Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Auburn Tigers football recruiting notebook with Auburn recruiting beat writer Benjamin Wolk. It’s Tuesday, and SEC Country recaps visits by two coaches to see a pair of teammates in Georgia. Also, the offer from Alabama to George Pickens shouldn’t change anything with his Auburn recruitment, but the Crimson Tide have emerged as a factor for a top defensive back target.
2 Auburn coaches head to Georgia to see commit, target
In two days, two Auburn coaches made two separate stops to see two of the program’s most prized prospects.
Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele and wide receivers coach Kodi Burns passed through Frederica Academy the last two days. That’s the St. Simons Island, Ga., home of cornerback commit Jaylin Simpson and athlete target Jashawn Sheffield. Steele was there for Simpson. Burns stopped by for Sheffield. Both are part of the Class of 2019.
The Steele stop shouldn’t come as a surprise. He adopted the coastal Georgia area after Herb Hand left. Steele has been by to see Simpson and Sheffield at every opportunity and has been the main communicator from the Auburn coaching staff.
That relationship with Steele helped land Simpson in the first place.
“I just feel like he’s more real than other coaches,” Simpson said previously.
Now Auburn is trying to get Sheffield to buy into what his teammate bought into.
There are differences, however.
Simpson was clearly being recruited as a defensive back. Sheffield has had a bigger unknown there, saying after his last trip that “only Gus” knew what the plan was for him, but he was an accepting participant in whatever that was. He could be a safety or a wide receiver. The fact Burns swung by Frederica Academy suggests the Tigers are still strongly considering the possibility of Sheffield as a wide receiver.
What’s interesting is that several programs have visited the Georgia high school this spring to check in with Simpson and Sheffield. Only once has Sheffield gone on social media to personally thank the coach for being there. That came after Burns’ stop at Frederica.
Sheffield was projected to commit to Auburn a few weeks ago. That hasn’t happened, but I still wouldn’t place it in concern category yet. The Tigers still feel strongly about their chances. Sheffield just wants to take a little more time to sort it all out before finalizing anything publicly.
Alabama offer doesn’t change George Pickens stance yet
Shortly after the Monday notebook published, Auburn wide receiver commit George Pickens announced an interesting twist in his recruitment.
He finally picked up the offer from Alabama.
It had been a long time coming. Pickens has been to Tuscaloosa regularly as a prospect from nearby Hoover, Ala. Throughout the spring, he established himself as one of the best in the country, and the Crimson Tide seriously took notice. Still, through all the offers from other SEC programs, it wasn’t until Monday that Alabama finally pulled the trigger.
The news came right after my note on Auburn fans not needing to worry about the solidness of Pickens’ commitment. Alabama typically causes a worrisome reaction from Auburn faithful. It’s understandable given the times the Tigers have been burned in the past by late Crimson Tide flips.
There’s no need to worry yet about this one. This was something Pickens knew would come eventually. It’s something Auburn anticipated would happen. Pickens and his mother are on board with the idea of limiting — or in Auburn’s preferable world, eliminating — visits to other schools and focusing on building the Tigers class.
Alabama might make stronger push for recent DB visitor
Alabama unexpectedly might be a problem for Auburn’s chances with cornerback Marcus Banks.
The Houston cornerback visited Auburn for the spring game with his mother. He enjoyed the trip so much that his first reaction involved wanting to set up an official visit with assistant coach Marcus Woodson as soon as possible. That sounded like a promising sign for the Tigers.
As it turns out, Auburn’s in-state rival might be the more likely of the two to land an official visit from Banks now, he told SEC Country. He expects to officially visit LSU on June 8 and Alabama on June 15.
“I’m feeling Alabama a lot right now,” Banks said. “They are high on my radar. Me taking that official visit, I’ll be able to see more things I didn’t get a chance to see on my junior day visit. I want to see the dorms, just small stuff like that. I want to get around to see more of the campus, too. I also just want to get more in-depth about the school when I’m there.”
He already officially visited Texas A&M. If he goes to LSU and Alabama, that leaves two open spots. Texas, Georgia and Auburn are battling it out for that distinction.
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