Auburn has pulled in major talent on the recruiting trail in the past few seasons under Gene Chizik. The Tigers have a host of talent all over the field, but there are five positions that will need to be focused on in the 2013 recruiting class.
This recruiting season has started well for the Tigers with big needs being met at a number of key positions. There are still voids that need to be filled before the Auburn staff can feel too comfortable however.
The quarterback position is a big focus for new offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler, as is the receiver and tight end positions. On defense, the Tigers must rebuild a soon to be deflated linebacking corps.
Looking ahead to the 2013 recruiting class, here are the five positions that the Tigers need to fill.
One of the most obvious positions of need for the Tigers is the linebacker position.
The Tigers head into 2012 with three seniors and a junior looking to be major contributors. Daren Bates, Jonathan Evans and Ashton Richardson enter their final season on the Plains. Jake Holland is the next in line with experience, as the talented junior will start in the middle for the Tigers.
Those four really hold the key to the linebacker play for Auburn this fall. Kris Frost will look to make an impact as a redshirt freshman, but the Tigers will need to reload heavily in the 2013 class at this position.
The Tigers are currently well on their way to filling the void as Auburn has Cameron Toney, Trey Johnson and Jarrad Davis committed. The Tigers could add one to two more linebackers to fill out the class.
Holding on to the current commits will undoubtedly be the top priority for the Tigers staff.
The Tigers will see three seniors depart the receiving corps in 2012. Auburn will also lose record setting tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen to graduation.
There will be huge shoes to fill when Emory Blake departs with Lutzenkirchen. The Tigers have not received a lot of production value from any receivers outside of Lutzenkirchen or Blake, but the leadership will be missed.
The other seniors still have one final season to make an impact. Giving Travante Stallworth and DeAngelo Benton the benefit of future statistical projection, I think the impact of the loss of both will be big after this season.
Auburn has a host of talented young freshmen and sophomores ready to step up when the seniors depart, but Auburn needs to continue to grow its talent pool at receiver and tight end.
Auburn will look to bring in at least one quality tight end this recruiting cycle, and at least two to three more receivers.
Currently the Tigers have Earnest Robinson as the lone receiver committed for the 2013 class. The Tigers are pursuing a number of top recruits, with O.J. Howard being the most high profile. Howard is the No. 1 tight end in the country, and is currently committed to Alabama.
Auburn is in a tough spot in the quarterback depth department. Currently, the Tigers only have three quarterbacks on campus that are scholarship quarterbacks. Jonathan Wallace will join the team this summer as a part of the 2012 class, but he doesn’t project as a signal caller.
Offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler has aggressively hit the streets evaluating a number of top quarterbacks in the 2013 class. Auburn may sign two quarterbacks to fill out the roster, as Clint Moseley is a rising junior.
Auburn needs to sign a big recruit at the quarterback position. I expect this to be a major focus for first year coordinator Scot Loeffler.
The Auburn Tigers have had consistent production from the specialist position in program history. The Tigers have continued on the path of kicking success with Cody Parkey and Steven Clark becoming dangerous weapons for the Tigers in the past two seasons.
The Tigers are looking to bring in a few more specialists this season as both Parkey and Clark will be rising juniors for the 2012 season.
The Tigers already have a commitment from Jimmy Hutchinson, the No. 1 ranked punter in the country according to 247sports.com.
The fullback position is making a comeback at Auburn. It starts with Jay Prosch, but with the talented junior being locked-in for only two more seasons, the Tigers need to find a backup soon.
Auburn saw a major shift in offensive philosophy with the hiring of Scot Loeffler as offensive coordinator. Sure the Tigers' goal was to run the football with Malzahn—a goal that will continue with Loeffler—but the formations will be drastically different.
Auburn fans will welcome back the fullback with open arms, as the Tigers lost production from the tight end position in the past two seasons because of blocking assignments.
Look for Auburn to focus in on a few fullback recruits as the 2013 recruiting class continues to build.