Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Auburn football recruiting notebook with Auburn recruiting beat writer Benjamin Wolk. Today, we examine Auburn’s chances with legacy athlete Nathaniel Watson. We also look at a pair of prospects — Alfred Thomas and Trey Dean — who hope to hear more from the Tigers.
Auburn leads for versatile legacy athlete
Nathaniel Watson can play most positions on the field.
That’s what he does at Maplesville High School (Ala.), where he plays quarterback, running back, wide receiver, safety, linebacker, defensive line and kick/punt returner. Watson’s season stat line during his team’s state championship season are laughable.
When it comes to his next-level projection, college coaches continue to evaluate where they want him. Watson tends to work at wide receiver at recruiting camps, and he presents a red-zone threat with his 6-foot-3, 215-pound frame.
Auburn knows where it wants Watson, however.
Most of Watson’s communication goes through defensive coordinator Kevin Steele. Steele tells Watson he wants him as hybrid defensive player.
“They’re recruiting me as a safety-linebacker or the Money backer,” Watson told SEC Country. “I’m trying to play both sides, if I can, but I’ll be happy wherever they put me. … I talk with coach Steele a lot.”
Watson is listed as a 4-star athlete by the 247Sports composite rankings. He ranks as the No. 19 athlete and the No. 285 overall prospect.
The Tigers are a clear favorite to land him. Watson has legacy ties to the Tigers. His great-uncle was Tommie Agee. His cousin, Harold Morrow, also suited up for them.
Watson names Auburn, Ole Miss and Mississippi State as his three top schools, but admitted Clemson, Georgia and Oklahoma could enter the mix with offers. There’s no question who Watson’s top choice is right now.
“Auburn,” Watson said. “Their environment, their coaching staff and the education they’ve got down there are great. … It would be pretty good to play on an Auburn defense. I mean, they get to play last game of the season against Alabama in the Iron Bowl, so that’s pretty good. That’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”
Watson will attend the Tigers’ spring game Saturday.
It will be his second visit this spring. Based on the team’s position projection, secondary coach Greg Brown has picked up his communication with Watson. The 4-star prospect hopes to return after the A-Day game to get more one-on-one time with Brown in the film room.
“Coach Brown wants me to get down so we can sit and watch film and go over plays, techniques,” Watson said. “They all tell me to just keep grinding. They always tell me they hope to see me up there playing in an Auburn uniform one day.”
DT target continues wait for offer
Alfred Thomas recently released a top-8 list. Auburn didn’t make the list. The Tigers still haven’t offered the 4-star defensive tackle from Lanier (Ala.) who has said — of all the offers he doesn’t hold yet — Auburn is the one he hopes to eventually get.
But Thomas knows he can’t wait forever on Auburn, so he made a list of eight schools who have offered: Georgia, Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Louisville, Mississippi State and North Carolina State.
How does Thomas feel about the Auburn wait?
“It bothers me a little, but then again, I understand it,” Thomas told SEC Country. “It’s just part of it. … I perceive it as they’re just waiting on somebody else. If I get the offer, they’ll still have a chance, though.”
Rodney Garner has plenty of options on the defensive line this cycle, and the Tigers will bring in a relatively large class. But Auburn continues to play it patient with the 6-foot-1, 270-pound defensive tackle who grew up an Auburn fan.
Thomas has been on campus as recently as the March junior day, but he’s unsure when he plans to return.
He talks to Auburn at least on a weekly basis. Most of that communication is through Twitter.
“This offer would mean a lot,” Thomas said in March. “I’ve been wanting this offer since the ninth grade. It’d be great if I could get it.”
Another impressive group was on campus for spring practice. The Tigers have had a bunch of top prospects at practices over the course of this spring. Auburn sent out one offer Tuesday among the targets who attended practice.
Here’s a look at the prospects in attendance.
- 3-star DE Azeez Ojulari, Marietta (Ga.) — received offer
- 4-star OLB Quin Williams, Madison (Ga.)
- 4-star safety Otis Reese, Leesburg (Ga.) — Michigan commit
- 2019 OLB King Mwikuta, LaGrange (Ga.)
- 2020 DE Andy Boykin, LaGrange (Ga.)