Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Auburn football recruiting notebook with Auburn recruiting beat writer Benjamin Wolk. Today, we look at a defensive end target who is getting heavy interest from multiple SEC rival, as well as give updates from Auburn’s top 2017 signees who were on campus for A-Day.
On-the-rise DE gem high on Auburn
AUBURN, Ala. — The Caleb Tannor sweepstakes look like it’s shaping up to be an old-fashioned SEC recruiting battle.
A quick look at Tannor’s rankings doesn’t portray the full story, at least if you look at the way some of the SEC’s top programs are recruiting him. The 6-foot-3, 223-pound defensive end from Miller Grove (Ga.) is listed as the No. 24 strong-side defensive end and No. 617 overall prospect in the 2018 class, according to the 247Sports composite rankings.
That doesn’t do Tannor justice.
Auburn, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee have offered him since March 18. The first three programs in that group have received visits from Tannor since that time. He plans to visit Tennessee on Thursday.
But something separates Auburn from that group: He has visited the Plains twice in that span.
“I like it. I like it a lot. … It’s going to be a hard decision,” Tannor said.
Tannor, despite his humble ranking, has become a high priority for all.
Auburn wanted him on campus for its spring game, and the Tigers staff kept him around until the late evening before Tannor finally left his unofficial visit. He hasn’t sifted through his future visit schedule too in-depth — he hopes a trip to Columbus, Ohio, for an offer is in store — just yet, but return visits to Tuscaloosa and Athens should be expected.
Tanner said a decision “could happen” before the start of his senior season, but he hasn’t ruled out an elongated recruitment.
Part of the reason for the wait: “I know others are going to come,” Tannor said.
Florida and LSU are the two, in particular, that he thinks could be landscape-changing offers. The Gators and the Tigers have communicated regularly, but he still hasn’t picked up offers from them. Tannor cited LSU specifically as a program he’s “always liked.”
Tannor hasn’t narrowed his options completely yet. A top-10 list is imminent, he said.
But the big three — Auburn, Alabama and Georgia — received the most of his talking-point attention.
Does that mean those three programs have an advantage so far?
“Yeah, you can say that,” Tannor said. “Auburn, UGA and Bama are coming real hard.”
If Auburn has an edge, it’s the same thing the Tigers have with every defensive line recruit: Rodney Garner.
Tannor paid special attention to Marlon Davidson and Paul James III during his last two scrimmage visits, including A-Day. He said conversations for him with Garner haven’t explicitly specified the Buck defensive end spot versus the strong-side position, but Tannor thinks he has the skill set to do both.
Garner’s message on playing time has been reassuring to Tannor.
“I like him. He says, if I come prepared to play, he’s going to play me as a freshman,” Tannor said. “So I’m just going to try to see what I can do if I come in here ready to play.”
Latest updates on 2017 signees
As much as A-Day was a time for Auburn’s 2018 and 2019 targets to take in Jordan-Hare Stadium, it also gave many members of the Tigers’ 2017 class to reunite on campus just a month shy of their arrival date. The non-early enrollee members of the 2017 cycle will, with a few exceptions, arrive on campus May 28.
From there, the life as a collegiate student-athlete begins.
The final moments of their high school careers are beginning to fade. Here are all the latest updates on every 2017 signee SEC Country spotted (and talked to) at the spring game.
- 5-star OL Calvin Ashley: Auburn’s highest-rated commitment has been on campus back-to-back weekends. Two weekends ago for a parents weekend event. Most recently for A-Day. He is back in school in Orlando, where he was originally from before transferring to St. John’s College in Washington, D.C.
- 4-star LB Tadarian Moultry: Moultry also has been on campus recently, joining Coynis Miller for his last two visits. Moultry continues to take a hands-off approach to Miller’s recruitment, but he’s eager to get on campus to throw his name in the hat among talented Auburn linebackers and potential Buck pass-rushing options.
- 4-star OL Austin Troxell: Some of the happiest news of the day came from the mammoth offensive tackle signee. He’s off crutches, out of a brace and fully cleared by doctors following another ACL tear that kept him out of his senior season at Madison Academy (Ala.). Troxell is running and will be fully capable of participating in strength and conditioning training once he starts May 28.
- 4-star WR Noah Igbinoghene: One of Auburn’s two wide receiver signees loved the new-look passing offense. He cited Jarrett Stidham and Malik Willis when talking post-game. Igbinoghene is eager to get on campus and start soaking in the offense because he feels like there will be many similarities between Auburn and his Hewitt-Trussville playbook. Speaking of Hewitt-Trussville, Igbinoghene has been in 2019 offensive lineman Pierce Quick’s ear about joining him in Auburn.
- 3-star DT Tyrone Truesdell: He didn’t say much, aside from how thrilled he was to be an Auburn Tiger after some uncertainty leading up to National Signing Day. The return to Jordan-Hare Stadium was his first chance to be on campus since signing his paperwork. Rodney Garner sees Truesdell as a run-stopping, gap-filling lineman.
- 3-star WR JaTarvious Whitlow: He’s been hitting the weights big-time this offseason. The wide receiver has bulked up to 215 — of good weight — and reminds me of Marquis McClain as a physically imposing wide receiver who could probably play safety or linebacker if defensive coaches asked him, too. He was Auburn’s big NSD surprise, and I think he’ll continue to shock and impress the Tigers’ fanbase.
- 3-star DT Alec Jackson: Jackson has been on campus more than any of the 2017 signees this spring, aside from the early enrollees, of course. He’s paid special attention to Rodney Garner’s coaching style and said, as hard-nosed of a coach Garner is, Jackson can’t wait to get on campus and start working under Auburn’s defensive line coach.
- 3-star safety Jordyn Peters: Peters spent much of his A-Day recruiting fellow north Alabama prospect Asa Martin. Peters and Martin played against each other last season in the annual Muscle Shoals-Austin matchup, so the two are very familiar with one another. Those two had a good time together throughout A-Day.
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