Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Auburn football recruiting notebook with Auburn recruiting beat writer Benjamin Wolk. In this edition, we speak with a 2019 prospect who already has familiarity with Auburn. Also, a top linebacker target stayed overnight.
Brother of former target makes second visit
AUBURN, Ala. —Technically, it was Mark Richards’ second Auburn visit.
The 2019 athlete’s first trip came Nov. 27, 2015, when he joined his brother Ahmmon Richards — now a standout wide receiver at Miami — on his Auburn official visit. Nearly two years later, it’s time for the younger Richards to focus on his recruitment.
He visited Auburn with his mother Thursday afternoon. The school that came in second place for his brother made a major impression on him.
“That’s really why I came back because I wanted to see what the coaches had to tell me personally. They were recruiting my brother. They weren’t recruiting me. So I wanted to really give them a chance and see what they had to say,” Richards said. “I kinda knew what I was going to see, but I came back to see what the coaching staff had to tell me, kinda just experience the area.”
Richards’ position is unclear.
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound prospect from West Palm Beach, Fla., plays offense and defense in high school. He was greeted for his visit by Auburn defensive backs coach Greg Brown, so that may give an idea of how the Tigers project him. But Richards spoke with Brown and briefly with offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey and coach Gus Malzahn.
“He left [my position] open for me. He wanted to see where I felt most comfortable. I talked to coach and he said really where my heart is, that’s where I can come play,” Richards said. “I’m not really sure on that one. I can answer that my senior year.”
Returning to Auburn gave Richards an opportunity to reminisce on his brother’s recruitment. In the younger Richards’ mind, Auburn finished second to Miami. Because of that, many people at Wellington (Fla.) expect Richards to follow a similar path to his brother.
He isn’t ruling that out, but he wants to make sure to see everything before making a decision.
“A lot of kids at my school think I’m going to go there. But really, my recruitment is open. Every school has an opportunity. I don’t care what record, what ranking,” Richards said.
So far, the 4-star athlete has offers from Miami, Auburn, Georgia, Louisville, Florida and Ohio State. He took visits to Auburn and Georgia this week and didn’t hesitate when asked whether he’ll attend any games at Jordan-Hare Stadium this fall: “Of course. Definitely,” he said.
He plans to be back for the Iron Bowl, but it’s possible Richards comes to multiple games this fall.
“It’s beautiful. It’s really nice here. It’s peaceful. I talked to the coaching staff. They told me really good things about what I wanted to know,” Richards said. “I just want to see them be successful really. Success is everything. Once again, it was really what I expected, the atmosphere around the place. It was really nice here.”
Top linebacker target stays at Auburn overnight
The No. 1 outside linebacker in the nation visited Auburn yet again Thursday. He turned the trip into an overnight visit.
JJ Peterson hasn’t hidden his love for Alabama. But on the eve of the Crimson Tide cookout, the 4-star prospect from Colquitt County (Ga.) took a visit to the Plains and elected to spend the night. As a result, SEC County didn’t have the opportunity to speak with him about his visit, but the fact he stayed overnight has to be a positive sign for the Tigers.
Peterson spent most of his visit with Auburn linebackers coach Travis Williams. In the past, Peterson has said his relationship with Williams is stronger than with any other coach in the nation. That will be Auburn’s big pull.
Peterson was joined on the visit by his girlfriend, his child and the wife of his high school coach, Rush Propst.