The Auburn Tigers will need all the new blood they can find in order to successfully defend their SEC championship.
'Tis the life of an SEC powerhouse that you can land the nation's sixth-best recruiting class yet still finish fourth in the conference. As the SEC Logo pointed out on Twitter, the conference welcomed way more top prospects than any other grouping by a considerable margin.
Although Auburn and LSU picked up several potential stars on national signing day, don't shed a tear for Auburn, which snagged two 5-star recruits and a junior college superstar ready to contribute immediately.
Several talented student-athletes are enrolling in Auburn, but here are three players in particular worth monitoring.
|Player||Position||National Rank||Position Rank||Star Rating|
RB Roc Thomas (No. 23 overall, No. 4 RB)
Auburn will have some fun handing the rock to Racean "Roc" Thomas.
The Alabama native bulldozed the high school competition, amassing 5,515 rushing yards and 76 touchdowns through three seasons.
Here's how Brandon Marcello of AL.com described the incoming running back.
Thomas is, simply put, the running back of the future. He brings equal parts power and speed to the field and exploded on the scene as a senior, jumping up a few recruiting services' ratings late in the recruiting cycle. He rushed for 2,211 yards and 32 touchdowns at Oxford. His jaw-dropping plays as a senior made for some great highlight reels, and coaches hope to use his explosiveness sooner rather than later on the football field.
He'll have big shoes to fill in place of Tre Mason, who ran for 1,816 yards and 23 touchdowns last season. Thomas won't get those reps in his freshman year, but he can tout those numbers before leaving Auburn.
ILB Tre' Williams (No. 29 composite rank, No. 2 ILB)
The Tigers also snagged a 5-star recruit on the defensive side, securing another local talent in linebacker Tre' Williams.
Measuring in at 6'3" and 237 pounds, the St. Paul Episcopal (Ala.) senior declared his intent to play for the Tigers last spring, and he did not waver on that decision.
Gus Malzahn was relieved that Williams ultimately committed to Auburn. Per the team's official Twitter page:
On Tre Williams: "He is one of the keys to this class. He's been with us. He had opp. to go anywhere he wanted and stayed with us."— Auburn Football (@FootballAU) February 5, 2014
Williams displays tremendous tackling skills and great instincts defending his position. Scout.com's Chad Simmons wrote a glowing review for Williams, whom Simmons expects big things out of from the start.
"He is a thumper in the middle, he can play sideline to sideline, and he really sees things well. He is an instinctive player, he is an athlete, and he should see the field very early as a true freshman in college."
Williams already touts the size, skills and intangibles necessary to play meaningful minutes in SEC action. Those types of players are hard to find in the recruiting process.
WR D'haquille Williams (No. 99 composite rank, No. 14 WR)
He somehow missed the cut for Jordan Peele's favorite recruit names, but D'haquille Williams wields a glorious name and even better skill set.
The country's top-rated junior college player, Williams officially signed a letter of intent after enrolling in January. He chose Auburn over several of its toughest rivals.
Dameyune Craig, Auburn's wide receiver coach, is excited about what Williams brings to the table. Here's what he told AuburnTigers.com's Phillip Marshall:
Great kid. Great athlete. We feel good about his potential. He has a great upside. He's a competitor. He's going to be a hard guy to match up with one-on-one. He's physical. The game comes natural to him. He's adjusting to Auburn football and the way we do things. He's getting adjusted to school. He's doing an outstanding job. This kid is a natural athlete and natural receiver.
Malzahn added that Williams "has unbelievable skills" and "will have a chance to be an impact player right off the bat."
His junior college experience gives him a leg up on the other newcomers, and he is polished enough to factor into Auburn's offense this season.
All recruiting rankings and information courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise stated.