UPDATE: Brodarious Hamm committed to Auburn on Monday afternoon, according to Keith Niebuhr of 247Sports.
Tennessee suffered a recruiting setback Monday, losing its grip on dominant offensive lineman Brodarious Hamm.
The 4-star prospect backed off a verbal pledge to the Volunteers that stood since April, according to Keith Niebuhr of 247Sports. His decision opens the door for other SEC programs to claim a commitment.
Auburn particularly piques Hamm's interest. The 6'5", 320-pound tackle told Niebuhr he now considers the Tigers his new leader, going so far as to say a commitment could be "close."
It's a strong indication that Auburn is a heavy favorite moving forward and that his feelings toward the program probably played a pivotal role in his leaving Tennessee's 2016 class.
Hamm, a rising senior at Spalding High School in Griffin, Georgia, holds several scholarship offers. His list of options includes Alabama, Louisville, Mississippi State and LSU.
Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn welcomed him to campus last week. Hamm has a solid rapport in place with several Tigers assistants, including offensive line coach J.B. Grimes.
"They told me they just really want me," Hamm told Niebuhr.
Auburn has always been part of the equation here, even after being edged out by the Volunteers for his initial pledge two months ago. Now at the start of summer, it would be a surprise if Hamm doesn't enter his senior season as a Tigers commit.
Malzahn enjoyed an abundance of recruiting success in the Peach State during recent cycles, especially along the offensive front. He landed four linemen from Georgia last national signing day and now appears primed to add Hamm to that collection of blockers.
The in-state Bulldogs may ultimately emerge as Auburn's biggest threat.
Georgia extended an offer to Hamm when he was a freshman. He remains on head coach Mark Richt's radar two years later, despite sweeping changes on the Bulldogs offensive staff.
"I was surprised to get an offer from a school like Georgia during my freshman year, especially since I do not have that much film," he told Kipp Adams of DawgNation in 2013.
Hamm, rated 32nd nationally among offensive tackles in 247Sports' composite rankings, received a visit from Georgia assistant John Lilly this spring, just days after he spent time in Athens.
Chalk this one up as yet another head-to-head recruiting battle between the Bulldogs and Tigers. Auburn is out in front, but this chase could last longer than many expect if Georgia gains some momentum.
Recruiting info courtesy of 247Sports.