Here we are. We've reached the final weekend of recruiting for the 2010 class. At this point, four days and a wake up from National Signing Day, Gene Chizik and his staff have acquired an excellent class. The Auburn Tigers will certainly add a few more recruits on or before February 3, 2010 but just for theory's sake, even if they did not add anyone else to the team, this 2010 will most likely go down as the best class in the history of the Auburn program. The 1984 class under Pat Dye has held the top notch for a long time. Coach Tracy Rocker, who was a member of the 1984 class might vouch for it as being the best class. Then again, he might not. When recruiting is over and Coach Rocker sees the Auburn Tigers in the top five, or possibly even in the top three at all Internet recruiting web sites, he will most likely agree that the class of 2010 is Auburn's signature class so far. Let's take a look at some of the most highly touted Auburn commitments, some highly touted prospects who are unsigned, and some lesser ranked guys who may end up as "diamonds in the rough." Let's examine what opportunities are present for the new recruits, as well as how the 2010 Auburn Tigers will benefit from the addition of its recruiting commitments and prospects.
(Photo Courtesy of Rivals.com)
What else can I say about Shon Coleman that hasn't already been said? He is a monster on a conquest to overpower and devour defensive personnel in order to open holes for running backs and protect the quarterback when passing. Coleman is listed at 6'7", but his weight, listed between 270 and 290 lbs. on various sites, is debatable.
Shon Coleman, if I remember correctly, began his 2009 senior season as a three-star rated player by Rivals.com. Midway through the year, he earned a fourth star and after the U.S. Army All-American game, he was promoted to a five-star.
Analysts at ESPNU.com were never convinced that Coleman was any better than a three-star and at present, a three-star is what he remains to be.
Scout.com lists him as a four-star and the country's seventh-best offensive tackle. Personally, I believe that is most accurate. Regardless of how many stars Coleman has or should have, he will impact the play of the offensive line for the Auburn Tigers immediately and he will become highly recognized in the world of SEC football.
With an offensive tackle spot opening up, a battle for it will certainly take place in the spring and then again in the fall. Shon Coleman can have that spot if he wants it. He will need the following the things to get it: confidence, character and commitment. He has the skills, but it will be up to him.
Should he sign with Auburn and fail to win the only starting spot available on the 2010 offensive line, he will still play and he will still make a huge impact. In 2011, four additional positions will become available on the offensive line; therefore, Coleman will certainly be a starter early in his career as an Auburn Tiger.
Why should Coleman choose Auburn? Maybe that question is going through his mind. Here is the answer: Gus Malzhan's offense will have a lot of success in the next two years, and Coleman will give himself the opportunity to make a big name for himself due to the fact that everyone in the country will be talking about Auburn's successful offense. With a five-star quarterback and a five-star running back coming to Auburn, Coleman should want to join in and be part of something special.
The biggest reason he should sign with Auburn is simple. He committed verbally and he should keep his word. A man is only as good as his word, no matter who he is. Due to the addition of other high-profile offensive lineman to the 2010 class, Auburn will not suffer if Coleman decides to play elsewhere. It is Shon Coleman who will benefit most by signing on the dotted line to play for Gene Chizik's Auburn Tigers. He stands to garner a lot of attention and to make a name for himself early by playing on what is to be one of the best offenses in the country.
Shortly after his mid-week visit to Alabama and prior to his visit to Miami this weekend, Coleman stated that he was still 100 percent committed to Auburn.
(Photo Courtesy of Rivals.com)
Since Cam Newton signed a letter of intent to play for Auburn, outsiders began to make jokes by saying all other Auburn football players should hide their laptops. If you don't know, Cam Newton was Tim Tebow's backup at Florida for two years until he was kicked off of the team for taking another person's laptop.
That is Cam Newton's past and that is all I have to say about that. People make mistakes and the most successful people in life learn from them. I believe Newton has learned from his mistake and I believe he will prove it in the classroom and on the football field.
Cam Newton is the only quarterback prospect Rivals.com ranks as a five-star player. Because he is a JUCO (junior college) quarterback, he is not ranked nationally with other high school prospects; however, he is ranked as the No. 1 JUCO player in America.
Cam Newton comes to Auburn from Blinn Community College, in Brenham Texas. He led that team to a championship in 2009 and he is very capable of leading the Auburn Tigers to an SEC championship and possibly even a National Championship within the next two years.
Fans of other teams will laugh at that statement, but they underestimate how good Auburn is capable of being in the coming years. It will be harder to win a National Championship, but on the other hand, an SEC Championship is very possible with Cam Newton at quarterback.
Newton brings a dual threat of passing and running. He is 6'6" and 247 pounds, yet he runs a 4.5 forty-yard dash. At Blinn Community College, Newton rushed for 16 touchdowns and threw for an additional 22 touchdowns. He established an average of 6.1 yards per carry and completed 60.7 percent of his passes. With only five interceptions, it is certainly evident that Cam Newton has a keen sense, making smart throws when the opportunity is there.
He will be tough to bring down in the pocket and tough to bring down on the run. Auburn did not have a running threat with Chris Todd, but they have one now. Auburn fans can expect great things from this man and he will most likely meet those expectations each Saturday when Auburn takes the field.
(Photo Courtesy of Rivals.com)
Early in the recruiting season, most Auburn fans knew that Lache Seastrunk and Marcus Lattimore were targets, but it doesn't seem that many fans were aware of Michael Dyer.
Fortunately for Auburn, Michael Dyer was aware of Auburn and his relationship with offensive coordinator, Gus Malzhan, has been developing for years. According to Dyer, one of the biggest reasons he chose to become an Auburn Tiger is Malzhan.
Frankly, many talents on the offensive side of the ball should choose Auburn and Malzhan's offense. Dyer was intelligent enough to make the right decision and it will pay very large dividends for him and for Auburn football.
Michael Dyer has been referred to as a human pinball. He certainly is a mass of muscle that stands 5'8" with a weight of approximately 200 pounds.
Because he is a shorter running back, he will sneak through open holes in the offensive line easier than most backs and because he has a great burst of speed, he will be racing towards pay dirt before many defenders can comprehend what has happened.
Dyer will come in as a freshman and make immediate and positive contributions to Auburn football. Ben Tate is beloved at Auburn and the Auburn family greatly appreciates what he accomplished as a Tiger. It is my prediction that Auburn will replace Tate with a three-way attack of running backs over the next two or three years.
First of all, Dyer will be a power-slasher type of running back, durable enough to play almost every down. Auburn will also feature a big, power back, as Dyer will share the load with Dontae Aycock, or possibly Marcus Lattimore. Lastly, Onterrio McCallebb is not as durable as the others, but he will be featured as a shifty, sneaky back and he will impress at times.
Dyer will most likely be the key person in the backfield for Auburn in 2010. Please understand that I write this at a time when Auburn doesn't know whether or not Marcus Lattimore will commit. Many recruiting experts believe Lattimore will go to South Carolina but that will certainly be his loss.
Michael Dyer has said that he has tried hard to recruit Marcus into the fold. He doesn't mind sharing the load. Dyer is from Arkansas and he remembers when Gus Malzhan had two running backs at the University of Arkansas named Felix Jones and Darren McFadden.
I like Dyer's attitude. If he wanted to be the only star in town, he wouldn't try to help lure Marcus Lattimore to Auburn. Dyer is intelligent and he is a winner. Auburn fans are in for a real treat when Michael Dyer gets the ball and pounds through the defense time and time again. When he takes the field in 2010, he will show why ESPN rated him the No. 1 running back.
(photo courtesy of Rivals.com)
With the five-star prospects covered, I will move a little quicker through the many four-star prospects. Not because they deserve less. I do this because there are more of them to cover and a reader's time is valuable.
Eric Mack, 6'4", 315 lbs. offensive guard from St. Matthews, South Carolina. All along, many people believed the sixth-best rated offensive guard coming out of high school would sign with Auburn.
When Mack was committed to South Carolina, Gene Chizik and staff had landed several offensive lineman who are very, very good. As a result, I questioned whether or not Eric Mack would leave his home state. A Bleacher Report analyst assured me that he would. Just as I was assured, Eric Mack switched to Auburn leaving his home state behind for greater glory. Hopefully, another South Carolinian will follow!
Because I am not a coach at Auburn, I have no idea how Gene Chizik will handle many of the offensive line recruits coming to Auburn in 2010. Will he redshirt several of them in order to get the most out of them later, or will he allow them to gain some playing time due to the fact that four of the five offensive line positions will become available for the 2011 season?
I believe Eric Mack will be one of the guys that will come in and make some impact at Auburn as a true freshman. I could be wrong, but if this guy is to become a starter in a couple of years, allow him to get some experience with the game at a collegiate level.
Auburn was very fortunate to get Mack. Look for him to blow open holes off center in the coming years at Auburn.
(Photo Courtesy of mnpreps.net)
Shhhh. Don't tell law enforcement about this one. Gene Chizik and defensive coordinator, Ted Roof, went to the College of the Sequoias in California and stole a big offensive lineman. His name is Roszell Gayden and he has Goliath size at 6'7" and 310 pounds.
Gayden verbally committed to the University of Minnesota in 2008 and I believe that fell through due to sub-par academics. When he did not qualify, he made his way to junior college in California and now, he makes his way to the plains of Auburn.
In addition to Auburn, Gayden considered Oklahoma, Cal, and Arizona State. At one point in the recruiting season, he was highly pursued by the Oregon Ducks and two days before he committed to Auburn, coaching staff from the University of Florida contacted him to gauge his interest in taking a visit to Gainesville. He must have been Auburn all the way because he did indeed become a Tiger.
If you visit Rivals.com and do a quick search for the position of offensive tackle, you will see Roszell Gayden listed 18 spots from the top. Because he last played at a junior college, he is not ranked nationally; however, he has a Rivals Rating (RR) of 5.9, with 6.1 being the highest rank available.
This man is the reason that I am not the least bit concerned as to whether or not Shon Coleman honors his verbal commitment and becomes a Tiger. Should Coleman and Gayden both commit to Auburn, one of them will most likely earn a starting position at offensive tackle for 2010. By saying that, I feel as if I am not giving the current roster players enough credit but if they truly want to win the offensive tackle position that has been vacated by senior Andrew McCain, they will face fierce competition from Roszell Gayden and possibly, from Shon Coleman.
Regardless as to whether or not Roszell Gayden becomes a starter in 2010, I believe he will make excellent contributions to the team off the bench and he will most likely earn a starting position in 2011 when four more offensive line positions will be vacated by graduating seniors.
If this man's work ethic is strong and if he is determined to be great instead of good, then we can all look for him to be a major factor on the offensive line for several years to come.
(Photo Courtesy of Rivals.com)
Brandon Mosley is another junior college player of whom Auburn coaches think very highly. A standout player from Coffeyville Community College, Mosley chose Auburn over Ole Miss and Florida State.
Listed as a tight end prospect, I have heard that Auburn coaches see this prospect as offensive lineman. Perhaps they see Brandon Mosley at center in two years? No one can be sure at this time; however, one thing is for certain, Brandon Mosley will be a pick up that will pay very positive dividends for Auburn in the future.
Brandon Mosley is listed at 6'6" and 285 pounds. Due to his size, he is certainly offensive line material. How soon this prospect will have the opportunity to become a starter may once again depend upon whether or not Shon Coleman signs with Auburn.
Then again, Brandon Mosley may have so much heart and so much will, he may whip all of the competition and land a job as a starter right away. We will not know how the things will shake out until fall practice draws to a close.
When I read a little bit about Brandon Mosley's athletic prowess, I wondered in my mind if he could make big plays on the defensive line. Mosley runs a 4.9 40-yard dash and that is pretty good for a guy with his size. At Coffeyville Community College, he did play defensive end but if he had his preference, he would rather play tight end. Current Auburn tight end, Philip Lutzenkirchen will be hard to beat but just as I said previously, we just don't know how things will shake out until fall practice is said and done.
In a nutshell, the specific position for Brandon Mosley may not be known at this time, but he should become an impact player for Auburn rather quickly.
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During the 2009 season, Auburn went into a few games with only four scholarship linebackers dressed to play. Fans were crossing fingers, toes, and tongues that two linebackers would not go down to injury. Fortunately, that did not happen.
Going into the 2010 recruiting season, it was apparently critical for Auburn coaches to land blue-chip recruits at linebacker and offensive line. Rated as the eighth-best outside linebacker overall by Rivals.com, LaDarius Owens comes to Auburn with a lot of skill, a lot of heart, and a lot of determination to help Auburn's defense get better.
Josh Bynes and Craig Stevens will be seniors in 2010 and Eltoro Freeman, Adam Herring, and Spencer Pybus will be juniors. All of the aforementioned names saw playing time in 2009 and on paper, it would appear that Owens may have to wait a year or two before he sees himself in a starting role.
That is perfectly okay. Auburn picked up a talented linebacker recruit last year by the name of Harris Gaston. Unfortunately, he was injured and his 2009 season was virtually nonexistent.
The only person that can change the possible lineup for starting linebackers in 2010 is Owens. In other words, it is up to him to win a starting spot. He may be perfectly okay with sitting out a year as a redshirt to allow himself more playing time in the future, or he may wish to play some in order to gain experience for 2011.
How much LaDarius Owens will help Auburn's defense in 2010 is unknown at this point. He certainly will be a factor in the future and he will very likely go to the NFL and wreak havoc on that level of the game.
Owens was ranked number two overall on the 2009 preseason edition of the Birmingham News Super Seniors for 2009. His play on the field proved that he deserved to be ranked as Alabama's second-best player overall.
When the Auburn Tigers landed a commitment from him, they landed a future star. Look for the name LaDarius Owens over the next few years, as it is sure to be mentioned time and time again in a positive way.
(Photo Courtesy of Rivals.com)
After an excellent performance in the Under Armor All-American game, inside linebacker, Jake Holland, saw his Rivals.com rank go from three stars to four. He impressed Birmingham-area sportswriters enough to be listed tenth in the final edition of the Birmingham News Super Seniors for 2009.
Holland is a longtime Auburn commitment and another key pickup for the Tigers beleaguered linebacker depth chart. When you see Jake Holland on the field, he certainly passes the eyeball test. At 6'1" and 228 pounds, this inside linebacker can run a 4.5 forty-yard dash.
SEC tight ends and receivers will be wary of coming across the middle of the field when Jake Holland is around because he will either make a play on the ball and intercept the pass, or he will put a hit on the receiver that he will feel for a day or two after.
Holland has not been talked about enough, in my opinion. He has flown under the radar as a high school senior, but he will not fly under the radar as a collegiate athlete. During the first day of practice for the Under Armour All-American game, Jake Holland wound up with two interceptions. During the actual game, he did not come up with any interceptions; however, he made several tackles and proved that he belonged to be playing as an Under Armour All-American.
Although the depth chart at linebacker was very slim in 2009, there are enough juniors and seniors who will most likely be the starters when Auburn takes the field in 2010. Nevertheless, Jake Holland's day will come. I do not expect him to play much in 2010 and I almost hope that he sits out a year as a redshirt. If he enters 2011 as a redshirt freshman, he will be able to play a little longer over the course of his entire career.
Attention: All SEC running backs who will be carrying the ball in the next few years should be cautious of inside linebacker, Jake Holland. He will put the hat on you and when he does, you will know it!
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With only a handful of days remaining until Signing Day, Auburn has picked up one single commit at defensive tackle. If I am not mistaken, Kenneth Carter is the highest rated defensive tackle prospect in the state of Alabama. Rivals.com ranks him with four stars and has him listed as the 23rd-best defensive tackle prospect in the country. Not too shabby!
Kenneth Carter has good size and speed for a defensive tackle and he should be a key ingredient to the Auburn defense in the years to come. During a recent All-Star game between Alabama All-Stars and Mississippi All-Stars, Carter was one of two lineman who recorded sacks on the Mississippi quarterback. He is quick, and as he develops as a college athlete, he will undoubtedly get stronger, quicker, and better over time.
I do not look for Kenneth Carter to be a starter in 2010. I look for Auburn to pick up one more defensive tackle prospect. In addition to another defensive tackle commit, Auburn will return at least three very good defensive lineman who will most likely become the starters for Auburn in 2010.
A redshirt year will allow Carter to play longer; however, if he proves himself in fall practice, he may see playing time in 2010 in order to gain experience for the future. I do see Kenneth Carter ending his career at Auburn as a very fine defensive tackle but I do not see him making a big impact for at least two or three years from now. It will be up to him to prove me wrong, and I hope he does!
(Photo Courtesy of Rivals.com)
Craig Sanders may not be the best recruit of the 2010 class, but he just may be one of the most intelligent. Initially, Sanders gave a verbal commit to play for Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Auburn coaches continued to call just to see how things were going and they would always ask him how his games went and how he did. They seemed to really care and Sanders took notice. He also took notice of the depth chart and realized that Auburn needed help on defense. With those things in mind, Craig Sanders changed faiths and now he bleeds orange and blue.
Craig Sanders was ranked as the sixth-best overall player in the state of Alabama by the Birmingham News and by Rivals.com. He is a weak-side defensive end with a rank of four stars. How early and often he will play will certainly depend upon two major factors: how bad Craig Sanders wants it and whether or not Auburn lands a commitment from weak side defensive prospect, Corey Lemonier.
With the departure of strong side defensive end, Antonio Coleman, I expect Antoine Coleman to lead at that role now. Craig Sanders has good size and for a man that weighs 230 pounds, he runs a 4.6 40-yard dash. I expect to see him rushing quarterbacks on the Auburn defense in the future, but I just can't be too sure how soon that future will be. He is a big help to Auburn regarding 2010 because he adds good talent to the roster's depth chart.
(Photo Courtesy of Rivals.com)
Another defensive end prospect, this one from the strong side, will join the Auburn Tigers in 2010 from Fullerton Community College of Fullerton, California.
His name is Joel Bonomolo, and to be honest, I don't know much about this guy. I do know that Auburn coaches went to Fullerton to look at offensive tackle by the name of John Cullen and maybe that this when they took notice of Joel Bonomolo.
Regardless of how and when they met, this guy has excellent size, standing 6'3" and weighing in at 245 pounds. Put about 15 or 20 pounds of extra muscle on him and he will certainly fit the bill for an SEC strong-side defensive end. As for speed, Bonomolo runs the 40 in 4.65 seconds, which is very good for a guy of his size.
Joel Bonomolo is ranked by Rivals.com as a four-star and he is ranked as the 29th-best Junior College player overall. I know he suffered an injury this past year and at one time, he thought he might have to undergo surgery to his rotator cuff. The injury did not turn out to be that bad and that will give Bonomolo a chance to heal quicker.
How soon this guy will help the Auburn defense is something I cannot answer. I do believe Bonomolo will be a starter in 2010. Then again, Daren Bates came in as a two-star and earned a spot at starting safety after proving he was the man for the job. Until they put the pads on and square off, it just to difficult to tell.
Thankfully, Auburn is adding depth to the defensive side of the ball and that side of the ball is where Auburn needs to improve. It is probably safe to say that Joel Bonomolo will eventually work his way into a starter's role, and until he does, he can always lend a hand to keep other guys fresh.
(Photo Courtesy of Rivals.com)
Trovon Reed is an excellent pickup for Auburn. For a long time, he was listed as the 10th-best overall wide receiver by Rivals.com, but recently his status changed to being the fourth-best overall athlete and the 46th-best prospect overall.
He is the number-one player in the state of Louisiana and he should make some type of immediate impact on the playing field for the Auburn Tigers. Recently, there was talk of him wavering to LSU but after Reed came back to Auburn for another visit on January 15, 2010, he stated that he was Auburn all the way. As a result, I will write of Trovon Reed as if he were an Auburn Tiger.
In my opinion, Trovon Reed chose wisely when he gave his commitment to Auburn. He saw Auburn play this past year and he had to see all of the different people used for punt returns. If there is one area where Trovon Reed can come in and play immediately, it should be on punt returns and kickoff returns. He undoubtedly can play wide receiver, but how soon he will be on the receiving end of the football is yet to be determined.
I still believe former Louisiana superstar DeAngelo Benton is going to find himself and get back into the swing of things with a lot of upstart. In 2010, Auburn will have no shortage of wide receivers. Those who put on the best show in practice and then back it up in the games will be the guys who will rack up the most stats for the passing offense.
Trovon Reed has the ability to be one of those guys. I will end this just as I began: Trovon Reed is an excellent pickup for the Auburn Tigers!
(Photo Courtesy of Rivals.com)
Jeremy Richardson brings more than one tool to the Auburn Tigers and one of them is NFL size. This wide receiver prospect stands 6'4" and weighs 220 pounds. Richardson is well-publicized, as he was ranked as the third-best prospect in the state of Alabama by the Birmingham News and the 27th-best receiver prospect and the 199th best overall prospect by Rivals.com.
Will he be able to bring it to the football field? I believe he will.
Jeremy Richardson doesn't have blazing speed but he does run the 40 in 4.53 seconds. It is his size that gives him an edge. How many times does a team face a third and goal situation where they need to float one into the corner of the end zone and let their tall receiver out jump the defensive back? That type of play is very much a reality with Richardson. On running plays, he can also provide excellent blocking and that is something that a lot of receivers are too lazy to do all of the time.
Whether or not Jeremy Richardson will make his impact in 2010 is hard to say. Once again, I believe it is totally up to him. I have a feeling coaches are allowing these players to come in and show what they can do.
If he does not make a large impact in 2010, I look for him to begin making a lot of plays in 2011.
(Photo Courtesy of Rivals.com)
Antonio Goodwin is a wide receiver prospect who, in my mind, can come in right away and add some spunk and spice to the receiver corps. At 6'2" and 170 pounds, Goodwin is quick and brings a lot of agility as a wide receiver. A four-star recruit, he is ranked as the 46t- best overall prospect by ESPN as a member of the elite ESPN 150.
There was a short amount of time when Antonio Goodwin thought about wavering from his commitment to Auburn. Coaches spoke with him and he wisely stayed in the fold. I say wisely because it will give him a chance to make spectacular plays within the offense of an offensive guru, Gus Malzhan.
I don't know how large of impact Antonio Goodwin will make in 2010, but I do know that he is capable of doing so. If he does not see a lot of catches in 2010, I do expect him to see a lot more in 2011.
(Photo Courtesy of Rivals.com)
Cody Parkey joins the ranks as Auburn's newest place kicker and field goal expert. Ranked by Rivals.com as the nations' best kicker, he did not live up to that hype in the Under Armour All American game. It was in that game that he missed a field goal and an extra point. In his defense, the timing was way off on the snap and the hold and I do not expect to see many misses when he kicks for the Tigers.
I have seen this guy kick a couple of times and he can boom it out of the end zone most of the time. If Auburn has a kicker that can prevent kick returns, that will be huge win for special teams most of the time. Cody Parkey will make an impact in 2010 and he should do rather well, three points at a time.
I will now cover all remaining commitments under one slide.
In no way am I saying anything less about any of them by choosing not to write a solo article about each one. Time does not permit it for me. Every Auburn commit for the 2010 will be a positive addition to the team.
I have said it before and I will say it again: Daren Bates was a two-star recruit for the class of 2009 and he started at safety this past year. Any recruit is liable to outwork others to earn playing time and, or a starting position. As I list a few tidbits about each recruit, keep in mind that I do not have them listed in any certain order.
Chris Davis - He listed as an athlete and that is definitely what he is. Thank God he flew under the radar and was not highly-publicized or heavily-recruited by SEC or ACC schools.
Just the other night, he showed his athletic prowess by leading his high school basketball team to a victory over what was supposed to be a much better team. Davis will do the same on the football field.
Recruited to play in the secondary, I expect him to be one of the guys who will come in and turn heads. Even if he does not land a large amount of playing time in 2010, he will in the future.
Ryan White - This speedster had offers from several schools, including schools from the SEC. I believe Auburn has recruited this man to compete for a job in Auburn's secondary. He is not ranked nationally but he does have good size and excellent speed. He is very capable of playing excellent football for Auburn in the distant future.
Jawara White - This linebacker prospect is a three star who is ranked as the 23rd-best outside linebacker prospect. Jawara White may be a three-star now, but he is very capable of making more of a name for himself by wreaking havoc to SEC offenses.
He may be one of the three-stars who has just enough grit and resolve to compete for a position in 2010. Most likely, he will add beef to the depth chart and will see playing time after one or two seasons.
Ed Christian - Until recently, Ed Christian was ranked as a four-star by Rivals.com but for reasons unknown to me, he has been bumped down to a three-star.
Christian is ranked as the 34th-best offensive tackle prospect in the country by Rivals.com and the 20th-best offensive guard prospect by Scout.com. So which is it? In my mind, I can see Ed Christian playing guard in 2011 when four offensive line spots will open up because of graduating seniors.
Christian may prove himself worthy enough to earn playing time in 2010 in order to get some experience under his belt. Regardless as to whether he will play guard or tackle, this 280-pound, 6'5" tall behemoth will definitely be a positive asset for Auburn football for several years to come.
Jessel Curry - One of Auburn's first commits for 2010, dating back to June 16, 2009, Jessel Curry is ranked by Scout.com as the 24th-best middle linebacker and by Rivals.com as the 44th-best outside linebacker prospect. He also plays fullback on offense and that is something is frame of 6'2" and 215 pounds can handle for Gus Malzhan's offense.
Current fullback, Eric Smith, won't be around forever. Put a few more pounds on Jessel Curry and he will take over with no problem. I expect to see this guy make an impact by the 2012 season. He certainly adds to the depth chart and that has been one of Chizik's goals all along for this 2010 class of recruits.
Justin Delaine - A weak side defensive end prospect with excellent size, this three-star recruit will need a little time to develop. He is not ranked nationally by Scout.com or Rivals.com but he is ranked as the 31st-best overall player in the state of Alabama.
Auburn coaches have a goal of taking back a lot of the recruiting in the state of Alabama and sometimes, it begins with the recruitment and commitment of guy like Justin Delaine. I don't expect him to see playing time for a few years and I would speculate that he will sit out this next year with a redshirt. Delaine must work on academics to qualify.
D.J. Howard - This recruit has now backed off his commitment with Auburn but did say that he would pick between Clemson, Auburn, and Kentucky.
Auburn has recruited Howard to play in the secondary, possibly at safety, but Howard wants to play running back. Clemson or Kentucky have swayed this recruit by telling him they will definitely give him a shot in the backfield.
If D.J Howard sticks with his commitment to Auburn, I believe Chizik will test him at running back, but if he is smart, he will stick with Auburn and play defense. He has good size. Standing at 6' and weighing 195 pounds, Howard would make an excellent safety or cornerback and he would have a much better chance of making the NFL as a defensive back than as a running back.
I believe he is good enough to possibly earn a starting spot in a couple of years, but he must be patient and he must be willing to work hard at whatever position the coaches feel is best for him.
D.J. Howard is ranked as the 15th-best overall player in the state of Alabama by Rivals.com. Will it be Auburn, Kentucky, or Clemson for this Lincoln, Alabama prospect?
Shaun Kitchens—I like this guy. An Auburn commit since way back when, he is not ranked up there with the big dogs, but he has good size at 6'3" and 215 pounds.
Rivals.com lists him as the 48th-best athlete overall and Scout.com lists him as the 33rd-best outside linebacker. I may be wrong, but I don't see him playing outside linebacker. Then again, if Ted Roof brings in an extra linebacker when he believes the other team will run, Kitchens could be that guy.
Where he will play and when he will play is something I cannot put my finger on at this time. I do believe he will be a positive asset for Auburn but I expect him to redshirt his first year and possibly earn playing time in 2012.
Chad Slade—The only SEC school to recruit Chad Slade outside of Auburn was Mississippi State. The one thing Chad Slade has going for him is size. He is a people mover at 6'6" and 320 pounds.
With offensive line prospects like Roszell Gayden, Ed Christian, Eric Mack, and Shon Coleman joining him as part of the 2010 class, Chad Slade is going to have to work very, very hard to earn playing time in the years to come.
Although he will add depth to Auburn's line, I almost believe Chad Slade should have elected another school if playing time is what he wants. Then again, he may have something to prove, but only time will tell if he can do just that.
Dakota Mosley—This high school teammate of Michael Dyer brings a couple of different tools to the roster of Auburn football for the class of 2010. Number one, he is a tight end, and number two, he is a long snapper. Mosley certainly is a big guy at 6'4" and 250 pounds, and he has great hands.
With offers from Florida State and Tennessee, Dakota Mosley wisely chose to follow Michael Dyer with the knowledge that Auburn is a team that is going somewhere.
I believe Philip Lutzenkirchen will start at tight end for several years to come; however, Mosley can and will play at times and he will certainly provide a dependable back up in the event of injury to the starter. An Under Armour All American, Mosley was chosen to be the long snapper for both teams.
Demetruce McNeal—At 6'1" and 176 pounds, this safety prospect is a good score to help the beleaguered Auburn secondary. He has good size for a safety prospect, but how good he will be is an unknown.
I truly expect him to sit out a year as a redshirt and earn playing time a few seasons down the road. Rivals.com ranks him as the 57th-best safety prospect overall and 70th-best player overall in the state of Georgia. McNeal also had offers from West Virginia and South Carolina.
Jonathan Mincy—Ranked by Rivals.com as a three-star, Jonathan Mincy was just a fraction away from being ranked a little higher. Ranked as the 38th-best cornerback prospect and the 35th-best overall player in the state of Georgia by Rivals.com, Mincy held offers from Georgia Tech, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Ole Miss, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt. He was highly recruited as a cornerback due to his excellent speed and his good grades.
With the ability to run a flat 4.4 40-yard dash, there are not too many receivers that Jonathan Mincy will be able to cover. I expect to see a lot of good defensive plays from Mincy in the years to come. I am not sold on the fact that he will help out too much in 2010.
Whenever he is able to get some quality playing time on the college level, I expect to see him make a lot of progress and be a very fine defensive back for the Auburn Tigers. When that will be is anyone's guess.
Steven Clark—Although Steven Clark was not rated higher than two stars by any recruiting web site, he is worth mentioning as a very good addition to Jay Boulware's special teams.
The word on the streets has it that Steven Clark will do the punting and Cody Parkey will do the kicking. If they both come in confident and comfortable and they perform like they are capable of performing, Auburn is likely to have the best kicker/punter duo in SEC football and possibly, in the country.
Ranked as the 20th-best overall kicker by Rivals.com, Auburn coaches fell for Steven Clark because he brings one thing that his punting unit desperately needs: hang time! Clark can put the ball up in the air with exceptional hang time and distance and that will help keep returners from racking up a lot of return yards against Auburn. Auburn suffered from punt returns this past year and with the addition of Steven Clark, expect a remedy rather quickly.
With two days and a wakeup remaining until signing day, who will join the historical recruiting class that Auburn coaches have put together over the past ten months? Let's take a brief look at some big time names and what they would bring to Auburn football for 2010
Marcus Lattimore—Ranked as the top running back prospect by Scout.com and Rivals.com and the no. 2 running back by ESPN, Lattimore will be Christmas all over again for the Auburn Tigers in the event he chooses the shun his home state school of South Carolina. If he is smart, he will do just that.
With his list of schools down to Auburn and South Carolina, it is evident which offense will help him make a better name for himself in order to prepare him for the NFL. It is widely known that Spurrier is not the happiest man at South Carolina and Lattimore all by himself can not turn that program around. Eric Mack saw that.
Let's hope Lattimore sees it on Tuesday when he makes his choice. Marcus Lattimore is a big, power back and with him, Malzhan's offense will have a one-two punch of running backs at all times. Remember Felix Jones and Darren McFadden at Arkansas? I know you remember Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown at Auburn.
First a few jabs with Dyer and then a right-hand uppercut from Lattimore, SEC defenses will be run-slap-silly trying to stop them. I believe Spurrier is promising Lattimore that he will add a lot of running game to his pass-happy style of offense, but he hasn't done it in the past and he will probably not do it for Marcus.
Auburn is the best place for Lattimore. Do not fret if he chooses South Carolina, though. We still have a dangerous back by the name of Dontae Aycock who is the same size as Lattimore.
Corey Lemonier—Will it be Florida State or Auburn? Hopefully, it will be Auburn, leaving Florida State to exclaim, "dad gum!"
Lemonier is the third-best overall weak-side defensive end prospect according to Rivals.com and the 35th-best player overall in the nation. He will bring size and speed to Auburn's defensive line, and if he commits, he might be good enough to earn a starting spot in 2010.
He will definitely play, and even if he does not start for the Tigers in 2010, it won't be long before he is sacking quarterbacks full-time as an Auburn defensive standout.
Jeffrey Whitaker—Speaking of defensive standouts, that is just what four-star prospect Jeffrey Whitaker is. Rated by Rivals.com as the fifth-best defensive tackle and the 54th-best overall player nationwide, Jeffrey Whitaker, at 6'3" and 295 pounds, is pretty much a must-have for Ted Roof's defense.
Auburn must put a better defense on the field in 2010 in order to keep other teams from fourth-quarter comeback drives. If Whitaker does join the Auburn Tigers, I expect him to see playing time early and I believe he will make an immediate positive impact.
Byran Jones—Another excellent defensive tackle, Byran Jones is another four-star prospect who is rated by Rivals.com as the 19th-best overall defensive tackle. He is also a member of the Rivals 250.
Jones is 6'3" and 295 pounds, and he can bench press 380 pounds a total of 25 repetitions. Now that is proof that he can throw off any big offensive lineman and stop a running back dead in his tracks.
Byran Jones would be a super-fine addition to Auburn's defensive depth chart and depending upon how much he wants it, he may earn a lot of playing time in 2010. He will have stiff competition at defensive tackle, but in a few years to come, if Jones becomes a Tiger, expect to hear his name called frequently over the loudspeaker at Jordan-Hare several times a game.
Markeith Ambles—I do not believe Markeith Ambles will play for Auburn and it may be just as well. I am not sure he would be an appropriate fit for Coach Chizik and the team that he is building at Auburn.
When Lane Kiffin left Tennessee, there was some talk about Ambles visiting Auburn on the last weekend in January; however, he took his official visit to Tennessee instead. Who knows where he will play, but it doesn't look like it will be Auburn.
There they are! The commits and the prospects. The commits have put Auburn in the top five of recruiting as of Jan. 31, 2010, and the prospects have the opportunity to come on board and see that position rise. Auburn may not end up with the number one class, but it is possible for them to rise to second or third.
Your 2010 Auburn Tigers will be heard from in September. I'm ready! What about you?