Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Auburn football recruiting notebook with Auburn recruiting beat writer Benjamin Wolk. In this edition, we explain why some of Auburn’s top prospects didn’t crack the class projection. Also, we look at a few Thursday visitors.
Why certain Auburn targets missed the projection
I released the July version of my Class of 2018 projection Wednesday afternoon.
There weren’t many surprises and alterations from the June edition. But there were a few prospects who made me think. I expect July and August to be big recruiting months for the Tigers. When the summer ends, it’s a possibility to see Auburn with more than 15 commits on its list.
However, when going through the projection, there were a few targets who didn’t make the list despite serious consideration.
Here are the seven most likely to commit to Auburn despite not cracking my projection. Check out the latest on each of those prospects.
- 4-star DL Caleb Tannor, Miller Grove (Ga.): Tannor’s decision will come in the next two weeks. The defensive end from Georgia has cut it to two — Georgia and Auburn. Georgia is the perceived favorite, which is why other defensive linemen made my list over Tannor. But he’ll be at Auburn’s cookout Saturday, and it could be a final opportunity for the Tigers to convince Tannor to join the fold.
- 4-star RB Asa Martin, Austin (Ala.): With Alabama and Florida battling, it’s going to be a challenge for Martin to land in the Auburn class. It’s not out of the question, by any means, but Martin’s strongest relationship is with Florida’s running backs coach. It’s rare to see the No. 1 running back in Alabama choose a school other than Alabama. Plus, Clemson could join the mix. Martin’s last visit to Auburn will likely be Saturday for the cookout, so the Tigers need a home-run visit.
- 4-star OL Trey Hill, Houston County (Ga.): Hill keeps visiting Auburn. It took him four or five visits before receiving an offer, but that didn’t scare the big offensive lineman away. Everyone keeps saying he’s a sure thing for Georgia, and Hill continues to deny it’s so certain. Florida State is a player in this one, too. So despite his constant visits to Auburn, there wasn’t enough evidence to put him in the projection — yet. That could change after this week with a good visit.
- 4-star WR Kearis Jackson, Peach County (Ga.): Jackson will make his final decision Aug. 19, and for the time being, I’d be shocked if he picked anyone other than Georgia. If there were an option other than Georgia, it’d likely be Auburn. Still, the fact Jackson opted not to visit Auburn with Justin Fields is a telling sign of where his heart is, which made it impossible to place the Georgia wide receiver in the Auburn projection.
- 4-star LB JJ Peterson, Colquitt County (Ga.): Peterson has the persona of an Alabama linebacker, and he’s also called the Crimson Tide his leader during every interview he’s done. That makes it impossible, at this point, to put the Georgia linebacker in the Auburn class projection.
- 4-star CB Christian Tutt, Thomson (Ga.): Tutt’s recruitment has been a whirlwind, so it’s impossible at this time — by my estimation — to put him in a class projection for any school. But he’s returning to the Plains for the second time in two months for the cookout. Especially with Auburn’s uncertainty at cornerback, Tutt has a high possibility of cracking the projection at some point.
- 3-star safety Joe Foucha, McDonogh 35 (La.): Foucha is the one person on this list who I think wants to be in Auburn’s class, but it might not happen. The Tigers have been more successful at safety than they once projected. They like Kolbi Fuqua and Quindarious Monday. They’re in great shape for Jamien Sherwood. Don’t rule out Foucha in the class with a miss or a de-commitment, but the space appears limited at this time.
Big day for visits Thursday
Saturday won’t be the only big recruiting day on the Plains.
Auburn will host two dozen prospects for its weekend cookout. But before that, the Tigers have an important day of recruiting on Thursday as a couple top prospects are in town for visits.
Four-star offensive lineman Trey Hill is back on the Plains. He was at Auburn for Big Cat Weekend with his father, and he’s back Thursday for another visit. Hill is much more within Auburn’s reach than previously believed. The more he visits, the more likely it is for the Tigers to nab him.
Four-star linebacker JJ Peterson is similar to Hill in the sense he’s been viewed as a lean to another school, yet Auburn remains in the conversation. Peterson returns for another visit Thursday, though he’ll head to Alabama — his public leader — for the Crimson Tide cookout on Friday.
Four-star 2019 wide receiver Mark Richards hasn’t been talked about much (partially because there is so much left in the 2018 cycle). But this is a huge 2019 visit for the Tigers. Richards is a 6-foot-1, 185-pound athlete from West Palm Beach, Fla., that Auburn will try to woo with his first visit to the Plains on Thursday.