Since the last projection of Auburn’s 2018 recruiting class, a few variables have changed.
For starters, Shedrick Jackson and Quindarious Monday committed to Auburn (as accurately pegged in the projection), so you’ll notice asterisks next to their names to designate commits. Conversely, running back Tae Provens surprised with a commitment to LSU after Auburn’s communication died following a near commitment at Big Cat Weekend.
Auburn is up to No. 43 in the 247 composite team rankings, but the Tigers only have eight commits.
Below you’ll see my most recent projection. There are 24 commits in this version, which totals 271.25 composite points. That number would’ve been good for the No. 9 class in 2013, No. 9 in 2014, No. 11 in 2015, No. 11 in 2016 and No. 8 in 2017.
- 5-star Justin Fields, Harrison (Ga.): According to my sources, there is roughly a month until Fields closes in on his final college decision. Since his de-commitment from Penn State, he’s taken two known visits to two places — Auburn and Georgia. He will take his second to Alabama on Friday. Florida State and Florida are also in the mix, as is USC. However, when it comes to a decision, I expect Fields to fall back on his childhood favorite and follow in the footsteps of his mentor Cam Newton.
- 4-star commit Joey Gatewood*, Bartram Trail (Fla.): Regardless of Fields’ decision, Gatewood stays in this recruiting class. I’ll go one step further with my Gatewood projection: He’ll make plenty of noise in his own right as an Auburn quarterback during his Tigers tenure. Gatewood visited from Sunday to Monday and said he can’t wait to enroll early at Auburn.
Running backs (3)
- 4-star Dameon Pierce, Bainbridge (Ga.): Pierce is likely a National Signing Day decision, so some of his choice will come down to who is in the market for a running back at the end of the cycle. There is a chance that ends up being Auburn, especially if the Tigers take two multi-purpose guys like Harold Joiner and Shaun Shivers first.
4-star Harold Joiner, Mountain Brook (Ala.): Joiner remains a bit of a mystery, but he confirmed with SEC Country he plans to be at Auburn’s cookout Saturday. If the Tigers make a push, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Joiner commit to Auburn before his senior season starts. It would be a big-time get for Auburn. Joiner’s versatility will be a playmaking asset for anyone who gets him.
- 3-star Shaun Shivers*, Chaminade-Madonna (Fla.): Shivers returns for the cookout Saturday, and there’s no doubt he’ll be one of the lead recruiters. He’s been active in contacting other recruits throughout this cycle. Shivers is all Auburn.
Wide receivers (4)
- 4-star Justyn Ross, Central (Ala.): The top offensive player in Alabama is the top want for his entire top 5 of Auburn, Alabama, Clemson, Florida State and Florida. Ross has visited Auburn more than any school, and when it comes down to it, that’s what I expect to be the difference-maker, especially if the Tigers have a successful passing game in 2017.
- 4-star Matthew Hill, Brookwood (Ga.): It’s somewhat surprising Hill hasn’t pulled the trigger yet, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him commit at the cookout on Saturday. He’s seems like an Auburn lean for a long time, and that hasn’t changed despite his patience.
- 4-star Seth Williams, Paul W. Bryant (Ala.): Williams has kept a low profile over the last few months, but he will be at Auburn’s cookout Saturday. To my knowledge, he won’t be going to Alabama the day before. At last check, Williams said Auburn was recruiting him the hardest. He’s another decision that’s probably a long way off, but the visit this weekend raises some interest.
- 3-star Shedrick Jackson*, Hoover (Ala.): Jackson committed shortly after Auburn’s last recruiting event (Big Cat Weekend) and will return for the cookout Saturday in more of a recruiter’s role. He’s ready to carry on the family tradition, yet create his own name.
Tight end (1)
- 3-star Tyneil Hopper, Roswell (Ga.): This is one position that has been a big question mark. But Hopper’s name is the one that has surfaced throughout the entire process. Auburn will likely hold out hope that a Fields commitment could help with a Luke Ford or another top-tier tight end. But if the Tigers push for Hopper, I think they land him. Much like his high school classmate, Malik Willis, Hopper’s decision could come down to the wire, but ultimately his relationship with Willis and Larry Porter will likely help the Tigers prevail.
Offensive line (4)
- 4-star Dylan Wonnum, Tucker (Ga.): Wonnum’s decision to postpone his commitment has to be a positive sign for Auburn. South Carolina has been considered the favorite, due to family ties. But it’s clear Auburn is making him think. When that happens — and a decision timeline changes — it’s a telling sign.
- 4-star Tank Jenkins, Park Crossing (Ala.): It’s only a matter of time with Jenkins. He has indicated to me his decision could last longer than people think, but he also feels like he might be ready to close things down soon. If he chooses tomorrow or chooses on National Signing Day, his choice will be the Tigers.
- 3-star Jalil Irvin*, Stephenson (Ga.): Irvin will return for the Saturday cookout to serve his role as recruiter. Irvin has been the staple of the offensive line since shortly after his junior day visit to the Plains. Auburn hopes to add a few more pieces around him.
- 3-star Kameron Stutts*, Brooks (Ala.): Always a regular for big events, Stutts plans to be back Saturday to enjoy Auburn and help the coaching staff recruit fellow classmates. Expect Stutts to be one of the underrated surprises when this class is complete.
Defensive line (4)
- 4-star Coynis Miller, Jackson Olin (Ala.): Miller has one visit in between his final decision. The defensive tackle will travel to Gainesville, Fla., this weekend to visit the Gators instead of going to either Alabama or Auburn. I think Miller’s mind is made up. He wants to be a Tiger.
- 4-star Richard Jibunor, Athens Christian (Ga.): Jibunor could be another end-of-summer decision, especially if he surprises with a visit Saturday. Auburn and Tennessee have been the most consistent schools from start to finish, and ultimately his relationships with Travis Williams, Rodney Garner and Prince Tega Wanogho will help aid his Auburn pick.
- 4-star Daquan Newkirk*, Mississippi Gulf Coast: The most intriguing thing to follow with Newkirk is his role on the JUCO fields this fall. It’s been two years since anyone — Auburn coaches included — have been able to witness Newkirk’s ability on the gridiron. Assuming he returns to form, Auburn will be getting an immediate impact player.
- 3-star Andres Fox, Mobile Christian (Ala.): My certainty with my Fox-to-Auburn predictions has diminished some, but I expect to see Fox in the Tigers’ class in the end. He’ll visit Alabama this weekend rather than Auburn, so that’s something to track. But when decision time comes, prospects tend to revert back to their initial feelings. For Fox, that means Auburn.
- 4-star Zakoby McClain, Valdosta (Ga.): Place McClain on commit watch this weekend for the cookout visit. The last time McClain visited Auburn, it seemed like he was on the verge of a decision, but he stayed patient. This time around, McClain will likely be eager to jump on board.
- 4-star Michael Harris, Tucker (Ga.): Harris has been trending in the right direction for Auburn since he left his Ohio State visit without an offer. There were murmurs Auburn would have to battle it out with Georgia, but the Tigers seem to have an edge. Could Harris be on commit alert over the next couple of weeks? I’d say it’s a possibility.
Defensive backs (4)
- 4-star Quindarious Monday*, Carver (Ga.): This was a huge pickup for Auburn because of the safety insurance it brings, as well as momentum. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Monday take a few more visits to Clemson or Georgia, but based on his emotion post-visit, this seems like a commitment that will stick.
- 3-star Jamien Sherwood, Jensen Beach (Fla.): Auburn feels like it’s in excellent position with Sherwood, and the fact a prospect from 8 hours away is returning for a third time in as many months has to be a reassuring sign. Sherwood hasn’t hidden his affection for Auburn and its coaching staff. His mother has also been clear that she feels comfortable handing her son over to the Tigers’ coaches.
- 3-star JaKorey Hawkins, Lee-Montgomery (Ala.): Auburn’s plan at cornerback beyond Jalyn Armour-Davis and Kyler McMichael isn’t clear at this time. Hawkins hasn’t been in regular communication with Auburn, but he said he has decided to pass up visit opportunities to visit Penn State and Missouri this weekend to go to Auburn’s cookout with his parents. As he phrased it to me: Auburn came out to watch him practice this spring, so he should return the favor with his first visit to the Plains.
- 3-star Kolbi Fuqua*, Cordova (Ala.): Fuqua has the ability to play wide receiver, but there is a greater need at safety.