Calvin Ashley’s point is clear. He’s an Auburn Tiger.
For the second time in as many weeks, Auburn’s highest-rated pledge publicly confirmed his sincere, complete commitment to the Tigers. He said last week that he was “110 percent committed.” On Tuesday, Ashley said all other visits were canceled — an official visit to Florida on Jan. 27 was reported — and he announced he no longer would “entertain” other schools.
Maryland still feels like it’s in position for a flip, but that would be nearly impossible now, a source close to Ashley said. Ashley spoke to reporters during Under Armour All-America Game week, but he’s moved out of the public light since, understandably so. But his two tweets tell the story of how he feels about the recruiting process.
Ashley has voiced before how ready he is for National Signing Day. Maryland had hopes of a potential Signing Day flip, but Ashley just wants it to arrive so he can move on to his next stage. The Terrapins pose the biggest remaining threat, and the Tigers will play it carefully down the stretch despite Ashley’s public comments. Reports surfaced last week that Ashley might be on the verge of a flip, but Ashley put that to rest — publicly, at least.
A source close to Ashley said the reports were surprising given Ashley’s eagerness to return to Auburn and his high opinion of Scott Fountain and Herb Hand. Auburn didn’t hesitate once it became aware of the Maryland murmurs. Hand and Gus Malzahn made their presence felt despite the dead-period obstacles.
Even with Ashley’s public comments, Auburn will be regulars during the contact period. It will be interesting to see if Ashley hosts the Maryland staff on in-home visits, as well, or legitimately shuts down his recruitment.
Ashley’s decision to eliminate a Jan. 27 official visit to Florida is good news for Auburn. He still will OV to the Plains on Jan. 20, which will be a highly attended weekend in Auburn.
What it means on the offensive line
Let’s assume Ashley sticks to his word, and I have no verifiable reason to do anything but. That will give Auburn a confirmed offensive line class of No. 30 Ashley, No. 133 Austin Troxell and No. 146 Nick Brahms. The original plan was to bring in a four-player or five-player class on the offensive front. Four seems like the logical estimate now, though I wouldn’t rule out five for the right duo.
So, who is still in the running? More names could emerge. You’ll be informed when they do.
- No. 236 Tony Gray
- No. 252 Kai-Leon Herbert
- No. 733 Jordan Tucker
The latest on each:
- Gray is the highest rated of the bunch — and is only one of two who holds an offer — but the Tigers still are assessing if they want Gray. He has the talent, but it might not be what people originally believed. There are some non-football concerns, too. Gray placed Auburn in his top 5 recently, but the Tigers’ interest in Gray will be monitored.
- Herbert is committed to Michigan. That doesn’t seem likely to stick. Herbert will make it to Auburn this weekend. Maybe the Tigers will be able to sway Herbert to flip to Auburn. He also has plans to visit Florida, which is the presumed favorite to pull off the switch from Michigan for now.
- Tucker doesn’t have an Auburn offer, and it’s uncertain whether it will come. Tucker is holding out hope — inspired by the late offer to teammate Malik Willis — but he also wants his official visits set in place. He has two already, to North Carolina and South Carolina on back-to-back weekends. The final weekend of the contact period is left open. Auburn could secure it if the Tigers offer.
Part of the wait with a Tucker offer is an internal discussion about high school vs. junior college linemen. One of Auburn’s biggest targets this fall was Jordan Agasiva — a JUCO guard. He scratched Auburn from his list earlier in the season, and the Tigers haven’t pounced for other OL targets much since.
Top safety target sets commitment date
Devon Hunter has rearranged his plans yet again.
The top safety target remaining for Auburn has shifted commitment dates and OV dates around regularly the last few weeks. He did it again Tuesday, when he announced his final commitment plan. Hunter will announce at halftime of his high school’s basketball game on Jan. 20.
SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT ??‼ pic.twitter.com/K1q7GICUOe
— 7️⃣ Hunter (@devonhunter11) January 11, 2017
This date counters previous claims that Hunter officially would visit Auburn that weekend. It’s possible he’ll still manage to squeeze in an Auburn OV before that. I haven’t confirmed that directly with Hunter, but I’ve been told an OV to Auburn doesn’t seem likely.
Hunter’s communication with new secondary coach Greg Brown has been limited, but that is expected to change at the end of this week when the contact period resumes. Still, it’s going to be a major comeback effort for Auburn, which might have been in the behind-the-scenes driver’s seat prior to Wesley McGriff’s departure.
By announcing at a Chesapeake Bay sporting event, Hunter will be surrounded by a Virginia Tech-proud group. It seems like a prime time to commit to the Hokies, who have been the perceived front-runners for most of Hunter’s recruitment.