Where Does Auburn Go After 5-Star RB Derrick Green Chooses Michigan?

Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterJanuary 28, 2013

One of the biggest fish left in the recruiting pond heading into the weekend was running back Derrick Green from Richmond, Va. The 247Sports.com Composite 5-star prospect narrowed his choices down to Michigan, Auburn and Tennessee, and made his decision known on Saturday

Unfortunately for the Tigers and Volunteers, the 6'0", 220-pounder chose the Wolverines over the two SEC contenders.

So where does Auburn go from here?

The Tigers have already signed junior college running back Cameron Artis-Payne, a 3-star prospect who will have three years to play two seasons. He rushed for 2,048 yards and 25 touchdowns for Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, Calif.

With that being said, there's still room for a high school running back in this class.

The Tigers hosted 5'11", 190-pound running back Johnathan Ford from New Hope, Ala. last week. Ford is rated as a 4-star prospect, according to 247Sports.com, and has been a commitment to Vanderbilt since April 2012.

Despite that, according to 247Sports.com national recruiting director JC Shurburtt, Ford is very much in play for Auburn:

One player I haven't mentioned when talking #Auburn is four-star RB Jonathan Ford, who is committed to #Vandy. He's in play. Excellent RB.

— JC Shurburtt (@jcshurburtt) January 28, 2013

That's good news for the Tigers, with Ford having gained a lot of momentum late in the recruiting process. He picked up offers from Auburn and Georgia and visited Tennessee on Jan. 11, according to 247Sports.com.

The Tigers are also hot on the trail of current Notre Dame commit Tarean Folston.

The 5'9", 185-pounder from Cocoa, Fla. committed to the Fighting Irish on Jan. 2, but took an official visit to Auburn on Jan. 18. Auburn's late push to land Folston can be tied to the team's hiring of Dameyune Craig as its co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach. Craig had been recruiting Folston when he was coaching at Florida State, according to AL.com.

With rising junior 1,000-yard rusher Tre Mason returning, Auburn is set at the running back position. However, first-year head coach Gus Malzahn loves to spread the football around to various running backs in different formations, so it's important for Auburn to have options.

Green may be out of the picture now, but don't be surprised to see Malzahn and company flip a top running back between now and national signing day.