Georgia’s weekend was much like Auburn’s will be this upcoming weekend.
It primarily served as an official weekend get-together for commits. But there was one crucial target in attendance for the festivities, as well — Markaviest “Big Cat” Bryant. The edge-rushing defensive lineman went into his official visit to UGA with some soon-to-commit rumors.
He hasn’t pulled the trigger yet despite throughly enjoying his official visit to Athens. According to a person close to Bryant, the Bulldogs made a slight attempt to encourage a public commitment on the official visit. Bryant wants to take his official visits to LSU (Friday), Auburn (Jan. 28) and Arkansas on a midweek in-between before confirming with a yes. Another site has reported this to be a shift in Bryant’s official visit dates. This has been the calendar Bryant has laid out publicly (to me, at least) since prior to the Under Armour All-America Game.
The decision to wait until his other official visits close out, and make his choice closer to National Signing Day, has to be positive news for Auburn despite the fact Georgia is a clear front-runner. According to the source, Bryant’s mother has a strong interest in Bryant landing in Athens. She wants what Bryant wants, of course. But after the official visit to Georgia, she is sold on the Bulldogs and the Classic City.
She has made her feelings known to Bryant, who also feels strongly about Georgia, as well. The source said his mother suspects Bryant eventually will choose the Bulldogs, but the ball truly is in Big Cat’s court right now. He simply needs to let his official visits play out.
Auburn will relish its opportunity to take advantage of that last official visit weekend. With that said, Bryant said at the Under Armour All-America Game that he might choose to silently commit to a school and take his official visits to the other OV schools. According to my intel, that silent commitment to Georgia hasn’t happened yet.
While it might be inevitable, the wait has to be positive news for Auburn.
Auburn to in-home with in-state WR
Like on the defensive line, Auburn has only one wide receiver commitment so far in the 2017 class: Noah Igbinoghene.
The Hewitt-Trussville (Ala.) product likely won’t be the only receiver on board with the Tigers in 15 days. But who will it be? Keith Niebuhr of 247Sports is reporting Auburn has a legitimate chance with Oliver Martin. The Tigers are working to score an official visit, but I’ve been told by people close to Martin that anything other than Notre Dame would surprise even the people closest to Martin.
Still, the Tigers will attempt to steal another WR target from the Fighting Irish (Igbinoghene favored them early, too).
If that doesn’t happen, Auburn’s known public targets are dwindling. Tamorrion Terry committed to Florida State at the end of last week. His academic concerns might’ve started to scare the Tigers off anyway.
One name that has been around for a while but could begin to pick up more steam late is Marlon Williams. The Mobile (Ala.) product was committed to Southern Cal until last week. He backed off that pledge and began setting up an official visit calendar. He took one to Central Florida this weekend. He’ll go to LSU and Tennessee the last two weekends.
That’s a full slate. How can Auburn get involved if it wants to?
Williams told SEC Country that he has considered the possibility of a midweek trip to the Plains, but it’s most likely contingent on an offer. Auburn wide receiver coach Kodi Burns plans to go to Mobile to see Williams sometime on Monday. I don’t anticipate an offer to be extended immediately. But if one does come, Williams might be a top candidate to join the 2017 class.
Not that it matters, but I included Williams in my final projection of the cycle — mainly because I wasn’t big on Auburn’s chances of landing Terry and Martin. More names certainly could emerge if the Tigers don’t land a Martin official.
Plenty to digest from Sunday
Four official visitors roamed the Plains this weekend. That’s child’s play compared to what Auburn will be hosting this coming weekend. But it turned out to be as critical as any of the other OV weekends.
Alec Jackson, the only commit on a visit, selected Auburn on Christmas Day and hasn’t said much about it since. He talked immediately after his official visit Sunday, and he spoke with a buzz and a huge smile on his face. Jackson is a prospect that had interest in USC, Florida, Ole Miss and Texas, so his eyes were wandering. But after his commitment and official visit, the big, versatile lineman seems as eager to play for the Auburn Tigers as anyone in this class. He began his recruitment efforts immediately, as noted above.
Thomas Johnston came on an intriguing official visit. Auburn wants him at H-back. Other schools want him at linebacker — you know, the position from which he set the Alabama state career tackles record. On one hand, Auburn is staying 100 precent honest with Johnston. On the other, based on everything I can see or assess, Johnston can play linebacker in the SEC. Arkansas and Auburn, that’s my guess. Offense with his friends at his home-state school? The position he loves and excels at in a neighbor state? That’s a Jan. 26 answer.
Michigan offensive tackle commit Kai-Leon Herbert won’t pick the Wolverines despite his commitment there. Florida and Miami still have official visits remaining. The Gators are the odds-on favorite. Auburn made a significant push this weekend, thanks to the impressive recruiting efforts of offensive line coach Herb Hand. Let these official visits transpire and look out for a subtle commitment or affirmation shortly after his Florida official on Jan. 28.
Guard Poutasi Poutasi hasn’t received an offer. If he does, Auburn will have a great chance at landing him. Poutasi enjoyed one of his first experiences in the small-town Southeast. It’s always been a dream of his to play football in this environment. A handful of names are beginning to pop up on the recruiting trail at the position. I wouldn’t be surprised if, assuming Auburn missed on Herbert, Auburn extends a late offer to one off its O-line candidates.