Son of NFL great Jaycee Horn’s first recruiting experience at Auburn was better than anticipated
Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Auburn football recruiting notebook with Auburn recruiting beat writer Benjamin Wolk. Today, we talk with three visitors from the weekend — cornerback Jaycee Horn, offensive line commit Kameron Stutts and running back Harold Joiner.
Rising DB impressed by Auburn, puts Tigers among top
Coming into his A-Day visit, Jaycee Horn didn’t know what to expect from Auburn.
He’d been to the Plains only once before — last summer for a camp, and not as a recruit. Now that Horn’s recruitment has fully blown up, he was one of the top recruiting targets on campus for a busy spring game.
If he had any uncertainties about the Tigers coming into the weekend, they were washed away by the visit. In fact, Horn released a top 7 on Sunday night — something he foreshadowed Saturday — that included Auburn, Alabama, Tennessee, Wake Forest, South Carolina, Ole Miss and Ohio State.
Auburn impressed Horn, the son of former four-time NFL Pro Bowl receiver Joe Horn.
“It was better than I thought. I didn’t expect the campus to be this nice. It was real nice. The dorms were some of the best I’ve seen, the player lounge. So the next time I’m here, I’m going to try to get around some of the players and connect with them some,” Horn said. “I’ll definitely be back. They’re recruiting me the hardest, or one of the hardest.”
During the spring game, Horn focused in on Carlton Davis, who he said reminds him of himself. Horn is a long-armed cornerback like Davis. The 6-foot-1, 175-pound prospect is one of the fastest rising prospects in the nation. Since coming into 2017 without many offers, Horn has picked up 37 new offers in a three-month span.
Auburn’s came on March 1.
Horn’s return to Auburn allowed him to get his first meeting with defensive backs coach Greg Brown.
“His resume speaks for itself. The NFL is the highest level of competition, so I can learn some things from him,” Horn said. “I just tried to take some of the drills I seen them doing pregame and take them back home to work on. I was impressed, the way coach Brown coached up his DBs, and I got a chance to meet with him. I was impressed with the campus and stuff.”
Brown was the New Orleans Saints’ secondary coach for four years (2002-05) when the elder Horn was on the team. That past relationship made for some fun, interesting conversations in Brown’s office on Saturday.
“Yeah, he coached on the Saints when my dad was there. My dad remembers him. We were watching some old film with my dad going 1-on-1,” Horn said. “He was coaching DBs. … I didn’t get a chance to talk with my dad too much (about Brown). I just texted him and told him I was in his office and asked, ‘Do you remember him?’ He was like yeah, and I was going to call him to talk more.”
Impressed by step one with Auburn, Horn is eager to see what the post-visit interactions are like.
“I’m just trying to visit schools to see how it is on campus before I narrow it down all the way. After this visit, they sit in a pretty good spot after seeing how they talk to me,” Horn said. “You know, relationships are a pretty big thing, so over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to see how we stay in contact with each other.”
OL commit explains timing of his decision
Just before kickoff Saturday, Kameron Stutts made it official.
He hinted during his March visit that a commitment — likely to Auburn — was imminent. When he started his trek to Auburn for A-Day, he alerted Gus Malzahn and Herb Hand that he felt on the verge of an announcement.
“We talked about it in the car. I told coach Malzahn and coach Hand on the way up here. I talked to coach Malzahn when I got here. I just let him know,” Malzahn said. “They were just really excited about it. They were really excited.”
The 6-foot-5, 320-pound Stutts had other schools he felt highly about, including Mississippi State, Virginia Tech, Ole Miss and Missouri. But when it came down to it, the offensive lineman from Brooks High School (Ala.) always had a different feeling about Auburn.
When that sensation lingered following the March junior day, Stutts knew there was no sense in waiting.
“The first time I came up here, I said you just sort of know when it’s the right place. Every time I come up here, it’s just the right people, the right place. The coaches really show me love. I just really appreciate it. I just felt it,” Stutts said. “When you go somewhere, you either get a good or a bad feeling. If that feeling stays with you, you know it’s a special place. If it stays with you after, then you know that’s probably where you belong. Whenever I came here, it always felt that way.”
What Harold Joiner needs to see from Auburn
Top running back target Harold Joiner’s favorites haven’t changed.
Auburn and LSU continue to lead the pack. Ole Miss is the program closest to cracking that top group. That news might be somewhat surprising to some with Joiner fresh off an Alabama offer, but Joiner insists nothing has changed.
“No, it didn’t,” Joiner said.
The 6-foot-3 running back returned to Auburn for the A-Day game on Saturday.
Emphasizing the term “running back” is majorly important for Joiner, which is why Auburn and LSU sit atop his list. Many programs haven’t explicitly told Joiner they want him in the backfield. LSU, especially, has been the most clear on that subject, which is why the Bayou Bengals might hold a slight advantage right now.
But with Auburn and LSU emphasizing a running back role, that helps each school’s chances.
“It puts them up there. It helps me out. I like them more that way. … LSU is making it more clear, but Auburn is telling me that also. LSU is telling me I have a great chance to start my freshman year. They say I’ll fit in perfect with their offense,” Joiner said. “Malzahn was just telling me I was a key guy for them. My primary position will be running back, that’s what he told me. He said I would get out to wideout some.”
Joiner’s big problem (and it’s not really a problem at all): He looks like he can do everything.
At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, he looks like he could be an elite running back, wide receiver, tight end, safety or linebacker. That high-level athleticism has some programs curious about how they could use Joiner in a multi-purpose way.
But Joiner wants stability. He also wants a chance to see the field early.
“I want a family team. I need to see a little bit of talking about playing time in there. And great coaches ready to compete for a championship,” Joiner said. “Coach (Tim) Horton said I could play my freshman year. … I feel like that’s really important.”
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