AUBURN, Ala. — As far as first impressions go, Auburn couldn’t have left a much better one on Jashawn Sheffield.
The 4-star athlete from Frederica Academy (Ga.) ranks as the nation’s No. 101 overall prospects. He’s been heavily recruited throughout his process by Tennessee, South Carolina, Miami and Florida State. Sheffield’s two-day, mid-week visit with high school teammate Jaylin Simpson (more on Simpson shortly) gave him his first on-campus look into the Auburn program.
By the time he left, the Tigers had made their case.
“Right now, visiting Auburn, seeing this, it’s totally different than any other college I’ve ever been. Auburn is No. 1. Just talking to the coaches, 1-on-1 time with them, it wasn’t football all the time. They were talking about after college,” Sheffield said. “It’s great. I love the coaches. I got to spend 1-on-1 time with them. I got to meet the players, see how the coaches coach. They coach their players up very well. They work hard here.”
Sheffield has played multiple positions for his high school — wide receiver, running back, returner and defensive back.
Auburn has recruited him at two positions, and he’s open to either.
Sheffield has been in contact with wide receivers coach Kodi Burns who said the Tigers would “get (him) the ball a lot.” But he’s developed a strong relationship with Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele who took over the coastal Georgia territory after former offensive line coach Herb Hand’s departure in January.
The relationship with Steele is by design. Auburn likes Sheffield at safety, as well. Sheffield appreciates the message on that front, too.
“Then they like me at safety. They think I could make a lot of money at safety,” Sheffield said. “I really don’t care, as long as I get to play football. I’d play either one.”
Sheffield hasn’t planned a return trip to the Plains, but one will take place.
He was close to making a college decision last fall, but backed off amid a few coaching changes. Now he plans to take his time with his commitment — though he admits this week’s Auburn pitch will be tough to top — likely waiting until after his senior season to finalize a decision.
His first trip to Auburn changed his whole perspective.
“I listen to all coaches, but they were telling me some honest stuff like, ‘Every coach is going to tell you something you want to hear, but I’m not here to do that. This is a business. I want you here very badly. We’ll worry about you after football.’ I know there’s a lot of coaches that say that, but they’re sincere. You can tell it’s serious here,” Sheffield said. “The atmosphere is just totally different than any place I’ve ever been.”