Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Auburn Tigers football recruiting notebook with Auburn recruiting beat writer Benjamin Wolk. It’s Friday, and we analyze Auburn’s perceived advantage for Bo Nix. Plus, why did I put in a Crystal Ball prediction for Seth Williams?
Is Auburn the favorite for Bo Nix?
In the Class of 2019, Auburn sees Bo Nix as its centerpiece target.
The Auburn legacy from Pinson Valley (Ala.), the son of undefeated 1993 signal caller Patrick Nix, will be the cornerstone target for several of the top programs in the nation. Nix released his list of top-8 schools Thursday night, which included Auburn, Clemson, Ohio State, Florida State, Alabama, Georgia, Florida and LSU.
Whether it’s valid or not, Nix will be most closely linked to Auburn. His father is one of the more beloved quarterbacks in program history, and Nix might turn out to be the best quarterback in the entire class. He’s already ranked the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in 2019, but the best is yet to come, in my opinion.
Nix dominated the offseason. He was named quarterback MVP of The Opening regional in Atlanta, an event that included Ohio State’s 2018 quarterback commit Emory Jones. Nix shined during camp sessions with Auburn coaches, and his Pinson Valley 7-on-7 squad won the tournament the Tigers hosted.
There is no question Nix is priority No. 1 for Auburn in the 2019 class.
“You can tell how hard they’re recruiting me, how much they want me,” Nix told SEC Country earlier this summer.
Nix is the best uncommitted quarterback available in the 2019 class. When his junior and senior seasons are complete, I have little doubt he’ll be the top overall quarterback in the class. It isn’t the most talented quarterback class in recent memory, but Nix has all the tools to sit atop it.
“As far as a player, he’s farther along than I was at this time. I think most players are now than when I was coming out,” Nix’s father, Patrick, said earlier this summer. “He’s said it a couple times. If he can be the best quarterback in the house when it’s all said and done, he’s going to be pretty good.”
Despite the 12-out-of-12 Crystal Ball projections in Auburn’s favor, Nix to the Plains isn’t a guarantee.
I’d call the Tigers the favorite, but not a shoo-in. If Auburn’s offense excels under Chip Lindsey, it’ll probably shift that bar a little bit. But Nix isn’t in a rush to decide. He wants to get on board soon enough to build a class around him, but he wants to enjoy the recruiting process and be diligent about it.
Another factor that could persuade Nix’s decision would be the rest of the Tigers’ quarterback recruiting in 2018. Auburn has created depth in short order. Jarrett Stidham and Sean White both have multiple years of eligibility remaining. Malik Willis has shined in spring and fall practices and, according to all reports, has the makings of an Auburn superstar.
Meanwhile, Joey Gatewood is already set to come in. If Auburn wins the Justin Fields sweepstakes, as much as the Tigers would still want to add Nix, Fields is a can’t-miss, program-changing prospect.
That’s not to say that depth would push Nix elsewhere, but a program such as Florida State could benefit from Auburn’s recent quarterback success on the recruiting trail.
“A lot of them are like, ‘Do we really have a chance?’ My thing is, if you don’t offer, I can assure you that you don’t have a chance. If you do, I don’t know. But if you don’t, then you don’t have a chance because everyone else has,” Patrick Nix said.
Explaining my Seth Williams prediction
You’ll notice a curious Crystal Ball pick from Thursday. Well, that is if you missed my most recent 2018 class projection.
With nine predictions for Alabama, I placed the first Williams-to-Auburn prediction, falling in line with my most recent projection. My projection came prior to Williams’ most recent set of visits to Auburn and Tuscaloosa, and my belief Williams lands in Auburn’s class has grown stronger, though there will be a few hurdles for the Tigers.
There was a point in Williams’ recruitment when he was ready to commit to Florida State, but he backed off. The Seminoles now have three wide receivers, and Williams didn’t mention them when we spoke two weeks ago as a team recruiting him heavily
The obvious obstacle continues to be Alabama.
Williams, a Tuscaloosa product, said at the Tigers’ cookout that Alabama, Auburn and Ole Miss are the three programs recruiting him the hardest. With Ole Miss’ recent pitfalls, this has the feel of an Auburn-Alabama competition.
But the Crimson Tide have cast a much wider net at wide receiver than Auburn, which should work to the Tigers’ advantage.
Alabama has a commitment from Xavier Williams (high school teammate of Shaun Shivers), and the Crimson Tide snagged another wide receiver option in the form of Slade Bolden who committed to Alabama over TCU on Thursday. The Crimson Tide are also in the mix for guys like Justyn Ross, Jaylen Waddle, Justin Watkins and Kearis Jackson.
Aside from Ross, as strange as it may sound, Auburn fans may be rooting for Alabama to land its receiver targets. As spots fill up, Williams is more likely to land in Auburn’s class.
My take: Williams has the best hands in the state of Alabama. He catches everything that comes his way. The Auburn staff loves him, and why wouldn’t they? He’s tall. He’s strong. He’s fast. And he can jump. He’s the total package. I’m not sure why Alabama seems to be prioritizing other wide receivers, but to me, Williams brings as much ability and upside as Ross.
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