Auburn recruiting question of the day: Will Auburn be able to fill out O-line class without grad transfers?
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 Question of the Day. Go here to to see our previous answers.
Any chance for Auburn to fill out the OL class (they wanted 5-6 but have just 2) without college senior transfers or juco players? They'll have to close on some good HS kids fast.
— Michael Skotnicki (@MSkotnicki) January 8, 2018
If we were to throw the word need around in Auburn recruiting, offensive line would be the place to start.
The Tigers only took three offensive linemen in the 2017 class. None of them — Calvin Ashley, Nick Brahms and Austin Troxell — saw time as true freshmen, though they’re all expected to have promising sophomore opportunity. In the early signing period, Kam Stutts and Jalil Irvin were the only linemen to ink with the 2018 class.
Auburn has work to do on that front in January.
With Stutts and Irvin as interior linemen, it would make sense to add another interior guy plus a pair of tackles, or even three if scholarship spots allowed it. Trey Hill was the clear-cut No. 1 offensive guard option for the Tigers leading up to the early signing period. That plan was stymied by Georgia, and it forced Auburn to re-assess what it wants to do at offensive guard.
To me, the easy option at guard is Tank Jenkins.
It’s been a back-and-forth recruitment for the big man from Montgomery, Ala.
He is receiving love from Oklahoma, Louisville and Ole Miss, as well. But Jenkins has always seemed like a prospect that would end up in the Tigers’ class. My sources have said the Tigers have wavered on Jenkins at times. But the fact of the matter is Jenkins has the physical ability to dominate at the college level. With the need along the offensive line, it seems like the right match.
The offensive tackle conversation is a slightly more complicated. There are more options, but less certainties.
Nicholas Petit-Frere, William Barnes, Richard Gouraige, Dylan Wonnum and Jalen Goss are the prime five to monitor right now. But again, if Auburn is only able to hit on one of that group, don’t rule out the possibility for the Tigers to find another diamond-in-the-rough type they’ve kept warm throughout the recruiting process.
With that said, I think the Tigers sit in solid position for Gouraige, Wonnum and Goss. Barnes could be one the Tigers steal away late with the final official visit. As for Petit-Frere, he’s a tough read. But if Auburn manages to get him on campus, anything can happen and the Tigers couldn’t be ruled out given their immediate need at tackle.
If Auburn can haul in Jenkins and a tandem of Gouraige-Wonnum-Barnes-Goss, it may not be necessary to go the grad transfer route. However, Auburn’s success and attempt to hit the grad-transfer market on the offensive line next year might be an indication of how the Tigers plan to work going forward.
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