Auburn Football Recruiting: Grading The Tigers' 2011 Class
Auburn entered National Signing Day with lofty expectations.
Following their National Championship victory in early January, the Tigers hit the recruiting trail hard with the goal of upending Alabama, LSU, Georgia and other SEC powers for the power conference's top class.
While it remains to be seen whether or not Auburn did creep ahead of its conference rivals, it's clear that the Tigers didn't skip a beat on the recruiting trail.
With past tradition and recent momentum following an epic undefeated season, Auburn compiled a top-notch recruiting class.
Here is how we see the class shaping up now that National Signing Day is complete:
Position: Offensive Tackle
Ht/Wt: 6'4'', 290 pounds
Where He Fits in Best: Westerman, who committed to Auburn after pulling his verbal from Texas, is an immediate impact player for the Tigers. His talent level, size, speed and skill set make him perfect in most packages.
Does it Fill a Void?: Depending on the final decision from Cyrus Kouandjio, Westerman remains at the top of the Tigers' class and its offensive line. He'll fill a void with this 2011 class for year's to come.
Position: Defensive Tackle
Ht/Wt: 6'3'', 285 pounds
Where He Fits in Best: Wright, considered the No. 3 defensive tackle in the country, surely fills a role for the National Champions. He is a versatile defender in the trenches and will be able to add even more useful bulk. He'll likely jump right in to make an immediate impact.
Does it Fill a Void?: Wright leads the defensive unit in Auburn's offense-heavy 2011 recruiting class. Wright will add depth and talent up front for years to come.
Ht/Wt: 5'11'. 180 pounds
Where He Fits in Best: Bray is considered one of the top athlete recruits in the country and projects as a top-notch running back or wide receiver. His versatility truly allows him to play wherever he's able to make a difference, which is at either running back, wide receiver or defensive back.
Does it Fill a Void?: Yes. A player with the versatility Bray shows has the ability to fill a void wherever it needs to be. Bray will likely be another weapon on the offensive side of the ball for the Tigers.
Ht/Wt: 6'3'', 215 pounds
Where He Fits in Best: Frazier is a classic dual-threat quarterback in every sense. As a senior, he threw for 2,975 yards and 42 touchdowns and ran for another 1,164 yards and 22 touchdowns. He will fit in very well with Auburn's offense.
Does it Fill a Void?: Yes. With Cam Newton heading to the NFL, the Tigers' starting job is open. Past Barrett Trotter, who saw limited action behind Newton, the Tigers don't have much experience at the quarterback position. Frazier will surely add depth to the position and could compete to start.
Ht/Wt: 6'2'', 185 pounds
Where He Fits in Best: Florence, one of the top safety recruits in the nation, projects well at the strong safety position for his skill set and physical demeanor.
Does it Fill a Void?: If there was one spot in which Auburn could have used a bit of improvement last year, it was in points scored against. The Tigers allowed 24 points per game, which put them 53rd in the country. Florence's presence sures up the secondary.
Position: Tight End
Ht/Wt: 6'4'', 250 pounds
Where He Fits in Best: Fulse fits in better-at this point in his career-as a blocking tight end. His superior size and hands make him a tough matchup for opposing defenders.
Does it Fill a Void?: Yes. With the loss of Cam Newton-the great equalizer-Auburn will surely need to get back to grinding the ball more while new players and starters get up to speed. Adding a 6'4'', 250-pound blocker to the mix will undoubtedly help the Tigers.
Ht/Wt: 6'2'', 210 pounds
Where He Fits in Best: Much like Bray, Frost provides the Tigers with ultimate versatility. He projects well at either safety or linebacker and could see time as a wide receiver.
Does it Fill a Void?: At the risk of sounding like a broken record, an athlete with Frost's versatility helps out any team. He will surely fill a void, wherever it may be, and likely do it early on in the fall.
Position: Running Back
Ht/Wt: 5'9'', 185 pounds
Where He Fits in Best: Mason fits in well with virtually any package. While small in size, he is a playmaker and will find the seam on most carries. Although he needs to develop his blocking capabilities, he can also make his presence known in the passing game.
Does it Fill a Void?: Not immediately. With Michael Dyer returning after a stellar freshman season, Mason will see limited carries at most. He'll certainly develop into a supportive ball carrier in the backfield, though.
Position: Offensive Tackle
Ht/Wt: 6'7'', 325 pounds
Where He Fits in Best: Kouandjio is a beast on the offensive line. He will make a difference in the running game and in pass protection.
Does it Fill a Void?: Depending on if he does, indeed, sign with Auburn, Kouandjio surely fills a void. Immediately, the Tigers' offensive line would become perhaps the most dominant in the nation with Kouandjio and Westerman. If he doesn't sign, though, that won't be the case, despite Westerman's abilities.
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All told, the National Champions reloaded like, well, champions.
After completing the perfec tseason, the Tigers hit the recruiting trail hard and landed many top recruits on National Singing Day.
The Tigers' final grade for the 2011 recruiting class, however, depends heavily on the final decision from top-ranked offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio.
The DeMatha Catholic (Maryland) star gave his commitment to Auburn in a ceremony yesterday but still hasn't sent his National Letter of Intent.
For now, we'll consider the Tigers' recruiting class very strong. If Kouandjio does sign, it will be even more impressive.
Overall Grade: A