Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Auburn football recruiting notebook with Auburn recruiting beat writer Benjamin Wolk. In this edition, we spoke with in-state safety Myles Mason, who plans to make an end-of-summer decision. We also update the many perspectives on Justin Fields and discuss my latest Crystal Ball predictions.
Top DB says Auburn’s message fits his deciding factor
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Myles Mason has found his new high school football home, but he’s still in search of his future college destination.
Mason made a move this offseason from Pleasant Grove (Ala.), where he played quarterback, to Hewitt-Trussville (Ala.), where he’ll primarily play in the defensive backfield in a higher classification. That will give him the opportunity to finally specialize as a safety, rather than play both ways.
Once recruited as an athlete, all five programs in his top 5 — Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida State and LSU — have turned their attention to Mason solely as a safety. That hasn’t changed anything for Mason, whose top 5 is still as is, in no order.
“Still, as of right now, I have my top 5. It remains the same,” Mason told SEC Country. “They have a positive vibe, each one of them. And, of course, their football teams have high prestige.”
Mason hasn’t taken any visits recently. His last college trips were to LSU and Florida State, but Mason said “it’s been about a month” since he took either of those. Still, he said both of those programs left great impressions following the visits.
He hopes to return to the college recruiting trail soon, especially since he’d like to have an end-of-summer decision. Yet, Mason is willing to push that back if need be. To this point, however, Mason is still working to set up when and where he will take those visits for the rest of the summer.
When he does, Mason will have one clear factor in mind to help him determine his choice.
“The depth chart. Really that’s pretty much it,” Mason said. “I don’t know yet [where the best depth chart fit is]. I don’t have that answer yet. … And I’d like to talk to all the coaches. That’s the main thing. Just everybody — position coaches, coordinator, head coaches — everybody.”
Apparently, Auburn has Mason’s No. 1 factor covered.
He hasn’t visited Auburn lately, but he’s done so at least five times throughout his recruitment. Most of his communication runs through defensive coordinator Kevin Steele, whose message falls right in line with Mason’s depth chart interests.
“Defensive coordinator, Coach Steele. I’ve been talking to coach [Rodney] Garner also. He’s just a great guy,” Mason said. “They’re saying it’s a great opportunity to play early because they’re losing three safeties this year. The opportunity to play early — that’s something I really want to do, get on the field and play early.”
Auburn will be up against tough competition when Mason closes in on commitment time. As the 247Sports Crystal Ball shows, Alabama is the overwhelming favorite. The Crimson Tide have all 10 predictions right now, which has a lot to do with Mason growing up a huge Alabama fan. But it remains unclear where Mason fits on Alabama’s recruiting board.
A source close to Mason said the Crimson Tide are the likely landing spot if Alabama pushes for him. If not, watch out for Florida State and Auburn.
Could Mason’s childhood fandom affect his Auburn interest?
“None,” he said, matter-of-factly. “Once I started realizing how much of a business it is, you’ve got to go somewhere where you can go and play.”
Justin Fields meets The Opening reporters
He’s the talk of the town, and he’ll be exactly that until the day he commits.
Justin Fields has become the center of the college football recruiting world. That especially held true on Thursday when quarterbacks arrived at The Opening for the Elite 11 finals. After weeks of post-de-commitment visits, Fields made it to Oregon and opened up to reporters about the hectic past and similar foreseeable future.
He provided plenty of content for SEC Country from several different team angles.
Check it all out below.
- Justin Fields praised Auburn for its coaching style and fit. He had positive things to say about Gus Malzahn, Chip Lindsey and Cam Newton.
- Add another team to the mix in Justin Fields’ recruitment. That’s Alabama. Fields said the Crimson Tide re-emerged after a recent visit.
- It’s possible Justin Fields pushes his decision back into the football season to give him a chance to take official visits. He also talks Georgia.
Looking at my latest Crystal Ball picks
247Sports offers a fun, informative way to track recruiting. The Crystal Ball, while not always perfect, gives fans an easy way to gauge where prospects will end up. I started giving my predictions a few months ago and haven’t put in too many, but there have been a few in the last couple weeks that I’ll fill you in on.
Here are the whos, the wheres and the whys:
4-star cornerback Jaycee Horn will decide between South Carolina and Alabama. Just before he narrowed it down to his top 2, I put in a prediction for the Crimson Tide. Rarely does Alabama miss on a top defensive back target it wants.
Three-star safety Joe Foucha picked up an LSU offer over the weekend. Prior to that, I put in a pick for Auburn. Even with the home-state offer from LSU, my pick for Auburn sticks.
3-star cornerback Charles McClelland visited for Big Cat Weekend and called Auburn his favorite. The Tigers need depth at defensive back in the class and they were the first big-time program to offer. A Crystal Ball to Auburn was a no-brainer.
4-star offensive lineman Tommy Brown had an interesting story when he received his Auburn offer, but those days seem to be in his rearview mirror. The prospect from California has major family ties to Alabama, and once the Crimson Tide offered, my Crystal Ball pick was an easy choice.
4-star offensive lineman John Campbell considered Auburn during the spring, even visiting for a junior day. But the Orlando-based lineman has gravitated toward two in-state schools — Florida and Miami. I’m a firm believer in the “follow-the-visits” theory, and Campbell has made it to Miami with regularity; hence, my Hurricanes selection.
4-star athlete Harold Joiner has experienced an interesting week. He liked LSU, but the Tigers have taken three running backs. He liked Georgia, but the Bulldogs landed the No. 1 running back in the nation. He said publicly that his leader now is Michigan State, but he’s never actually visited East Lansing. At the end of the day, Joiner has been to Auburn a lot, and the Tigers want him in the class. That’s why I put in a Crystal Ball to Auburn on Thursday night.
I’ve also placed three 2019 predictions in the last few weeks — a big one to Auburn and two to Georgia:
- 5-star wide receiver Dominick Blaylock: Georgia
- 4-star linebacker J.D. Bertrand: Georgia
- 4-star quarterback Bo Nix: Auburn