With several DT departures expected, what is Auburn’s recruiting plan?
Much like Justin Ferguson does on the Auburn team side, recruiting reporter Benjamin Wolk will answer the Recruiting Question of the Day. You can ask him questions on Twitter or Facebook. Look for our Question of the Day each weekday. Go here to see our previous answers.
Do we have an idea to who are some of Coach Garner's top DT targets are for this class?
— Mike Ellington (@Ellitor_AU) May 14, 2018
I love the way this question is asked because it nails down just how secretive Auburn defensive line coach Rodney Garner’s recruiting efforts can be.
Do we have an idea…
It’s funny because, oftentimes, Garner works quietly to land prospects nobody would’ve expected. Sometimes that is because of the prospect’s high caliber. Other times it’s because it wasn’t known Auburn was recruiting heavily until late in the cycle. That happened with Derrick Brown, Big Kat Bryant, Marlon Davidson, Kayode Oladele, Tyrone Truesdell, Caleb Johnson, Alec Jackson and others.
After a 2018 class that included a couple of defensive tackle additions — Coynis Miller and Daquan Newkirk — there’s still desperation to add a few more because of the upcoming losses (or likely losses) of Brown, Dontavius Russell, Andrew Williams and Nick Coe. Among the top-ranked defensive tackles in the 2019 class, Auburn isn’t known to be seriously involved with anyone inside the top 10.
That could be a case of Garner silently working his magic, or it could be a sign he values a few other targets more favorably than the rankings.
Here are six names to keep an eye on:
- Jaelin Humphries, Mountain View (Lawrenceville, Ga.)
- Patrick Lucas, Wetumpka (Ala.)
- Jalar Holley, Buford (Ga.)
- Jaren Handy, Perry Central (New Augusta, Miss.)
- Justin Eboigbe, Forest Park (Ga.)
- Nathan Pickering, Seminary (Miss.)
The first three on that list — Humphries, Lucas and Holley — are listed as tackles.
Humphries is the highest-rated of the group. His recruitment has a chance to become a South Carolina-Auburn battle, but a few others such as Georgia, Florida, LSU, Tennessee and Florida State could get involved. Lucas and Holley are both much lower on the rankings totem pole, but they have drawn plenty of SEC interest and have visited Auburn this spring.
Handy, Eboigbe and Pickering are all ends who could transition to the tackle position. There are a few other players in this class who fit into that category. Garner has a history of using recruits brought in as defensive ends and giving them defensive tackle reps. I mention these three specifically because they’ve all mentioned to me that they talked to Garner about the possibility of playing tackle — and they’re all highly ranked.
Hopefully, that gives you somewhat of an idea about Auburn’s defensive tackle recruiting plans.
To see all the answers to prior Auburn questions, click here.