Auburn picked up a massive piece of its 2015 recruiting class on Thursday afternoon.
Kaleb Kim, a dominant offensive lineman, announced his commitment to the Tigers during a ceremony at Mill Creek High School (Hoschton, Georgia), per a tweet from Justin Hokanson of Auburn Rivals:
The 6'4", 280-pound prospect projects favorably at offensive tackle in college but is certainly capable of sliding inside and contributing at the guard position. He displays the potential to make an immediate impact at the next level, which is exactly the kind of lineman head coach Gus Malzahn was looking for in this class.
Kim's decision came down to Georgia and Auburn at the conclusion of a nationwide recruiting process.
Despite living less than an hour from Athens, Kim quickly developed an attraction to the Tigers. He came away impressed after attending a team practice last month, noting the instructional style of offensive line coach J.B. Grimes during a conversation with 247Sports' Keith Niebuhr (subscription required):
I liked what Coach (J.B.) Grimes is doing, and his intensity. I was standing by him the whole time. He gets after it. He's intense. Face to face, he's the nicest guy, but on the field it's all business and he'll get after you and I like that.
The 2013 First-Team All-State selection saw collegiate interest skyrocket after an impressive junior campaign.
His season began with limited FBS opportunities, but Boston College, Ohio State, South Carolina, Florida and Vanderbilt each offered by early December. Georgia joined the mix in January, while offers from Alabama, Auburn and Florida State soon followed.
With nearly 20 programs in play, Kim spent time touring multiple campuses in recent months. Georgia, Auburn and South Carolina each received visits from the coveted blocker.
Kim makes an impact along the offensive front in a variety of ways. His junior season game film is filled with examples of his consistency at right tackle.
He's tremendously formidable from a physical standpoint, overpowering opponents at the point of attack. Kim gets inside defenders with disciplined pad level and takes control using proper hand placement on his initial punch.
His aggressiveness shines on tape, as he drives defenders 10-to-15 yards downfield on rushing plays. This relentless style of run-blocking makes him an ideal anchor on the front line for years to come in a high-volume Tigers rushing attack.
Kim doesn't carry unnecessary body weight, though he will naturally swell up at Auburn once he enters a regimented collegiate weight-training and nutrition system. Unlike bulkier high school prospects who arrive on campus overweight and uncoordinated, he already displays quickness off the snap, particularly when he slide-steps to gain lateral position.
He does an excellent job of shuffling wide to cut off the angles of incoming defensive ends. Kim will be challenged quickly in this regard while competing in a conference filled with elite pass-rushers.
The Bulldogs have now whiffed on three All-State Georgia offensive lineman during this recruiting cycle. Mitch Hyatt (Suwanee) pledged to Clemson in February, while Chuma Edoga (Powder Springs) committed to USC on Monday.
Judging by Kim's statements this week, Mark Richt shouldn't expect a change of heart.
"I'm not going to be doing (visits to other schools)," Kim told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Michael Carvell this week. "Once I commit, I'm sticking to my word. There will be no de-committing. There will just be my decision, and that decision is final."
Unlike Georgia, the Tigers are on a roll when it comes to recruiting offensive linemen in the Peach State. Auburn secured commitments from tackle Bailey Sharp (Marietta) and guard Marquel Harrell (Fairburn) in the past week.
The team's 2015 class now includes 11 prospects and sits at No. 3 nationally in 247Sports' composite team ratings. Kim is the fourth 4-star prospect to pledge to Auburn since April 15, joining Jacksonville safety Ben Edwards, Alabama athlete Kerryon Johnson and Florida running back D'Anfernee McGriff.
Recruit information courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.
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