Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Auburn football recruiting notebook with Auburn recruiting beat writer Benjamin Wolk. Today, we look at Auburn linebacker coach Travis Williams’ relationship with rising linebacker star Channing Tindall. Also, we update on two visitors this weekend.
Star of Atlanta Opening has growing love for Auburn
BUFORD, Ga. — Just before the Nike Opening camp in Atlanta kicked off, Channing Tindall offered up a premonition.
“From last year, I really just want to improve personal-wise. I want to compete to try to be the best one out here, so I can try and go to the final,” Channing told SEC Country. “I don’t know a whole bunch of people out here yet, so I’ll have to see. I’ll stay humble.”
The 6-foot-2, 212-pound inside linebacker matched his talk by walking the walk. At the conclusion of the camp, Tindall was the star of the show. His SPARQ rating of 125.25 topped one of the most star-studded camps in recent memory. Tindall’s 4.19-second shuttle and 39.6-inch vert proved an uncanny athleticism to go along with his frame.
It earned him a well-deserved invite to the Opening finals later this year — just like he predicted minutes before the camp.
It’s that rare combination of speed, strength, IQ and ball skills that has some of the top programs in the nation hustling for Tindall’s commitment.
Tindall said Georgia, South Carolina and Florida are the three programs that stick out to him right now. He added North Carolina State in there as a school that is recruiting him as hard as any others. But when asked for a team he’s interested that he wants to find out a little more about before passing judgment, he had another answer.
Tindall has been on the Plains as recently as January for the Tigers’ first junior day. He liked that initial impression, but he wants to return — preferably for a practice or the spring game.
“It was amazing actually. Looking at the complex, everything they had to offer, the dorms, it was great.,” Tindall said. “I’m really looking forward to getting to practice to see how they try to coach. That’s the one thing I haven’t seen. That’s why I say they’re just in the mix, but if I see how they coach — and they do a great job of coaching — then I’ll have them up there on the top.”
Tindall plays for the Spring Valley Vikings in South Carolina.
If that rings a bell, it’s because another former Auburn linebacker attended that high school: Travis Williams.
That’s right, Auburn’s linebackers coach went to the same high school as Tindall, which was the primary conversation starter when Williams began recruiting Tindall roughly a year ago. Tindall knew who Travis Williams was well before the two met. After all, Tindall had been chasing Williams’ schools records since his varsity career started.
“I’m trying to beat his records at my school,” Tindall said. “He had 22 tackles in one game. I was close this year. I got to 20 tackles. I’m two away.”
The friendly rivalry has transitioned into a fatherly relationship.
Tindall is impressed by Williams, which is why he wants to get back to Auburn soon, preferably for a practice. He expects to be blown away by Williams’ on-field coaching style since he’s already amazed by the man Williams is off the field.
“We have a really good relationship. That’s why I want to get down there more. I’m trying to get down there for their spring game. His energy, he’s always hype. Every time I see him, he’s hype about everything. That’s what I love about him. He’s also just a father figure. I can talk to him outside of football. He really helps me keep my mind focused on the goal. That’s what I really like about him.”
Tindall is only ranked as a 3-star linebacker, but that figures to change after the performance he put on against the southeast’s best last weekend. Three-star prospects aren’t common participants at the Opening finals.
Tindall is listed as the No. 713 overall prospect in the nation. But his stock is rising — fast.
Two standout visitors set to attend Saturday scrimmage
One weekend sits between Auburn and its A-Day spring game.
The Tigers won’t settle on the recruiting trail in that time, however. Auburn will participate in its second spring scrimmage on Saturday in Jordan-Hare Stadium. Like last weekend, the Tigers will host some of their top targets inside the stadium for unofficial visits.
At least two key offensive targets will be there: Richard Gouraige and Tyneil Hopper.
Gouraige might be Auburn’s top offensive line target in the 2018 class. The 6-foot-5, 271-pound offensive tackle is ranked No. 6 at the position in the 2018 class. He’s listed as the 61st overall prospect in the nation, according to the 247Sports composite rankings. Florida, Clemson and North Carolina are the other schools considered to be heavily in the mix for Gouraige.
Auburn offered Gouraige last February.
Hopper will make his second visit to Auburn since Larry Porter took over as tight ends coach. He was the first prospect invited on campus by Porter when the new tight ends coach made the move from North Carolina to Auburn. Hopper attended Auburn on Porter’s first official day on the job. Hopper’s brother plays at North Carolina, which is where his relationship with Porter originally formed.
That’s not Hopper’s only connection to Auburn. He goes to Roswell High (Ga.), the same HS program as Auburn early enrollee QB Malik Willis. Willis and Hopper played together last season.
Hopper is ranked the No. 12 tight end in the nation.
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