It’s that time, when I project who Auburn will land in the 2017 recruiting class.
A few dynamics have changed since the second edition. The Tigers landed a commitment. A couple players have committed elsewhere. Some options appear much more likely to flip to Auburn. Because of the nature of Auburn’s momentum, it’s less likely that anyone currently committed will flip elsewhere. This projection represents that trend.
Here’s a breakdown of how I’d expect Auburn’s signing class to look, if National Signing Day were upon us.
A couple housekeeping reminders:
- As it stands, Auburn has 15 commitments in the 2017 class and is No. 12 in the national rankings. The Tigers will shoot for roughly 25, so that leaves 10 or so spots up for grabs. In this projection the Tigers will land 24.
- All position totals are based on what recruits have communicated, Auburn’s history at certain positions and areas of need for the Tigers. Auburn’s recruiting staff doesn’t put its big board in front of me, nor should they. These are all educated approximations.
- Recruits with (*) next to their names are commitments.
- 4-star ATH Tray Bishop*, Terrell County (Ga.): Bishop wants to play quarterback, and Auburn coaches said he’ll get that chance. You’ll notice a change from the last projection. Bishop is the only quarterback on the list. Jarrett Stidham is still a wild-card option at this point, but what’s the point? Sean White looks great, Woody Barrett is likely next in line and Bishop can get his chance. Then, it’s the Joey Gatewood show in 2018.
Running backs (3)
- 4-star RB Devan Barrett*, Tampa Catholic (Fla.): Auburn’s running back class in 2017 is deep and talented. It all starts with Barrett. He’s ravaged opposing defense during his senior season, and he’s the only member of the 2017 class explicitly listed as a running back. He’s 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, but he’ll likely bulk up a little bit and fit into the Tigers’ running scheme.
- 4-star ATH Alaric Williams*, Southside School (Ala.): Williams officially visited Nebraska this season, and there was some admitted intrigue there. But, as Kamryn Pettway continues his tear, it’ll be harder than ever for teams to swipe at Auburn’s running back commits. Williams bring his own eye-popping numbers to this group.
- 4-star ATH Octavius Matthews*, Itawamba C.C. (Miss.): Coming from junior college, Matthews will be on campus in January, so Auburn won’t have to wait until Signing Day to see his final confirmation. Matthews has receiving and running ability, which gives him a special element to this trio.
Wide receiver (1)
- 4-star WR Brandon Martin, Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C.: Martin, once an Auburn commit, has been in these projections since the start of the season. He’s gone quiet a little, as MGCCC prepares for its playoff run. Auburn doesn’t need receivers, per se, but Martin brings an older addition.
Tight end (1)
- 3-star TE Tre’ McKitty, IMG Academy (Fla.): McKitty has been on flip alert for a little while now. The distance from home to Eugene, Ore., has begun to to wear on the Oregon commit. Auburn is in position, along with Florida, Miami and Florida State. There’s still a lot of work to be done here, but Auburn needs a tight end and McKitty is option No. 1.
Offensive linemen (4)
- 5-star OT Calvin Ashley*, St. John’s College High (Washington): Once considered to be in fear of a flip, Ashley appears to be much more safe for Auburn. He’s all-in when the Tigers land a recruit and quite active on Twitter during games. He liked Maryland when he visited, but Auburn should feel good about securing its only 5-star prospect.
- 4-star OT Austin Troxell*, Madison Academy (Ala.): Troxell made his decision over the summer, and he never wavered. Once he picked Auburn over Alabama, Troxell was a Tiger the rest of the way. He’ll add some versatility on the offensive line, assuming he returns well from another knee injury.
- 4-star OG Nick Brahms*, Navarre High (Fla.): Brahms adds a solid guard component to complement Ashley and Troxell. He hasn’t looked elsewhere, and he’s made the long trip up from the Florida panhandle a few times this season. Brahms, like Troxell, will need to return healthy from an injury to compete.
- 3-star OG Jordan Agasiva, Pima C.C. (Ariz.): Agasiva officially visited Auburn on Sept. 23. He has since picked up an offer from Ole Miss, and he hopes to take an official visit there and potentially some West Coast schools. But I think his relationship with offensive line coach Herb Hand does the trick to land the mid-year enrollee. Hand was the only coach to visit him in his Hawaii hometown this summer.
Defensive linemen (2)
- 4-star DE Ryan Johnson, St. Paul’s Episcopal (Ala.): It’s hard to get a great read on who Auburn defensive line coach Rodney Garner wants most on the defensive line. Johnson is the best bet at this point. He’s visited a few times and the Tigers feel good about where they’re at with him. Stanford might be the biggest threat.
- 4-star DE Isaiah Buggs, Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C.: I’m sticking with this one for the sake of consistency. Buggs has taken a step back and added a few more teams to his race. This certainly is a toss-up, but Buggs has maintained that he has a special affection for Auburn that grew after his unofficial visit earlier this season. Once his JUCO season ends, his process will speed rapidly.
- 4-star LB Tadarian Moultry*, Jackson-Olin High (Ala.): Moultry committed to Auburn in May. He’ll take visits to Missouri, Cal and Florida after the season, but that’s purely for the rare experience to journey elsewhere with family.
- 4-star LB KJ Britt*, Oxford (Ala.): Britt is the most recent grab for Auburn, and he might be the biggest one yet. He’s a downhill, run-stopping linebacker that brings a ton of charisma to the 2017 class. By announcing his decision Monday, Britt confirmed what many believed for a while — that he would enroll at Auburn in January.
- 3-star LB Chandler Wooten*, North Cobb (Ga.): Wooten picked up recent offers from Ohio State and Georgia. No worries, Auburn. Wooten, who once pondered taking official visits to those two or Michigan State, has decided he doesn’t need anymore convincing before he enrolls early at Auburn.
- 4-star LB Tyler Taylor, Lanier (Ga.): Auburn has several linebackers to choose from, assuming the Tigers want to expand on the three they already have. If they do, Taylor would be a great fit for both sides. Taylor goes to the same school as Derrick Brown, who also shocked some people with an Auburn commitment over Georgia. Like Britt and Brown, I think Taylor will be drawn to the Plains.
- 4-star ATH Malcolm Askew*, McAdory High (Ala.): Askew plays all over the place in high school but he’ll probably be a cornerback for Auburn. Askew has been the vocal leader for the 2017 class, and he’s attended several games this season. Like fellow commit Alaric Williams, Askew took an official visit that raised some eyebrows — to Cal — but that seems to be a concern of the past.
- 3-star CB Shawn Shamburger, Colquitt County (Ga.): Shamburger has long been an underrated prospect, only holding one Power 5 offer — from Auburn. On Tuesday, he added his second major offer. This one came from Tennessee to give the Tigers some SEC competition. Shamburger grew up in Theodore, Ala., as an Auburn fan. The Tigers will score him.
- 3-star safety Jordyn Peters*, Muscle Shoals (Ala.): Peters committed to Auburn in August to get his recruitment process out of the way before his senior year started. He’s been a regular attendee at Jordan-Hare Stadium this season. Wesley McGriff will be adding a solid foundation to his first class.
- 3-star safety Carlito Gonzalez*, Stephenson (Ga.): Gonzalez, like Peters, has been committed to Auburn and that doesn’t appear to be changing. Gonzalez, just Monday, called on all the Auburn commits to get on campus for the Alabama A&M game to help recruiting efforts for the Tigers’ staff.
- 4-star safety C.J. Avery, Grenada (Miss.): Avery and Devon Hunter are considered the top two safeties still available on Auburn’s wish list. Hunter likes Auburn, but I think he goes with in-state Virginia Tech. Avery’s father was coached by McGriff at Kentucky State. That connection helps Auburn land a 4-star safety.
- 3-star ATH JaTarvious Whitlow, LaFayette (Ala.): Whitlow still needs to get his standardized testing situated before he can guarantee his college qualification, but assuming he does, Whitlow has some of the best upside in this class. I know there are some listed as ATH elsewhere, but their projected positions are more defined. Whitlow could be a quarterback, running back, receiver, cornerback or safety. My guess is safety, but it will be a crowded class there.
- 3-star kicker Anders Carlson*, The Classical Academy (Colo.): The second coming of Daniel Carlson, his younger brother. He’s considered to be an equal to his record-setting sibling, and he’s ready to get on campus to help build his own reputation.
Long snapper (1)
- 2-star long snapper Bill Taylor*, American Christian Academy (Ala.): There is some discussion about giving Taylor a special type of “shirt” that frees a space up in Auburn’s class. Some of that will be determined by how many players the Tigers end up attempting to add. At 25 — the number used for this projection — he’d probably come in as a regular 2017 commit.