Auburn came within minutes of taking home the BCS national title this past season, and while the BCS may be over, the Tigers will be looking to get back to the pinnacle of college football again in 2014.
A bevy of new players from the 2014 recruiting class will play big roles in doing so.
The Tigers lost out on a top recruit in Rashaan Evans when he spurned them and went to rival Alabama, reports ESPN.com, but the rest of their class is strong.
Here are Auburn's top three new recruits heading into the upcoming season.
D'haquille Williams, WR
Auburn landed the top junior college recruit in the nation when D'haquille Williams signed on to be a Tiger in 2014. 247Sports praises his ball skills, route running, agility and hands, among several other skills. His speed is something to behold as well—he ran a 4.40 40-yard.
D'haquille Williams is a bad man, great get for #Auburn here. One of only three JUCOs we have with RR of 6.0 which is cusp of five stars.— Mike Farrell (@rivalsmike) July 21, 2013
Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Williams' former JUCO program, is ranked the No. 1 NJCAA football program in the country. While JUCO programs and traditional four-year programs differ drastically, the fact remains that he's likely more ready for the big time than most others.
In two seasons there, Williams hauled in 118 passes for 2,028 yards and 26 touchdowns. It may take him a little while to adjust to the FBS style of play, but Williams has all the tools to really make an impact in his first season at Auburn.
Tre' Williams, ILB
Tre' Williams ranks as 247Sports' No. 1 inside linebacker on their composite rankings. They also list him as the No. 29 overall recruit.
As an inside linebacker, Williams excels in tackling and striking ability. 247Sports gives him perfect scores in each category. Aside from his abilities as a tackler, Williams' ratings are solid—if not slightly above average—across the board.
Williams projects to play from the early goings on either the strong side or the weak side. Williams' abilities to get to the ball-carrier and take him down will translate to either linebacker spot. The only thing that might take getting used to will be the speed of the game and the speed of the reads he will inevitably have to make.
That's something that will really only come with in-game practice.
Roc Thomas, RB
Auburn seems to love smaller running backs (see: Tre Mason).
Roc Thomas is of a similar build. He stands at 5'11" and weighs 196 pounds. His and Mason's skill sets are even similar. Thomas runs a very fast 4.48 40-yard dash, and 247Sports rates his cutting ability and explosiveness as his top qualities.
From 2011 to 2013, Thomas rushed for 5,515 yards and 76 touchdowns for Oxford High School in Oxford, Ala. That's right: In three seasons, Thomas totaled 76 rushing touchdowns.
Mason was a finalist for the Heisman trophy this past season. If Auburn gets another player like that in Thomas, then it's safe to say that this recruiting class was a huge success.
*All recruiting rankings and information courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise stated.