Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Auburn Tigers football recruiting notebook with Auburn recruiting beat writer Benjamin Wolk. It’s Wednesday, and we look at the upcoming decisions for Matthew Hill, Azeez Ojulari and Kearis Jackson.
Auburn WR target sets announcement time frame
SNELLVILLE, Ga. — It has been relatively quiet for Matthew Hill since he released his top 5 of Alabama, Auburn, Florida, LSU and South Carolina.
The 4-star wide receiver from Brookwood High (Ga.) did that in May. His last three months haven’t been loaded with visits to schools, trying to find his best fit and destination. Instead, Hill has spent most of his time communicating with college coaches in an attempt to remove a few of his top schools to make the process easier.
He’s managed to whittle it down to three: Alabama, Auburn and South Carolina.
“I only got official offers from those three, so those are my top 3 after my top 5,” Hill told SEC Country. “So those are the only three schools I’m really considering right now.”
Those are the three schools I’ve been writing about most over the last couple weeks as Hill’s recruitment has dragged out longer than anticipated, but he confirmed it.
Hill went to Alabama for a few days over spring break. He went to Auburn for Big Cat Weekend. He was at South Carolina most recently with his head coach in high school who happens to be a Gamecocks alumnus.
He’s closing in on a final decision.
“Within the next two or three weeks, maybe even before then,” Hill said.
Auburn, the school Hill grew up supporting, has seemed like the favorite to land Hill (100 percent of Crystal Ball picks). But the wait has left people scratching their heads. Alabama and South Carolina have stayed in the picture, which — based on responses from my articles and podcast appearances — has Auburn fans fretting a bit.
Why the wait? Due diligence, Hill says.
“I’m basically just making sure I’m not making the wrong decision,” Hill said. “It’s me sitting down with my family and talking to them about it. I want to make sure this is the right choice because it’s a life thing. You’re going to get a degree from the school, so you need to take your time with it. Yes, football is involved, but I wanted to make sure [about] the coaches, academics, the atmosphere.”
Here is what Hill has to say about the other two programs competing with Auburn.
- Alabama: “Just the coaching staff. It’s Nick Saban. He’s only the greatest coach in history. Other than that, it’s really all the coaches. I know I’m going to get developed. Hopefully I make it to the next level in the NFL, and I’d already be developed and trained to get in as a rookie and play. The facilities are really nice. What they were telling me is they spend more money on their players facilities-wise than every other program in the country. They know how to, of course, keep their players healthy and entertained.”
- South Carolina: “I like the coaching staff and atmosphere. I went there most recently with my coach who went to South Carolina. I just have a strong connection with a lot of the staff and like the environment around the school.”
He draws many similarities between his final three choices.
“At all three schools, there’s nothing individually that stands out about any of the three schools because they’re all similar in their own different ways. But when I make this decision, it’s basically going to be off the heart and mind from really thinking about it,” Hill said. “Out of my top three schools, I know for a fact that I can’t go wrong.”
Decisions upcoming for Auburn targets
The last 20 days of the month will be filled with commitments all over the country to all sorts of schools. Auburn hopes to be part of that. Official commitment dates haven’t been set for everyone, so some could pop up and others could be scheduled in the near future.
But there are two Auburn targets who have set dates to announce.
Azeez Ojulari and Kearis Jackson will go public on Aug. 17 and Aug. 19, respectively. Combined, all 26 predictions favor Georgia (including mine), so Auburn doesn’t appear to be in the driver’s seat for either, but the Tigers are in play.
Ojulari is the No. 6 weakside defensive end in the nation, according to the 247Sports composite. He spoke with DawgNation’s Jeff Sentell about his top schools, and Sentell wrote Ojulari perked up when he talked about two programs — Georgia and Florida.
But Sentell also wrote an interesting bit about Auburn, courtesy of Ojulari.
“Just an opportunity to play at Auburn and be a part of that family culture,” Ojulari told Sentell. “My dad loves Auburn, too. When we went there, he was like, ‘Auburn, Auburn and Auburn.’ He loves Auburn. That’s dad’s vote right there.”
Parental opinion doesn’t always dictate decision, but Auburn’s last saving grace looks to be Ojulari’s father. You can read the interview about his top schools and plans at DawgNation.
As for Jackson, he’s said for a while his final two were Auburn and Georgia. But Jackson added a third team late, Alabama. So when Jackson announces at his school on Aug. 19, expect to see a Crimson Tide hat on the table along with the Bulldogs and Tigers.
In fact, based on what I’ve been told, Auburn may have fallen to a distant third for Jackson. It’s a commitment worth tracking either way.
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