Up-and-down. Topsy-turvy. Unpredictable. These words don’t even begin to describe the Auburn recruiting season.
Fans and coaches agree, the Tigers have seen one too many high-profile recruits commit—then decommit.
This recruiting cycle has been filled with hires, dismissals and questionable tattoos. But still, just a week out from National Signing Day, the Tigers are in position to secure pledges from some of the nation’s top prospects.
With a completely new coaching staff, and coming off their worst season in decades, it is now more important than ever that Auburn signs great players.
But who will these next great Tigers be?
Several recruits currently favor Auburn. But it is impossible to know for sure if they will ever become Tigers. Though it is fun to speculate.
The following lays out the betting-style odds that Auburn has to sign their top uncommitted targets on February 6.
Mackensie Alexander — Immokalee (FL)
Mackensie Alexander is a very highly rated defensive back who has been flying under the radar in some recruiting circles.
Though he had very little interest in the Tigers just a month ago, pre-existing relationships with new Auburn coaches Charlie Harbison and Melvin Smith piqued Alexander’s interest recently.
At the US Army All-American game, Alexander was asked about any potential leaders in his recruitment. He responded, “with them (Harbison and Smith) coming together, Auburn has a great chance of getting me.”
Being that Alexander was on Auburn’s campus for an official visit just last weekend, it appears that the timing may be perfect for the Tigers to land ESPN’s fourth-ranked overall prospect.
Odds: 1-to-1 (50%)
Montravius Adams — Dooly County (GA)
The nation’s second-best defensive tackle has had his eyes on Auburn throughout the entire recruiting process, and now his list has been narrowed to three—Auburn, Georgia and Clemson.
As of today, Clemson looks to be the team to beat for Adams’ commitment. Dabo Swinney and company have found success going down south to Georgia and Flordia to find recruits and have been high on Adams from Day 1.
Auburn does have an official visit with Adams tentatively scheduled for February 1, just days before the signing period begins.
If Adams decides to travel to The Plains this weekend, he could see firsthand the momentum that Gus Malzahn and the Tigers are gaining towards the end of the recruiting cycle and could easily be swayed into becoming the next big piece of the puzzle.
Odds: 4-to-1 (20%)
Reuben Foster — Auburn (AL)
Reuben Foster’s story is one of the most interesting of this recruiting period. Originally an Alabama commit, Foster abruptly flipped to Auburn and commemorated this decision with a forearm tattoo of the Auburn logo. Then, after the dismissal of Gene Chizik, Foster backed out of his commitment to the Tigers and now remains undecided.
Like Adams, Foster is going to be on Auburn’s campus for an official visit just days before the signing period begins. Many are calling him a lock for the Tigers, but if this young man has shown us anything throughout his recruitment, it’s that he is truly unpredictable.
Overall, the proximity of his home to Auburn’s campus, along with the potential to contribute as a true freshman, should be enough to get the nation’s top inside linebacker to sign with Auburn on February 6.
Odds: 4-to-5 (56%)
Update: Reuben Foster re-committed to Alabama at a televised press conference on 2/4/2013.
Dee Liner — Muscle Shoals (AL)
If Foster’s story was the most interesting of the recruiting period, Liner’s is number two. The talented defensive lineman committed to Auburn nearly two years ago in June of 2011 and remained committed until recently when he cited that he has “nothing against Auburn,” but he felt there was not “enough time to get to know the new staff.”
The 6'3", 275-pound defender now seems to have his head on straight and is focused on preparing for his SEC football career. Many think this career will take place in Tuscaloosa, not Auburn.
After becoming Auburn’s first commit in the class of 2013, it looks like the Tigers and Liner have parted ways for good.
Odds: 12-to-1 (8%)
Overall, Auburn fans should not be surprised if two or more of these prospects call Auburn home in the near future. Gus Malzahn and his staff have "hit the ground running" since reaching The Plains and look to continue this upward swing in recruiting.
Only time will tell, and predicting the decisions of teenage boys is far from a perfect science, but those are the odds, and now it is all a waiting game.