Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Auburn Tigers football recruiting notebook with Auburn recruiting beat writer Benjamin Wolk. It’s Tuesday, and SEC Country gives updates on Mark-Antony Richards, Xavier Truss and Donte Starks.
2 key prospects will make June recruiting visits
In my search for expected Big Cat Weekend attendees, two 4-star prospects who won’t attend the June 2 recruiting event provided noteworthy updates.
Let’s start with South Florida athlete Mark-Antony Richards.
The nation’s No. 81 overall prospect, according to the 247Sports composite, has been recruited heavily by Miami, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Ohio State, Alabama and others. He’s listed as an athlete, which in his case could mean running back, wide receiver or defensive back. In the case of many listed athletes, it’s often known which position the player will end up playing at the next level.
There isn’t as much certainty with Richards.
Until this spring, Auburn had recruited him primarily as a defensive back. After coaches went to see him play recently, the Tigers now like Richards at running back — though they like him so much they’d take him at whatever position he wanted to play.
Auburn’s interest in Richards as a running back has caught his attention, too. He told SEC Country that, while he won’t be at Big Cat Weekend, he will visit Auburn on June 16 instead.
That will be at least Richards’ third known trip to the Plains as a recruit. He visited Auburn with his brother, Miami wide receiver Ahmmon Richards, when Ahmmon was being recruited.
“It’s beautiful. It’s really nice here. It’s peaceful. I talked to the coaching staff. They told me really good things about what I wanted to know,” Richards said after his last visit. “I just want to see them be successful really. Success is everything. Once again, it was really what I expected, the atmosphere around the place. It was really nice here.”
Richards isn’t the only highly rated recruit who won’t be at Big Cat Weekend but plans to be on the Plains shortly thereafter.
The No. 101 prospect in the nation, 4-star tackle Xavier Truss from Warwick, R.I., is a hot commodity. Truss has received heavy interest from Penn State, Clemson, Auburn, Georgia, Alabama and others. He took a southeast tour earlier this year that helped him get a feel for the last four schools on that list.
When he left that trip, he had this to say about the schools that stood out.
“Auburn probably stood out the most to me out of the Southern schools because I had no idea going into Auburn what to think,” Truss told SEC Country. “I had already been to Penn State and had a feel for them, but out of the schools I had no experience with, Auburn took the cake.”
Since then, the big question has been: Will Truss return?
He won’t be at Big Cat Weekend, but Truss told SEC Country he plans to be back in June, as well. There isn’t a specific date set in place, but Truss said he’d be surprised if in a month’s time he hadn’t already been back at Auburn for his second spring visit.
Louisiana linebacker considers altering plans
Donte Starks had a commitment date in mind for a while. July 8, his birthday, was the day the Louisiana linebacker planned to announce his college decision.
According to SEC Country’s reporter Sam Spiegelman, that date is much more flexible than it once was.
Starks told Spiegelman the potential timeframe for his decision varies. The 4-star prospect could make an announcement prior to his senior season, or he could elect to wait until much longer than that. Starks said he’d even consider holding out all the way to the Under Armour All-America Game in January and commit there, much like wide receiver Anthony Schwartz did earlier this year.
While many see LSU as an insurmountable competitor for Starks, this is yet another example of Auburn linebackers coach Travis Williams connecting with linebackers and giving the Tigers a puncher’s chance.
“Auburn is looking for a linebacker to come in and play immediately for the Class of 2019. They’ll need depth,” Starks told SEC Country. “I went up there for their junior day, and Coach Travis Williams showed me and my family a real good time.”
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