AUBURN, Ala. — Coming into the weekend, John Samuel Shenker had a good idea of where he would commit.
Auburn extended the offer early in the week, just a few weeks after an offer from Wake Forest began to set off his recruitment. Once he received the offer, Shenker decided immediately that an official visit was in order — and that an eventual commitment was likely.
He arrived on campus Friday, rekindled his love for Auburn and, on Sunday, told Gus Malzahn he wanted to commit. The 3-star tight end from Colquitt County (Ga.) became Auburn’s 20th commitment.
“On Friday, before I came here, I thought this was the place for me. I just want to make sure. It’s been a while since I thought about Auburn. It’s a fast process, but I knew this was the place for me,” Shenker said. “This morning, I told Malzahn I wanted to be a Tiger. It was a great experience…He was pumped.”
This isn’t Shenker’s first commitment to Auburn, but it is his first one to the Tigers as a football player. He committed to Auburn during his sophomore year of high school, but decided as a junior that football was the career path he wanted to take.
In a twist of fate, Auburn’s offer last week gave Shenker the idea — for the first time — that playing on the Plains as a student-athlete was a legitimate possibility. He will just do it on the gridiron instead of the baseball diamond.
“I’ve always loved it. Committed for baseball, changing my love to football, it didn’t change how I felt about the campus and the school,” Shenker said.
Shenker’s visit gave him clarity on the offense to expect under Chip Lindsey.
The new Auburn offensive coordinator coached under Shenker’s high school coach Rush Propst when the two were at Hoover High (Ala.). That familiarity with Propst’s offense assured Shenker that the Tigers were the perfect landing spot.
Shenker said LIindsey told him to expect mostly one running back and one tight end personnel, which means the tight ends will be called upon to serve in pass-catching and H-back roles.
That’s what Shenker wants.
“We’ll use the same tight end split out, go down, use the H-back, do all three things at one time. That’s what I did all my high school career,” Shenker said. “It played so much (of a role). Coach Lindsey coached with coach Propst for a long time in his high school career. They have the same mentality and will use me the same way.”
Spencer’s commitment wrapped up a wild week that included an unexpected offer, an official visit and a commitment. He became the 20th commitment in Auburn’s 2017 recruitment class — the second tight end, joining early enrollee Salvatore Cannella.
“It was crazy. It was rushed, but it was great. I got a few offers a few weeks ago that kinda boosted to this offer,” Shenker said. “Definitely a little crazy, but this was the place to be.”