Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Auburn Tigers football recruiting notebook with Auburn recruiting beat writer Benjamin Wolk. It’s Tuesday and SEC Country caught up with two 5-star prospects who know what it means to match up with Anthony Schwartz better than anybody.
5-star DBs review WR teammate committed to Auburn
The American Heritage High School football team in Plantation, Fla., has the makings of a Power 5 squad.
It cruised to a state championship in Florida this season. Many of its former players excel at the college level, including the College Football Playoff. The current team has multiple players going to the Division-I level.
Most interesting to Auburn fans: Anthony Schwartz.
RELATED: 2018 Auburn recruiting big board
The 4-star wide receiver committed to the Tigers on Jan. 4. He’s known for his 10.15-second 100-meter track speed. But if people want to keep questioning whether Schwartz is just a track guy versus a football guy, two of his American Heritage teammates know the answer.
American Heritage has two 5-star defensive backs — Tyson Campbell and Patrick Surtain Jr. — who stood out among the rest at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl last week. Schwartz has matched up regularly with Campbell and Surtain in practices in the last year.
Sure, when Surtain thinks of Schwartz, the first thing he’s conscious of is “that speed,” but he knows how dangerous Schwartz can be in other ways.
“They’re not just getting a speedster; they’re getting a competitor,” Surtain Jr. said. “They’re really getting a good one.”
Campbell, as teammates do, joked at the end of an interview that, of course, he’d win his reps against Schwartz in practice. But his response to the prior question shows how American Heritage uses an iron-sharpens-iron approach with its receivers and cornerbacks.
Schwartz and Campbell had their fair share of head-to-head matchups.
“In practice, we go at it, make each other better better,” Campbell said. “He improves my speed, and I improve his speed. He’s smart, so he makes me improve my patience. We just get each other better each and every time.”
Campbell has considered an Auburn official visit after late-season communications with tight ends coach Larry Porter. Schwartz is already doing his part to encourage that decision. That’s a long shot at this point, but Campbell’s talent is well worth the attempt.
Either way, Campbell knows Auburn is already winning a recruiting battle with a wide receiver steal in Schwartz.
“They’re getting a smart receiver that can pretty much do everything. He can run routes well. He can block. He’s really just an overall team player. He’s going to excel in everything — on the field, in class and in track, as well,” Campbell said. “They’re getting an all-around player.”
Speaking of defensive backs…
For Auburn, I expect this to be one of the more fascinating positions to follow this next month.
There the elite long shots, such as Campbell above, or Kelvin Joseph, who recently committed to LSU. There are other high-caliber 4-stars who could emerge and take official visits such as Olaijah Griffin. And then there are the in-state prospects who seem to have made calculated de-commitment decisions with Auburn specifically in mind.
Two in that last category will head to Auburn for official visits this weekend.
Park Crossing (Ala.) athlete Cam Taylor will be on an official visit, as will former South Alabama commit Roger McCreary. Auburn continues to monitor and evaluate both. How many defensive backs Auburn attempts to take and what effect all of that will have on the commitment status of Kolbi Fuqua is unclear.
But Taylor and McCreary are high on the interest list for Auburn if the elite-of-the-elite targets go elsewhere.
They won’t be the last.
CD Daniels qualifies, and he’s expected to take an official visit later this month. All of this in-state evaluation adds intrigue as junior college options appear to have dwindled. As Keith Niebuhr of 247Sports first reported, JUCO corner Benjie Franklin won’t officially visit anymore. Another junior college corner who had been in contact with Auburn told SEC Country last month that the Tigers were more likely to go the high school route than the junior college route.
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