Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Auburn football recruiting notebook with Auburn recruiting beat writer Benjamin Wolk. In this edition, we give an update on Auburn’s top linebacker target Quay Walker, as well as two of the Tigers’ top running back targets, Asa Martin and Harold Joiner.
Major LB target updates connection to Tigers
When Quay Walker recently released a new top 5, there wasn’t any surprise that Auburn made the list.
The Tigers have been a favorite of Walker’s since the beginning. In fact, it goes much further back than his high school teammate Markaviest Bryant’s decision to sign with Auburn.
Walker has been high on the Tigers, as he puts it, well before Bryant was.
“What most people don’t know, that was the first campus I ever stepped on, the first college football game I’ve ever been to. That’s pretty much why Auburn’s in the top 5,” Walker told SEC Country. “Before Big Cat fell in love with Auburn, I was already telling him about them. They’re just different. With them, he hasn’t told me a whole lot yet, but when he gets over there, he’s going to tell me what all goes on with them, so that I know about it.”
Walker’s new list offered a slight wrinkle, something that likely was a welcome sight for Auburn and others.
Georgia has long been considered one of the primary front-runners to land the versatile outside linebacker. But with Walker’s new list, Georgia was replaced with South Carolina, citing the Gamecocks making it much more clear that they want him.
For the Tigers, that should be a positive sign, as Auburn, Alabama and Georgia always have been a part of the conversation with Walker. Auburn will remain in contention until the end, which could come as soon as this summer.
The reason for that: Gus Malzahn and Travis Williams.
“Coach Malzahn, he’s pretty much different than all the other coaches. Coach T-Will, as a position coach, just stands out. He’s the father-figure type. I can pretty much talk to him about anything right now. Me and him, I talk to him just about every day,” Walker said. “Every time I go to Auburn, I get a home feeling.”
Despite his long-standing love for the Tigers, Auburn is playing behind its in-state rival in this race.
Walker told SEC Country that the Crimson Tide are “no doubt” recruiting him the hardest of his entire top 5, which includes Alabama, Auburn, Florida, LSU and South Carolina. A source close to his recruitment told SEC Country that Alabama will be a tough program to beat. The Crimson Tide are heavily invested in landing Walker, and he wants to get his mother with him on campus in Tuscaloosa.
Another cause for concern on Auburn’s end?
Walker was asked to share one random thing that he’d like fans of schools to know. His response, while not explicitly directed at Auburn, seemed to have Big Cat undertones.
“I’m different. I’m not going to go somewhere just because someone else went there. I’m my own person,” Walker said.
Tigers crack top 12 for in-state RB
Another non-surprise: Auburn made Harold Joiner’s top 12.
On Sunday, one of the state of Alabama’s top running backs listed the double-digit schools that will garner the majority of his interest throughout the rest of his recruitment. That’s a much higher number than the unofficial handful of programs — Auburn and LSU, primarily — Joiner has mentioned in most interviews since his recruitment took off.
— Harold Joiner (@hkjoiner3) May 14, 2017
When SEC Country spoke with Joiner last month, he indicated that LSU remains his favorite. Out of all the programs recruiting him, LSU has made it most clear it wants him as a running back. Others haven’t determined whether they want him as a running back or potentially as a tight end/wide receiver. Alabama even gave him an athlete offer, with it possibility being on the defensive side of the ball.
One important, and rare, thing to track will be Joiner’s height. He understands many schools like him at receiver because he already stands 6-foot-3. If he grows, it might force Joiner to look at his recruitment exclusively as a wide receiver, which might alter where he feels like a better fit.
State’s top RB, Asa Martin, visits the Plains
Auburn hosted a major visitor over the weekend.
As a run-first offense — at least in previous Gus Malzahn years — the Tigers continue their search for their feature running back in the 2018 recruiting class. Shaun Shivers is already on board, but Auburn hopes to take one or two more.
The top running back in the state, Asa Martin, visited the Plains with his family this weekend, which included a photo op with Malzahn.
— 2️⃣0️⃣ (@TheAsaMartin_) May 13, 2017
Martin has referred to Florida as his top school more than once, but told SEC Country recently that Auburn had closed that gap significantly. A big piece of the puzzle missing was the Auburn coaching staff’s relationship with his mother compared to the Florida staff.
It appears the Tigers are making serious moves to make up for lost time.
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