Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Auburn Tigers football recruiting notebook with Auburn recruiting beat writer Benjamin Wolk. It’s Tuesday, and SEC Country checks in on one of the most intense recruiting battles to watch in the next two months. Plus, there’s a Louisiana linebacker to keep an eye on.
Where Auburn stands as Owen Pappoe‘s decision nears
Everyone in the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry country should mark their calendars for May 5.
It has been dubbed Cinco de Pappoe by many of the Internet’s creative minds.
Five-star linebacker Owen Pappoe will make his college decision on that date. Pappoe said following his most recent visit to Auburn that he would like to make a decision sooner rather than later — preferably before his senior season — and it didn’t take long for Pappoe to set that timeline in stone.
Pappoe told SEC Country two weeks ago that this will be an Auburn-Georgia battle despite the Tigers being left out of his original top 2.
“That top three is gone. I’d say Georgia and Auburn are my top two. … Right now Georgia is my top school. I said Auburn and Georgia are my top two, but I would say Georgia is my No. 1 right now. They really do have a good chance of landing me,” Pappoe said.
“Clemson, I haven’t really been in contact with them. I wouldn’t say they’re out [of] the picture, but we haven’t really been communicating that much.”
It is not going to be easy to top the home-state Bulldogs. Pappoe, the No. 7 overall prospect in the 2019 class, has visited Georgia so many times in the last two years that he can’t count how many times he has been to Athens.
If Auburn has a shot, it is with linebackers coach Travis Williams. One source said that Auburn knows this is a long shot, but Pappoe is a can’t-miss prospect who is worth the attempt. That late dedication has given Auburn a push. This is an uphill climb, and the Tigers knew that going into the heavy spring recruitment. But they gradually are closing the gap.
Pappoe expects to visit the Plains at least two more times before making his decision. He plans to attend the spring game and make a separate, more personalized trip. He would like to make more, but the clock is ticking as May 5 is less than two months away. Of course, Pappoe will make more visits to Athens, as well.
Last-minute trips to Clemson, Tennessee and Alabama also wouldn’t come as a surprise, though Pappoe doesn’t have anything lined up.
Monitoring linebacker from Louisiana
I have written about Auburn’s plan to cast a national linebacker net in the 2019 class.
That will take linebackers coach Williams to South Florida, Southern California and everywhere in between. Louisiana is a destination spot where Williams will place extra emphasis on one of the Tigers’ top targets: Donte Starks of Marrero. Starks isn’t the only Louisiana linebacker Auburn fans should watch in the 2019 class.
Bryton Constantin is a 6-foot-2, 220-pound linebacker from Baton Rouge who ranks as the No. 45 linebacker and No. 623 overall prospect in the country. Constantin has picked up offers from Clemson, Auburn, Florida, TCU, Tennessee and others this spring.
He recently released a top schools list that included Auburn. For Constantin, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Clemson, Tennessee, Auburn, Florida, TCU and Houston cracked the top 8. He recently visited Clemson, so those Tigers are early front-runners.
It is worth noting that LSU isn’t involved — yet.
LSU has offered more than 20 linebackers, but Constantin isn’t one of them. Oftentimes, LSU knows it can slow play an in-state prospect, but it also might be an indication that Ed Orgeron and Co. value prospects from Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida more than the in-state talent. If the home-state Tigers were to offer, it likely would cause a major shake-up in Constantin’s top group.
Miss a previous Auburn recruiting notebook? Find every daily recap of Auburn Tigers recruiting right here.