Recruiting question of the day: Will Auburn include JUCO prospects in 2018 class?
Much like Justin Ferguson does on the Auburn team side, recruiting reporter Benjamin Wolk will answer the Recruiting Question of the Day every day of the week. You can ask him questions on Twitter or Facebook. Look for our Auburn Question of the Day. Go here to to see our previous answers.
With the new early signing period approaching, it’s easy for junior college recruiting to get lost in the shuffle. In the past, this was the time of year when JUCO prospects were the focus for college coaching staffs. The early signing period has changed that some, and it’s added to the full plate for coaches this time of year.
But Auburn is covering its bases, including the JUCO ranks.
The JUCO signing period is the same 72-hour window as the high school early signing period, Dec. 20-22, so time is at a premium. But there are other JUCO prospects who will wait to graduate in May, which gives FBS programs more time to recruit them.
Here are three JUCO prospects Auburn took a look at in the Class of 2018. More names are sure to pop up, but this is a good starting point.
Daquan Newkirk, DL, Mississippi Gulf Coast
Mark this one down for the class.
Daquan Newkirk has been committed to Auburn since, technically, September 2016. He was a part of Auburn’s star-studded 2016 defensive line class that included Derrick Brown, Marlon Davidson, Antwuan Jackson, Prince Sammons, Nick Coe, Paul James III and Tashawn Manning.
Newkirk didn’t qualify academically, hence the junior college move. He dealt with some unfortunate injury issues during his first season at Mississippi Gulf Coast. Once he returned to the field, he was as agile and powerful as ever.
All the while, Newkirk remained committed to Auburn and vice versa. He re-affirmed his Auburn commitment earlier this year.
Newkirk can be a versatile asset for Auburn’s defensive line group in 2018.
Benjie Franklin, CB, Navarro
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound cornerback is one of the reported Auburn offers handed out to junior college targets since the season ended. Benjie Franklin picked up an offer from the Tigers on Dec. 7 to go along with offers from Baylor, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Ole Miss and Florida Atlantic. To my knowledge, it was the first JUCO offer Greg Brown has given to a cornerback, something he has a track record of doing at his previous stops.
Franklin isn’t a December graduate, however, so there is still time between now and his decision.
He will take an official visit to Auburn on Jan. 12-14.
As a sophomore, Franklin had a standout season at the Texas junior college. He intercepted 6 passes and had 19 pass breakups. Franklin is the No. 4-ranked cornerback in junior college.
Dominick Wood-Anderson, TE, Arizona Western
This is a long shot for Auburn, but Dominick Wood-Anderson is well worth a mention. After all, it’s likely he chooses Alabama, so it may be a name Auburn fans become familiar with regardless.
Wood-Anderson is one of the top tight end prospects nationally — high school or junior college.
He’s the No. 1-ranked tight end in junior college, and in terms of how heavily he’s been recruited, he’s probably the No. 1 tight end overall. Alabama, Texas, Oregon and Louisville have been fighting over Wood-Anderson for quite a while. At the same time, Auburn has attempted multiple times to get Wood-Anderson on campus for a visit, but it hasn’t happened.
With a growing optimism with Luke Ford, the Tigers have re-directed their tight end attention to the high school ranks, but Wood-Anderson certainly was someone the Tigers tested for a while.
To see all the answers to prior Auburn questions, click here.