Auburn Football Recruiting: Predicting Auburn's 2013 Recruiting Class
With less than two full weeks until national signing day, the full court press is on the top college prospects in America.
Soak all of the attention in, kids. Before long, you'll be wearing five sets of shoulder pads and carrying the water jugs to practice in a 110-degree sweltering August heat wave.
Gus Malzahn has only had a month-and-a-half to retain and recruit his first recruiting class as Auburn's head coach. It has had its share of ups and downs.
There have been high-profile de-commitments and some key commitments along the way.
So how will the class end up? The only certainty is that it will be a roller-coaster ride from now until national signing day on Feb. 6.
Auburn currently has 16 commitments and will likely sign 21 to 23 players to national letters of intent on signing day due to scholarship numbers. The signing cap mandated by the SEC is 25 signees per class.
In an attempt to do the impossible, here's my guess on who will be the newest members of the Auburn Tigers as a part of the 2013 recruiting class.
Jeremy Johnson, (4-star, Montgomery, AL)
Johnson was pondering the thought of taking a visit to Ole Miss, but after a recent in-home meeting Malzahn, he has decided to not take any more visits and focus on recruiting the rest of the way for Auburn.
"I'm 100 percent with Auburn," he said. "This is where I want to be. Now is my time to recruit, to get players around me, skill position-wise." (via Charles Goldberg, al.com)
Running Back (3)
photo via Allan Hancock College
Cameron Artis-Payne (3-star, Santa Maria, CA)
Tarean Folston (4-star, Cocoa, FL)
Tyren Jones (4-star, Marietta, GA)
Auburn would like to take up to three RBs in the 2013 recruiting class. It already has one signed in top JUCO RB Artis-Payne. He has signed and enrolled in classes at Auburn and will participate in spring practice.
Auburn is in the running for the commitment of Derrick Green, who is one of the country’s top high school RBs. Green is likely headed to Michigan.
After missing out on Green, Auburn will turn the heat up on Tarean Folston. Folston is a ND commit but left his official visit with Auburn on Jan. 20 with nothing but good to say about the Tigers. He was especially pleased with the man who would be his position coach should he sign with the Tigers. That is, if Rich Bisaccia is still at Auburn.
"Coach Bisaccia is my man," Folston said. (via Charles Goldberg, al.com)
Jones would be a surprise signee but it would not be surprising if Auburn goes after the Alabama commitment if it misses out on Derrick Green. Jones holds an AU offer and Auburn can offer him a better chance at early playing time and a chance at being closer to his home in Marietta, GA.
Wide Receivers (3)
Earnest Robinson (3-star, Pinson, AL)
Tony Stevens (4-star, Orlando, FL)
Dominic Walker (3-star, Orlando, FL)
Robinson has been committed to Auburn for nearly a year and his commitment has not swayed despite the Tigers’ 3-9 record in 2012 and a coaching change.
Auburn was able to flip the pledge of Stevens during his official visit to the Plains on the weekend of Jan. 19. The Rivals 100 prospect was committed to Texas A&M, but his lead recruiter and future position coach swayed him over to play for the Tigers.
Walker is Stevens’ teammate and had been a solid commitment to Nebraska. Like Stevens, an official visit to Auburn made him change his tune. Walker is still committed to Nebraska, but Auburn has the momentum for his signature.
Offensive Line (2)
Photo via 247sports
Devonte Danzey (3-star, Hutchinson, KS)
Wilson Bell (3-star, Eight Mile, AL)
After taking 11 offensive linemen in the 2011 and 2012 recruiting classes, Auburn will only look to sign one or two in the 2013 class.
Danzey is an early enrollee after becoming one of the top JUCO OLs in the country. He will have the opportunity to go through spring practice in a couple of months.
Bell recently picked up an offer from Auburn. He is currently a UCF commit and is being recruited by the likes of Ole Miss and Florida State. Being from Eight Mile, AL, he has admitted that he grew up an Auburn fan.
He has an official visit set up for Auburn this weekend and is scheduled to visit the campus of Ole Miss the following weekend.
Highlights of Jason Smith at QB
Nick Marshall (3-star, Rochelle, GA)
Jason Smith (4-star, Mobile, AL)
Marshall and Smith will both get shots at the QB position, initially.
Marshall was one of the top dual-threat JUCO QBs in the country last fall at Garden City Community College in Kansas. He threw for over 3,000 yards and rushed for over 1,700 yards.
Auburn will give him a second chance in the SEC after he was dismissed from the University of Georgia in February of 2012 for a theft-related incident.
At UGA, he played CB. He will likely move to the secondary or to WR if he does not make an early impression in the QB race.
Smith was a big-time dual-threat QB at McGill-Toolen High School in Mobile, AL. He earned MVP honors as a WR at the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star game, where he hauled in 134 yards on six receptions. Like Marshall, Smith will make the move (to WR) if he does not make an early impression at QB.
Defensive Line (3)
Which NFL Player Does Carl Lawson Compare to?
Ben Bradley (3-star, Norcross, GA)
Carl Lawson (5-star, Alpharetta, GA)
Tashawn Bower (4-star, Somerville, NJ)
I expect Auburn to make a strong run at DT Montravius Adams, especially after his visit on Feb. 1. I think it is too little, too late for the Tigers in the Adams’ sweepstakes, however.
Auburn will still land a good DL class with or without Adams.
Bradley, who has already signed, was one of the top JUCO DTs in the country last year and will immediately shore up a soft spot in Auburn’s defensive front.
After teetering on the verge of a de-commitment, I expect Lawson stick with his commitment to Auburn that he made in March of 2012. Tennessee has also entered the fray as a candidate for Lawson's signature.
Auburn gets the last official visit for Lawson and his family on the weekend before national signing day. That weekend visit will shore up his commitment to the Tigers.
Bower has also been exploring his options since Malzahn took over as head coach. He recently visited Florida and will be visiting LSU on Jan. 25. He has already officially visited Auburn but may join the star-studded group visiting on Feb. 1 for an unofficial visit.
Cameron Toney (4-star, Huntsville, AL)
Reuben Foster (5-star, Auburn, AL)
Zach Cunningham (4-star, Pinson, AL)
Kenny Flowers (3-star, Hutchison, KS)
Auburn is looking to stock up on LBs in the 2013 recruiting class.
You would be hard-pressed to find a more vocal commit than Toney. Neither the 3-9 record nor the coaching change has led to him wavering from his commitment from Auburn. Toney made the trip down to Auburn last weekend to help recruit for the Tigers.
Foster's recruitment has been a roller-coaster ride for everyone associated. When it comes down to putting the pen to paper, he will be signing with Auburn. It may not happen on national signing day, however.
I think the ultimate deciding factor in Foster's decision will be the proximity to his family and no other school can offer that the way that Auburn can. "I'm just a family dude and want to stay close to my little girl and my mother and just have a good family and maybe eat my mom's fried chicken every day." (via Matt Scalici, al.com)
Despite the proximity to the Auburn campus where he can visit unofficially as much as he likes, he will give Auburn an official visit on the weekend of Feb. 1.
Cunningham has experienced a meteoric rise recently in the world of recruiting. The 4-star has named Auburn his leader, but is continuing to take visits. He will visit Tennessee and Vanderbilt this weekend.
Flowers will be another JUCO that signs with the Tigers on national signing day. He named the Tigers his favorites and will add experience to this group of LBs that Auburn is signing.
Defensive Backs (5)
Kamryn Melton (3-star, Dothan, AL)
MacKensie Alexander (4-star, Immokalee, FL)
MacKenro Alexander (3-star, Immokalee, FL)
Brandon King (3-star, Alabaster, AL)
Khari Harding (3-star, Edmond, OK)
The defensive backfield will also be a position of importance in the 2013 recruiting class.
Melton has been committed to Auburn since last February and has not even gone on an unofficial visit to another school.
MacKensie and MacKenro Alexander are twins who the Auburn coaching staff are working hard to earn an official visit from. The two brothers would likely be a package deal.
Auburn has competition from Clemson and Mississippi State for the signature of MacKensie.
King committed to Auburn on Jan. 4. He will be utilized by defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson in the "Star" position.
"I'm pretty comfortable with the position, I played it in junior college," King said. "What they have me playing, they want me to be able to cover and blitz off the edge, which is pretty much what I utilized at (Highlands)." (via Joel Erickson, al.com)
Harding flipped his commitment from Arkansas to Auburn after officially visiting the Plains last weekend.
Jimmy Hutchinson (3-star, Kennesaw, GA)
Daniel Carlson (3-star, Pike National Forest, CO)
Hutchinson has been committed to Auburn since February of 2012. He is the top-ranked punter in the country. In 2012, he averaged 44 yards per kick on six attempts in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl.
Carlson was the No. 9 kicker in the country, according to 247sports.
"He’s very consistent. He’s very coordinated. He’s got a special frame. He’s very mentally tough,” Jaime Kohl said to Bryan Matthews of AuburnUndercover. Kohl directs the Kohl's kicking academy in Orlando, FL.
This would be a full class (25) for Auburn if these projections come to fruition on national signing day. It would likely land Auburn with a top-15 class and possibly a fourth consecutive top-10 class.
That would be a pretty remarkable achievement by Malzahn in his first recruiting class as Auburn's head coach.
What say you, Auburn fans? Who did I miss? Let me know in the comment section below.