Auburn extended its recruiting reach into Georgia yet again Sunday, securing a commitment from linebacker Montavious Atkinson (Fairburn, Ga.), reports Atlanta Journal-Constitution writer Michael Carvell. The 3-star prospect is the third Peach State pledge for the Tigers in this 2015 recruiting cycle.
The impressive passer points out that coveted 2015 defensive end D'Andre Walker, who plays with Atkinson at Langston Hughes High School, is still up for grabs. Last week, Walker told 247Sports reporter Keith Niebuhr (subscription required) that he believes the dominant defensive duo will remain intact in college.
"I'd say there's a 95 percent chance," he said. "We're like brothers."
Atkinson was the first to pull the trigger on a commitment, testing that sentiment. He's already recruiting his teammate on Auburn's behalf.
"I’m going to try to my hardest to get (Walker) to go to Auburn, too," Atkinson told The Journal-Constitution. "We will see how it turns out.”
Tigers head coach Gus Malzahn is aiming to make it a package deal, but for now, he has to be pleased with prying one of the Atlanta area's premier playmakers away from SEC opponents. Atkinson also holds offers from Texas A&M, Mississippi State, Kentucky and Tennessee. He attended a Volunteers junior day in Knoxville earlier this month.
The 6'2", 205-pound prospect is rated No. 25 nationally among inside linebackers in 247Sports' composite rankings. He tallied a team-high 137 tackles and two interceptions in 2013, per MaxPreps.
Walker racked up 108 tackles and 21 sacks during a 10-win campaign that reached the second round of state playoff action.
Atkinson is an explosive force at the heart of a defense. He fills gaps quickly off the snap and surges through limited space to stifle rushing efforts. His range is impressive, as Atkinson can be seen darting across the field to cut off angles along the perimeter. He packs plenty of power in his tackles, driving through the ball-carrier with precision and solid technique.
Atkinson doesn't appear out of his element in pass coverage. He displays an above-average backpedal at the position and can handle receivers out of the offensive backfield.
Auburn has enjoyed a successful foray in Georgia so far, and its latest addition provides the team with a much-needed defender in the front seven. Atkinson joins top-ranked junior college cornerback Tony Bridges as crucial building blocks for the 2015 defensive haul.
"It (Auburn) feels like family down there," he said. "And my family agrees with me. It felt right to commit.”
The Tigers' class is currently listed at No. 17 in 247Sports' national composite rankings. Auburn rates eighth in the SEC.
All recruit information and statistics courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.