Auburn Football: 7 Auburn Commits Make a Big Splash in the New Rivals Top 250
Early Tuesday afternoon, Rivals.com released its updated list of the top 250 high school prospects in the nation.
Out of the 250, 194 of those players are currently committed, and seven have pledged to play for the Auburn Tigers in 2013—but the Tigers plan on landing more than just those seven.
As things stand right now, Auburn’s recruiting class is very talented at the top—with commitments from the No. 2 and No. 4 players in the country (Reuben Foster and Carl Lawson).
The Tigers’ top-heavy class looks to get stronger as they are top contenders to acquire Derrick Green, Greg Bryant and Montravius Adams (the No. 13, 14 and 16 players on the list).
Even without those three talented prospects, Auburn has amassed a top-10 recruiting class, thus far, and looks to be gaining steam. The following slides profile the current Auburn commits who rank among the top 250 players in the nation.
QB Jeremy Johnson (No. 191)
The 18th-ranked quarterback in the nation took a huge step forward in these latest rankings by adding a coveted fourth star to his previous 3-star rating.
The 6'6", 215-pound pocket passer has been praised for his arm strength and his ability to properly read defenses—two attributes that will be tested early and often in Auburn offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler’s pro-style offense.
Loeffler, the first-year coordinator, reportedly spent most of the spring evaluating quarterbacks, and eventually picked Johnson as his QB of the future, calling him “the chosen one" (via Charles Goldberg of al.com).
Johnson remarks (via Jay G. Tate of the Montgomery Advertiser), “(Loeffler) said I’m the ‘chosen one.’ He said they told the other four or five quarterbacks that they were talking to that I’m the chosen one. I’m the only quarterback that they’re (signing). They’re not going to take any other quarterbacks.”
With this level of praise surrounding the strong-armed passer—who has been compared to former Tiger Jason Campbell—some very high expectations will surely accompany him on the Plains.
In his sophomore and junior seasons, Johnson passed for a total of 5,030 yards and 48 TDs.
Jordan Wilkins (No. 137)
At 6'1", 210 pounds, Jordan Wilkins is the prototypical power back whom Scot Loeffler has been looking for.
But this big back can do more than just bring a “pop” with his 200-plus-pound frame—Wilkins can also separate from defenders with his 4.41 speed.
Surprisingly, even with his combination of size and speed, Wilkins—a Tennessee native—has managed to fly under the radar for most of the recruiting process.
Though he is not talked about as much as some other ball-carriers on the Rivals top 250 list, he possesses just as much potential. Wilkins’ potential wasn't only seen by Auburn, his long list of offers includes Wisconsin, Tennessee, Michigan, Arkansas and others.
After rushing for 17 TDs and nearly 1,700 yards in his junior campaign, Wilkins looks more than capable of stepping onto the Plains in 2013 and contributing to the decorated RB legacy at Auburn.
LB Trey Johnson (No. 80)
Over the past two years, the second-best inside linebacker in the nation has consistently proven that he can be a handful for offenses to handle—totaling over 315 tackles in his junior and senior seasons.
Johnson’s high school coach, Todd Wofford, spoke (via Mike Carvell of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution) highly of the 6'1", 222-pound linebacker, saying he is a real “student of the game, who watches a lot of film, is a great tackler, and can blow things up in the middle of the field.”
Along with his imposing inside presence, Johnson’s coach also says he has “the speed and quickness to be a sideline-to-sideline guy.”
This speed and quickness will be tested at the next level—as Johnson will likely be asked to play outside linebacker while at Auburn.
Johnson’s knack for being in the right place at the right time, along with his ability to deliver hard hits and cover backs/tight ends have earned him a spot well within the nation’s top 250 players.
WR Earnest Robinson (No. 45)
The best WR in the state of Alabama was also one of Auburn’s very first commits—issuing his pledge to the Tigers on February 26.
Since then, Earnest Robinson has steadily watched his stock rise, flying up from No. 101 in the nation to his current position of No. 45.
Many suspect Robinson’s original rank was low due to his lack of consistency. The 6'3", 200-pound wideout acknowledged this inconsistent play in an interview with al.com (via Jeff Sentell of The Birmingham News).
“Sometimes I used to slack off,” said the receiver. “You could tell I wasn’t getting the ball by how I got off the line or not blocking on a play. That’s not me now. I’ve learned I can be a lot better than that. I’m not trying to get the big head out there, but at times I could be a little lazy.”
Since his change in attitude, Robinson’s camp appearances have been stellar. According to same article by Sentell, some analysts are even calling him “incredible” and saying his performance at the Rivals 5-star camp could “carry his name into the discussion as the nation’s top prep receiver.”
With only 11 receivers ranked above him in the current top 250, expect Robinson’s name to continue flying up the ranks before he makes his debut on the Plains.
DT/DE Dee Liner (No. 21)
The nation’s fifth-ranked defensive lineman saw his stock drop after a summer of two arrests (via Nick Lough of WAFF 48) and dismissal from his high school football team (via tweet by Bryan App of Florence (Ala.) TimesDaily.
But, even though the past few months have been difficult for the 6'2", 275-pound defender, he still finds himself in the top 25 and with both time and opportunity to see his stock rise again.
Liner’s biggest strength lies in the fact that he can succeed at any position on the defensive line. When playing DT, Liner—who possesses 4.86 speed—is simply too quick for most guards and centers to handle; and when playing DE, Liner’s mass—weighing almost 300 pounds—is more than most offensive tackles can handle.
Once Liner and his coaches get a handle on his off-the-field issues, this young man could develop into a household name in the SEC.
DE Carl Lawson (No. 4)
Carl Lawson is the first of Auburn’s two top five commits.
The 6'2", 250-pound defenseman has been one of the most talked about prospects since the summer camp season began—and for good reason!
CBS Sports’ Bryan Fischer spoke of Lawson’s performance at the Charlotte Nike Camp saying he “physically looked ready for the next level and showed a quick initial burst and high-end speed off the edge.”
Carl Lawson will almost certainly develop into one of the most feared defenders in the SEC during his time on the Plains.
LB Reuben Foster (No. 2)
The most controversial of all Auburn commitments has been standout middle linebacker Reuben Foster.
After flipping his pledge from Alabama to Auburn, Foster—the No. 2 player in the nation—received everything from hate mail to an investigation (via Michael Carvell of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution) at the hands of the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA).
But, none of it stopped him from maintaining his status as one of the nation’s top two players.
The hard-hitting No. 2 overall player will provide an instant impact on the Plains where his pass-rushing and downhill run defense will instantly upgrade the Tigers’ linebacking unit.
The 6'2", 230-pound inside linebacker has been a consistent force on the field since his freshman year—totaling 110 or more tackles each season, including 185 tackles and 14 sacks in his junior campaign.
Foster’s consistency will be very valuable when he steps foot on the Plains in 2013 and will very likely earn him spots on a few SEC All-Conference lists in the future.
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