB, No. 245 Overall
ESPN: No. 31 OLB, NR Overall
Scout: No. 10 MLB
Cassanova McKinzy hails from Woodlawn High School, the same high school that produced Auburn linebacker Karlos Dansby. McKinzy reminds me a lot of Dansby with his aggressive closing speed and big-play propensity from the outside linebacker position. McKinzy can play in pass coverage, but don’t expect him to consistently play well in man-to-man situations.
McKinzy has exceptional tackling skills, which are something the Tigers have been missing the past few seasons. He has great play recognition and has a nose for finding the football. McKinzy doesn’t mind playing close to the line and has good timing in blitz packages.
Committed to Auburn 3.24.11
Tyler Nero: DL, Escambia County High School, Atmore, Alabama
Rivals: No. 22 DT, NR Overall
ESPN: No. 33 DT, NR Overall
Scout: No. 11 DT
Nero’s biggest asset is his hustle. Nero gets after the football on every play and will make good things happen for a defense. He has good size as it is, but will likely add an additional 20-30 pounds in a collegiate program.
Nero has been able to be very impacting at the line of scrimmage on the high school circuit and will likely do the same in college once he settles into his size and cleans up his technique. He is strong at the point of attack and can do a good job of driving back the offensive linemen. He needs to work on his consistency, but Nero should turn out to be a very solid interior lineman for the Tigers.
Committed to Auburn 8.2.11
Ricky Parks: TE, Callaway High School, Hogansville, Ga.
Rivals: No. 2 TE, No. 123 Overall
247sports: No. 1 TE, No. 78 Overall
ESPN: No. 8 ATH, No. 74 Overall
Scout: No. 5 TE
Parks has played his football at the quarterback position his entire career. He has an excellent frame and the size that is needed to excel at numerous positions, but Auburn likes Parks at tight end. Parks will come in and play behind seasoned veteran Philip Lutzenkirchen and upcoming sophomores Brandon Fulse and C.J. Uzomah.
Parks brings unique playmaking ability to the gridiron, however, so he may be able to work his way onto the field as a freshman. Despite the learning curve that will be present from the switch of positions, Parks has the athletic ability to overcome some miscues. There is no way to currently judge his ball skills, so it is tough to assume how he will be catching the football. If he can catch, he will be a very important piece in the Loeffler offense.
Committed to Auburn 6.10.11
Jovon Robinson: RB, Wooddale High School, Memphis, Tenn.
Rivals: No. 10 RB, No. 136 Overall
247sports: No. 14 RB, No. 237 Overall
ESPN: No. 21 RB, NR Overall
Scout: No. 22 RB
Jovon Robinson is possibly Auburn’s most underappreciated prospect. While most fans were writhing in agony over the loss of T.J. Yeldon, Robinson was quietly going to work preparing his attendance of Auburn University in the fall. Once he arrives, he isn’t likely to fall under anyone’s shadow.
Robinson is a big-bodied back that has the ability to carry the every down load in the SEC. He shows the ability to make cut backs at full speed and lay into defensive backs in the secondary. Robinson won’t leave elite defenders, but stands the chance of breaking their tackle attempts just the same.
Committed to Auburn 7.16.11
JaQuay Williams: WR, Sandy Creek High School, Tyrone, Ga.
Rivals: No. 14 WR, No. 90 Overall
247sports: No. 12 WR, No. 108 Overall
ESPN: No. 26 WR, NR Overall
Scout: No. 16 WR
Williams has been a very highly-sought-after prospect in the past few weeks, with Georgia making a hard push for his signature. Williams is a very tough receiver who has good height and knows how to track a pass and win the jump ball. Williams will not leave a defense with his speed, but he will serve an offense well in possession downs and in the red zone.
Williams is strong and can seek out the pass even if it appears outside of his “bread box." Look for Williams to develop into a very quality receiver that will likely end his career as the “go-to guy” for his quarterback.
Committed to Auburn 6.16.11
T.J. Davis: DB, Godby High School, Tallahassee, Fla.
Rivals: No. 29 CB, NR Overall
247sports: No. 43 CB, NR Overall
ESPN: No. 14 CB, NR Overall
Scout: No. 51 CB
Davis may be one of the more overlooked cornerback prospects on the Tigers commitment list. Davis has great speed and athletic ability and plays well in both man and zone coverage. He has the ability to stick to a receiver’s hip and can play on the ball well.
Look for Davis to be a guy that develops into a big-play defensive back for the Tigers in the future. He may not make an instant impact, but once he develops into his frame, he will see his playing time increase. He is not afraid to make plays in the box and pursues the run well, although he doesn’t consistently wrap the ball carrier.
Committed to Auburn 8.23.11
Darrion Hutcherson: TE, Dadeville High School, Dadeville, Ala.
Rivals: No. 20 TE, NR Overall
247sports: No. 13 TE, NR Overall
ESPN: No. 31 TE, NR Overall
Scout: No.14 TE
Hutcherson reminds me a lot of former Tigers tight end Robert Johnson. He is a big bodied guy that will be at his best as a blocker at the next level. He will fit very well in the Loeffler scheme, as he also has the hands to slip outside of the defense from the inside position and catch passes on the perimeter.
Hutcherson split out a bunch in high school, but that isn’t a real fit for his size and speed. He will be able to add additional weight to his frame in college and may end up making a switch to offensive line if the need were ever to present itself. If Hutcherson stays as a pass-catcher, he could be dangerous if he makes it into the secondary.
Committed to Auburn 4.21.11
Jonathan Jones: DB, Carrollton High School, Carollton, Ga.
Rivals: No. 40 CB, NR Overall
247sports: No. 39 CB, NR Overall
ESPN: No. 23 CB
Scout: No. 46 CB
Jones is a prototypical nickelback at the college level. Jones is very aggressive at the point of the attack and loves contact. He has a great closing short burst that lights into the ball carrier and can force big plays. Jones plays with good awareness and can play well in a zone scheme where he can sit and judge the quarterback.
Jones is smaller-than-ideal size for cornerbacks in today’s game, but names like Jerraud Powers and Jonathan Wilhite come to mind when Auburn fans talk smaller over performing corners. Jones should look to the recent success of Tyrann Mathieu for inspiration as to how impacting he can be for the Tigers for the next four years.
Committed to Auburn 8.20.11
Robert Leff: OT, Fairhope High School, Fairhope, Ala.
Rivals: No. 70 OT, NR Overall
247sports: No. 107 OT, NR Overall
ESPN: No. 132 OT, NR Overall
Scout: No. 43 OG
Leff is a tall offensive lineman with a lot of growth that can be added to his frame. He is similar to Patrick Miller in that he has excellent height and reach, but lacks the technical skill to be extremely effective in pass protection.
Leff will likely redshirt his first season so that he can add weight to his frame. He has the quickness and the aggressiveness to excel on the outside of the line. Leff has also shown the ability to recover when he needs to change direction, as he has quick feet and smooth hips. He plays high at times, but shows the ability to have good knee bend and good pad level for most plays.
Committed to Auburn 12.20.11
Gimel President: DE, Wando High School, Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
247sports: No. 42 DE, NR Overall
ESPN: No. 41 DE, NR Overall
Scout: No. 44 DE
President is a powerful defensive end that plays with a motor that keeps on running. He plays well at the point of attack at the high-school level, but will need to work on his hand placement to be effective at the collegiate level. He plays both inside and outside at the high-school level and has the frame to add weight and become a versatile player in college.
Because President is a tweener so to speak, most rating authorities have him placed in the mid-to-lower-tier of defensive end. President did make the Parade All-American list for the 2011 season, however. President may be one of the steals for Gene Chizik and the 2012 Tigers class.
Committed to Auburn 7.28.11
Jay Prosch: FB, University of Illinois (transfer), Mobile, Ala.
Prosch was an unranked recruit coming out of UMS-Wright Preparatory School in Mobile, Ala. two years ago. Late in the process, Prosch received an offer from Illinois, and he chose to sign with the Fighting Illini. Prosch went from 2-star recruit to All-American fullback in just two seasons.
Prosch only has two career carries, but his effect is truly felt in the blocking game and on special teams. Prosch is a bulldozer of a lead blocker, at times taking out two defenders. He also is a force on special teams, leading the Illini in tackles a season ago.
Prosch transferred to Auburn to get closer to home as his mother battles cancer and is expected to receive a hardship waiver to play immediately. Look for Prosch to make an instant impact as a lead blocker for the Tigers in the new offensive system installed by Scot Loeffler.
***Jay Prosch WILL count toward this season's recruiting numbers***