Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Auburn Tigers football recruiting notebook with Auburn recruiting beat writer Benjamin Wolk. It’s Tuesday, and SEC Country spoke with three running back targets who were on campus over the weekend — Noah Cain, Kenny McIntosh and Tye Edwards.
Auburn ‘definitely a big factor’ for IMG running back
Noah Cain’s list of offers, visits and schools he’s interested in is seemingly endless.
It’s why he doesn’t like naming his favorite programs for fear of accidentally leaving one out. But perhaps more than anything, the lengthy list of schools prioritizing him makes it challenging to differentiate each program from the next.
As Cain works toward an end-of-summer top-5 list, the criteria he’ll use to separate his favorites is fairly simple.
“It’s really about the vibe. A lot of schools have the flashy things, the uniforms. Sometimes it’s about the coaches, but coaches leave every year,” Cain said. “So really it’s the vibe I get from the campus and the people around me. If I don’t get that genuine vibe from the people around me, that’s what I really care about.”
Auburn need not worry on that front.
In fact, the word “genuine” is one of the most common buzzwords Cain used to describe Auburn during our interview. He felt the Big Cat Weekend experience allowed him to see coaches such as Gus Malzahn and Tim Horton in a different light than he’s been able to view other staffs recruiting him.
“It’s just a real genuine vibe. You really don’t get that at every school. The coaching staff, you got to see them as people with their families, kids. It’s really about them family guys and not being two-faced when you get on campus,” Cain said. “I got that vibe from Coach Horton and Coach Malzahn. They’re family dudes. They’re just trying to be the best and do everything the right way.”
Malzahn and Horton are the coaches Cain hears from most often, but it’s not exclusive to those two. Cain said someone from the coaching staff — maybe it’ll be Greg Brown or Larry Porter — will reach out to him on a daily basis. The staff-wide interest proves to him how highly the Tigers are prioritizing him.
While schools such as LSU, Ohio State and Texas are mentioned more often, Cain made it clear that Auburn is firmly in the discussion.
“Auburn’s definitely a big factor in my recruitment. I talk to somebody from the staff every day of the week. They make me a priority. They make me feel at home. When I came back up here, I really wanted to see if I could see myself being here, envision myself doing it. I really can see myself being here,” Cain said.
“I don’t really care about flashiness, or anything like that. It’s about system fit for me. Auburn isn’t a flashy school. They’re about business. I’m about the same thing.”
Cain plans to narrow his list to five by the end of the summer. He’ll use the fall to take official visits and make a commitment decision in December.
South Florida RB cherishes first Auburn experience
Coming into his first Auburn visit, Kenny McIntosh had an idea of what to expect.
The South Florida running back had communicated heavily with area recruiter Larry Porter throughout the spring. But it was a 2018 signee who put him on to Auburn well before that, even though he hadn’t visited.
McIntosh and Auburn running back Shaun Shivers spoke about the Tigers well before McIntosh’s first visit.
“I’ve been talking to Worm a little bit. He’s been telling me things. That’s my guy, so we’ve been talking a little bit,” McIntosh said. “He tells me how he fits in with the players and how he vibes with them. He was telling me I needed to come up to see how they are, how they’re cool.
“Loved it. The atmosphere is great. I’ll definitely be back, probably for a game or something like that.”
Prior to Big Cat Weekend, McIntosh’s primary staff relationship was with Porter. McIntosh’s father and Porter had a relationship prior to Porter’s move to Auburn, so that has helped the Tigers’ cause.
Porter won’t be the lone coach at work after Big Cat Weekend, however. McIntosh met with running backs coach Tim Horton and the two hit it off.
“Not only are they winning Heismans — and that’s one of my goals — but I love the running backs coach,” McIntosh said. “He’s going to turn me into a really great running back.”
Auburn wasn’t the only trip he made over the course of the weekend.
McIntosh stopped at Alabama before Auburn and went to Georgia after Big Cat Weekend. Those three teams join Oklahoma and Miami as the schools most likely to land McIntosh’s services.
2-way athlete Tye Edwards prefers to play RB
Tye Edwards is a wanted commodity by Auburn coaches on both sides of the ball.
Tigers linebackers coach Tye Edwards sees the 3-star prospect from St. Augustine, Fla., as a fast, big body who would be a perfect fit for his linebacker room. Running backs coach Tim Horton shares similar feelings about Edwards at running back, especially with the loss of a big body such as Kamryn Pettway.
After Edwards’ Big Cat Weekend visit, it appears that Horton is more likely to win that battle.
“They offered as an athlete, but I think they want it mostly at running back because, to be honest, I don’t really like linebacker,” Edwards said. “I want to play running back, and they want me at running back.”
Edwards was at Auburn for the first time over the weekend with high school teammate Kenny Logan. The Tigers hit a home run with the first impression.
“I liked it. They’ve got a nice campus. It’s beautiful. The same running style they’ve got is what we run [in high school]. That gives them a good advantage over other teams,” Edwards said. “Big move. They’re trying to get me. They don’t have any big backs anymore because one just moved on. I’m trying to be the next to step up to that plate.”
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