Jordan Tucker isn’t in a rush.
Tucker, a 6-foot-7, 320-pound offensive tackle from Roswell, Ga., understands the long-term recruiting process as well as anyone. Despite his stature, high school success and mature approach, Power 5 programs shied away from making an offer to the 3-star tackle.
That’s about to change. And that’s why, to Tucker, it’s worth the wait.
“I’m still very open. My plan is to commit somewhere during Signing Day,” Tucker told SEC Country earlier this fall. “I haven’t moved it up or anything. I’m really in this process for the long run. I’ve got time to just relax and see what comes to me.”
Tucker’s plans haven’t changed. National Signing Day is Feb. 1.
What has started to shift, however, is the attention Tucker is getting from top-level programs. Some higher-rated offensive line prospects have made their decisions. Cesar Ruiz, a 4-star player, committed to Michigan. Alex Leatherwood, a 5-star prospect, isn’t budging from Alabama. Adrian Ealy, a 4-star player, looks to be on the verge of choosing LSU or Oklahoma.
So Auburn’s focus began to shift in other directions. Tucker is at or near the top of the Tigers’ options. Offensive line coach Herb Hand had a phone conversation with Tucker earlier in the week, which consisted mostly of small talk.
But one thing became clear to Tucker: Auburn will likely make a January push for his talents. He expects a face-to-face meeting with Hand at the launch of the upcoming contact period.
From there, an offer could be near.
“I’m really looking forward to them. When I went up there, I loved it,” Tucker said. “Honestly, it was unlike any other visit I’ve taken before. If they do up end up recruiting me harder in the long run, I’m really looking forward to it.”
Tucker unofficially visited Auburn for the Vanderbilt game. In many ways, the close game heightened Tucker’s opinion of the Tigers. He sat near the student section, and the nail-biter game gave Jordan-Hare Stadium more life than your standard noon kickoff.
That visit stuck with Tucker.
“The atmosphere, the people. It’s just different. It’s really different,” Tucker said. “Toomer’s Corner was fun. The game was just very live.”
Auburn hadn’t offered at the time, but the Tigers were evaluating. That continues to be the case but the process is speeding up.
There are other big-name schools in a similar situation. Georgia is waiting to see how things fall into place. The Bulldogs might call Tucker, too, but with the recent addition of 5-star Isaiah Wilson, Georgia has less of a need than it expected.
With an offer, Auburn might jump near the top of the list. Tucker has offers from Louisville, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, Mississippi State, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina and others.
Louisville is the favorite at this time to land Tucker, who de-committed from Tennessee. He unofficially visited the Cardinals and will make an official visit on Jan. 13.
Tucker would like to take all five official visits. That will be difficult in a short time frame, but it would allow him two full free weekends and the chance for midweek official visits.
Auburn will be in solid position for one of those.
“It’s SEC football. They always come to play. They get to play Bama,” Tucker said. “They get to play all the top teams in college football. I’m all up for competition.”
Tucker is versatile for his size and will likely fit as an offensive tackle. That’s where most coaches see him, he said. But there were packages in Roswell’s offense that put him at guard. He likes it all.
So what are Auburn’s chances if Tucker gets that coveted offer?
To me, they are pretty high. So much so that I placed Tucker in my last class projection despite not having the Tigers offer yet.
Auburn won’t be the only team in the equation, but Tucker raves about the opportunity to play SEC football. That could be the key factor that puts one lucky team ahead of Louisville, though the Cardinals will be in the mix until the end.
From one 2018 recruit to another
Quarterback Joey Gatewood and running back Shaun Shivers are the high school commits in the 2018 class at this moment. Defensive end Daquan Newkirk is a junior college pickup who committed in the 2016 class. Gatewood and Shivers have been active on social media about their love for Auburn and how ready they want to suit up for the Tigers together.
It appears Shivers has his eyes on the next prospect in the class: 4-star wide receiver Joshua Moore from Texas.
— sSs (@V8Blazing) December 21, 2016
— JoshuaMoore (@_TheJoshuaMoore) December 15, 2016
Moore picked up his offer a week ago. He posted pro-Auburn tweets since then, including friendly back-and-forth with Shivers.
He’s the No. 60 overall prospect in the class of 2018, making him the eighth-ranked wide receiver. Moore has offers that Auburn must compete with — Florida State, LSU, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M …. 49 offers in total.
The Tigers haven’t had much recruiting success in Texas, but that trend changed in the past two classes with running back Kam Martin and quarterback Jarrett Stidham.
Moore would be another nice trend-breaker in 2018. Shivers is doing his part.