THOMSON, Ga. — Auburn football might have to fill a big hole in its depth chart in 2018 if junior cornerback Carlton Davis declares for the NFL draft.
If that happens, count incoming freshman cornerback Christian Tutt as a contender for Davis’ vacancy.
That’s the ultimate goal for Tutt, who will sign with Auburn next week and enroll early. The 4-star cornerback from Thomson, Ga., told SEC Country on Thursday he plans to move in over the weekend and participate in Auburn’s Peach Bowl practices early next week.
“I’m ready to get all of this behind me,” Tutt said. “All this recruiting, it’s been hectic. I’m just ready to get out there with the guys and build relationships and all that.”
Tutt committed to Auburn last month at his U.S. Army All-American jersey ceremony. The 5-foot-11 cornerback also considered Ohio State and Nebraska. The Buckeyes are still pushing hard for him — Tutt said coach Urban Meyer and assistant Kerry Coombs flew from Columbus earlier this week — and new Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt has also been in contact.
But Tutt is ready to get rolling at Auburn, where defensive backs coach Greg Brown sold him on the close proximity to his hometown and the Tigers’ desire for reinforcements in the secondary.
“The message I got from him was that there was a need for corners right now,” Tutt said. “He told me that this was the most perfect opportunity for me because I’m the only corner committed, and I’m the only one coming in December. … He said, ‘This is the perfect opportunity for you to come in and establish yourself and come and compete to start.’ ”
Through the constant recruiting from Ohio State and Tennessee, Brown visited Tutt’s house Tuesday. During the visit, the Auburn assistant watched film with Tutt and showed him where he would fit in the Tigers defense.
Tutt said Brown sees him playing the same cornerback role as Davis in the secondary, even though he played some safety for Thomson.
Auburn coaches have also talked about him competing for the starting punt returner job that will be vacated by the graduating Stephen Roberts.
That talk of possible early playing time stuck with Tutt and played a huge role in his commitment. Now, he’s just a few days away from his first steps toward making that a reality.
“I want to go somewhere where I can be that guy,” Tutt said. “I mean, I don’t have a problem waiting my turn, but I’ve never done that in my life, and I don’t know how my reaction to that would be. So I just want to go in and be that guy. I’m not scared of competition, ever, nowhere in the country. But if this is the best situation for me, that’s where I’m going to be.”
Tutt is already close with another early enrollee from Georgia, safety Quindarious “Smoke” Monday. He said they’re ready to be the next wave of talent that can compete for championships at Auburn.
“I’m walking into the best opportunity for me,” Tutt said. “You have great coaches and you surround them with great players, you have a great program. I feel like this is the best opportunity for me, just going there and giving it my all. I can’t wait for them to mold me into the man I’m going to become.”