Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Auburn football recruiting notebook with Auburn recruiting beat writer Benjamin Wolk. In this edition, we catch up with 4-star running back Dameon Pierce who was formerly committed to Alabama, offer some thoughts on Jamien Sherwood and look at the most likely players to commit this summer.
Dameon Pierce calls Auburn ‘home away from home’
For the second time since de-committing from Alabama, Dameon Pierce visited Auburn.
The 4-star running back from Bainbridge (Ga.) attended the Auburn cookout along with two dozen other top Auburn targets. Pierce arrived on the Plains fresh off a Friday Night Lights visit to Florida. Those two programs — and perhaps LSU — will battle it out for Pierce.
Auburn brings a different environment than most, he says.
“As soon as you walk in, you’ve got someone greeting you at the car basically. You can’t beat that. It feels like you’re already at home. It’s a home away from home basically. Anybody would be glad to be here,” Pierce said. “What you see is what you get from Auburn. I love it. I love [running backs] coach [Tim] Horton. That’s my main guy right there. He’s a great coach, and I love to be around him.”
Perhaps the biggest movement for Pierce last weekend wasn’t with the prospect himself, but his mother’s reaction to the visit. Pierce came with his mother and stepfather, which was big news considering his mother had yet to take a college visit outside the state of Georgia.
Pierce laughed and shook his head when asked about his mother’s opinion of the Tigers.
“Man, don’t get me started with her. She loved it. This is her first time actually coming. She really don’t travel. This is her first time leaving Georgia to come out here and experience,” Pierce said. “To have the time she had, it really impacts me to see my mom have fun outside the state of Georgia.”
Auburn will have to work for it, however.
Pierce doesn’t plan on making a decision until after his football season, though he expects to be in Auburn for at least one game — the Iron Bowl vs. the team he was formerly committed to.
He’s still assessing whether he can enroll early. If he does, his decision could come anytime after his high school season concludes. If he doesn’t enroll early, it’s possible he waits all the way until National Signing Day on Feb. 7, but Pierce maintains his timeline is flexible for now (as long as it’s after his football season).
Auburn and Florida are the most likely landing spots. He likes Georgia, but the Bulldogs have already landed No. 1 running back Zamir White and are in the sweepstakes for No. 3 running back James Cook. That would make Pierce the likely odd-man out. LSU will also work to score a visit.
Pierce said those four programs will most likely be his official visits after the season.
“It’s really fluctuating right now between Auburn, Florida and Georgia right now,” he said.
Auburn hopes to add at least one more feature-potential running back in the 2018 class. The Tigers’ two top targets for that right now are 4-star Asa Martin and Pierce. Martin will announce his decision on Aug. 24 between Auburn, Alabama, Florida and Clemson.
Pierce understands some of these programs may only be in the hunt for one. That won’t alter his decision timeline.
“If a running back commits and a school is only going to take one, you can’t take it away from a school not letting me come. I just have to choose a different school,” Pierce said. “I’m really taking my time. I’m taking it all in and having fun more than anything.”
My thoughts on Jamien Sherwood
In some cases, it makes more sense to look at the programs who offered rather than the recruiting rankings.
Safety Jamien Sherwood from Jenson Beach, Fla., is a perfect example. Here are the Power 5 programs who have offered Auburn’s most recent commit.
- Florida State
- Mississippi State
- N.C. State
- North Carolina
- Ole Miss
- Penn State
That’s an impressive offer sheet, one that probably warrants more than a 3-star rating. He is a 4-star prospect on Rivals.com, and I’d expect to see a ratings boost throughout the fall on all the other sites, as well.
Sherwood is a 6-foot-2, 200-pound athlete who could pass as a 4-star wide receiver if you just watched him play and never knew he was a defensive back. He returned FOUR punts for touchdowns last season, which gives you an idea of his special playmaking ability with the ball in his hands.
This is a guy who defensive backs coach Greg Brown sought out early on in the process. Brown’s evaluations are worth trusting.
Commitments by start of the season?
After securing four commitments — three in the 2018 class — since Friday, Auburn fans are starting to get a little bit greedy with all the recruiting momentum.
So it begs the question, “Who’s next?”
I asked a few commits and received some interesting answers (some that didn’t make my list below). But the general consensus was they expect Auburn’s class to get to at least 15 commits by the start of the season.
Here are the 7 prospects who I think are most likely to join the class by the start of the football season.