Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Auburn Tigers football recruiting notebook with Auburn recruiting beat writer Benjamin Wolk. It’s Monday, and SEC Country breaks down the best of the best among Auburn’s 2018 commits on offense.
Most loyal: 4-star quarterback Joey Gatewood
De-commitments are so common in the recruiting world these days that none of them surprise you. But, in Joey Gatewood’s case, it might be his continual reminder of his commitment that has been the most surprising.
It’s not often you see a guy commit two full years before they can sign and stick. Gatewood has done it, and it hasn’t been through the easiest of circumstances.
Auburn struggled offensively during those two years. His close relationship with recruiter Rhett Lashlee hit a road bump when Lashlee left for Connecticut. The Tigers also actively recruited 5-star quarterback Justin Fields, which could’ve been a sign to Gatewood that the school he was committed to was prioritizing someone else.
None of that mattered to Gatewood.
He remained firmly committed every step of the way. That’s loyalty at its finest and something you don’t see often in recruiting these days.
Most likely to play five different positions: 4-star WR Matthew Hill
There are a couple other guys in this class — Kolbi Fuqua and Jamien Sherwood, specifically — who could probably do this, as well. But Matthew Hill seems like the most likely candidate.
At his high school, Hill plays wide receiver, running back, safety, kick returner and punt returner. That’s five right there.
I can say almost as a guarantee that Hill will play wide receiver for Auburn. He’ll likely be a major returner candidate in the kicking and punting game. As for running back, it depends how you classify it, but it’s expected he’d at least get used some in the running game because of the danger he presents with the ball in his hands.
Now the question is: Can he find a fifth position? Safety is the most reasonable option. After all, Clemson is still trying to flip Hill to go play safety for those Tigers. It’s something Hill could certainly do for Auburn if asked to do so.
Also, I’ve seen the left-handed Hill throw a football with relative ease about 40 yards on the run and hit a teammate in stride at a high school practice. Maybe he could make it six?
Most likely to win a non-football state title: 3-star OL Kameron Stutts
I guess this one is sort of a cop-out because, well, he’s not just the most likely to do it. He’s actually done it.
Kameron Stutts won a state championship last fall in the shot put, setting a personal best on the grandest of stages. Stutts is a big, strong man who will end up being a force on the offensive line for the Tigers. His ability to pull off something like that in the shot put shouldn’t come as a huge surprise.
Now the test will be whether Stutts can win another. He has another chance in the shot put, but he’s also an impressive discus thrower, as well. Maybe he could secure a couple more non-football state titles to flaunt his strength and agility.
Most likely to win the Heisman: 4-star running back Asa Martin
The Heisman Trophy has become something of a quarterback award, but it appears Penn State’s Saquon Barkley and Stanford’s Bryce Love are working to change that this season.
If you look at Asa Martin’s high school stats, he certainly puts up gaudy enough numbers that — if it carries over to college — will make it easy to put him in the discussion. Martin has rushed for more than 1,200 yards with the regular season still ongoing, and he hasn’t even played in the second half or fourth quarter in most of his games.
Martin is playing at the highest level of his life, and Auburn couldn’t be happier about that.
If he continues the success and work ethic, he could fit right into Auburn’s run-first offense and become a Heisman hopeful one day.
Best nickname: 3-star RB Shaun Shivers
Quindarious “Smoke” Monday is up there, but he already nailed down the best name.
Shaun Shivers delivers the best nickname. His friends, coaches, mom and teammates call him “Worm.”
Well, it’s just what you would expect. At 5-foot-7 and 160 pounds, Shivers isn’t an easy guy to get your hands on. He wiggles in and out of some of the most unlikely of scenarios, just (I guess) like a worm would do.
Most likely to be POTUS one day: 3-star WR Shedrick Jackson
Shedrick Jackson is a special 18-year-old. For starters, I don’t feel like he’s an 18-year-old when I talk to him. His responses are always thoughtful and meaningful. His ability to deal with the press would surely make him a stronger presidential candidate than some.
On top of that, Jackson is a leader like few others. He’s assumed a leadership role as far as recruiting goes in this cycle, and he’s done a great job at it on game days.
Also, I interviewed Jackson after a Hoover High loss earlier this year, which is never fun for a recruit to do. But he did it as we walked toward the locker room. Every step of the way, he stopped to hug a different teammate and tell them that their work had just begun. That’s leadership at its finest.
That’s not to mention the Bo Jackson name, which would likely have enough clout to make a run.
To Shedrick, if you’re reading this: Still looking for a VP candidate? I’m your guy.
Most important recruiter: 3-star OL Jalil Irvin
There are several recruits who will have important roles down the stretch. Joey Gatewood, Shaun Shivers, Asa Martin and Kameron Stutts, in particular, have already flaunted their recruiting skills.
But Irvin is No. 1 going forward based on team need.
Two of the biggest targets remaining on Auburn’s board are offensive linemen Dylan Wonnum and Trey Hill. Both of those prospects have said that it’s Irvin who has recruited them hardest among Auburn commits.
Irvin will need to keep up that trend down the stretch because the Tigers need additions on the offensive line. Wonnum and Hill are, by far, the best options remaining.
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