Auburn Football: Analyzing the Tigers' Top 5 2015 Recruiting Targets
The Auburn Tigers had a successful spring out on the recruiting trail, picking up several commitments from some of the nation's top high school and junior college athletes. Auburn currently holds the No. 3 spot in 247Sports' Composite Team Rankings, which compiles ratings from the major recruiting services.
Now, summer has arrived on the Plains, with a large part of Auburn's 2014 class arriving on campus this week. The defending SEC champions will wrap up the eventful recruiting week with Big Cat Weekend, an annual invitation-only event for several of Auburn's top targets for the upcoming class.
Big Cat Weekend usually lands Auburn a commitment or two, and the coaching staff hopes a few of its major targets finish this weekend with the Tigers as their new leaders in the recruiting race.
Let's take a look at the top five targets left on Auburn's board, some of whom may be on campus in a few days for Big Cat Weekend.
DT Trent Thompson
247Sports Composite Rating: 5-star (No. 1 DT, No. 1 overall)
Hometown: Albany, Georgia (Westover HS)
Top Schools: Georgia, Auburn, Clemson
The top player in the country is at the top of the board for Auburn, which has not secured a single defensive lineman commitment in the Class of 2014. With a pair of veteran defensive tackles leaving the Plains after the upcoming season, Thompson could play a role from day one with his elite explosiveness and agility.
The defensive tackle told 247Sports last weekend that the home-state Georgia Bulldogs are still his leaders, but Auburn is "close" at No. 2. The coveted prospect said he likes how lead Auburn recruiter and former Georgia assistant Rodney Garner helps his top defensive linemen get to the NFL, and he might be back in Auburn for Big Cat Weekend.
If Thompson comes to Auburn this weekend, the Tigers will have a fantastic chance to make up ground in the race for the nation's top player.
OT Martez Ivey
247Sports Composite Rating: 5-star (No. 1 OT, No. 6 overall)
Hometown: Apopka, Florida (Apopka)
Top Schools: Florida, Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, South Carolina
The Tigers have a solid base of 2015 commitments along the offensive line, but Martez Ivey is the top offensive target for Auburn and several major schools in the South. His size and footwork make him an ideal tackle in Gus Malzahn's hurry-up, no-huddle offense, one that is looking for another Greg Robinson-type player for the future.
Ivey told 247Sports' Luke Stampini (subscription required) that he does not have an official top-five list like many top recruits. However, Auburn is one of the top teams in the mix, and Ivey's teammate, No. 2 fullback Chandler Cox, is high on Auburn after several visits to campus. If Auburn can snag a commitment from Cox, it could go a long way in picking up Ivey.
QB/ATH Torrance Gibson
247Sports Composite Rating: 5-star (No. 1 ATH, No. 14 overall)
Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, Florida (American Heritage)
Top Schools: Tennessee, Auburn, LSU, Ohio State, Miami
Few 2015 recruits have received as much buzz as Torrance Gibson, who racked up nearly 3,000 all-purpose yards in his junior season at powerhouse American Heritage High School in South Florida. Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee has made several visits to see Gibson, who may be headed to campus for Big Cat Weekend.
Gibson is rated by most major recruiting services as an athlete who could play out his collegiate career as an elite receiver. But where he could play quarterback might be a huge factor for him after Ohio State picked up a commitment from 3-star signal-caller Joe Burrow, Gibson told Ryan Bartow of 247Sports (subscription required) to move Ohio State down to "warm" while moving Auburn up to "warmer" alongside Tennessee.
OLB Jeffery Holland
247Sports Composite Rating: 4-star (No. 4 OLB, No. 40 overall)
Hometown: Jacksonville, Florida (Trinity Christian Academy)
Top Schools: Auburn, Florida, Alabama, UCLA, USC
Auburn prides itself on being part of a family, and the Tigers football program definitely has that relational network with this highly athletic linebacker. Although Jeffery Holland grew up a fan of his home-state Florida Gators, his uncle played basketball for Auburn in the 1980s and his friend, Ben Edwards, is currently committed to the Tigers.
According to Niebuhr, Holland named Auburn his leader after making an unofficial visit for the A-Day Game. While the Tigers are still leading for Holland, Florida is making a hard push with the two Los Angeles schools, where he plans on making official visits sometime this year.
DE Marquavius Lewis
247Sports Composite Rating: 4-star (No. 1 JUCO DE, No. 2 overall JUCO)
Hometown: Greenwood, South Carolina (Hutchinson [Kansas] Community College)
Top Schools: South Carolina, Auburn, Georgia
Auburn's junior college pipeline grew with the addition of No. 1 overall JUCO player Jovon Robinson, and now the Tigers are closing in on the No. 2 player from the JUCO ranks. After redshirting at Hutchinson CC in Kansas, Marquavius Lewis exploded onto the national recruiting scene following a 61-tackle, 7.5-sack season.
The Tigers received some great news last weekend when he made his first visit to the Plains. According to Keith Niebuhr (subscription required), Lewis gave the trip "a 10" and said he could name a leader between Auburn and conference rival South Carolina. Expect the SEC battle to continue for one of the nation's top defensive recruits.
Justin Ferguson is Bleacher Report's lead Auburn writer. Follow him on Twitter @JFergusonAU. All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. All recruiting rankings and information courtesy of 247Sports.
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