Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Auburn football recruiting notebook with Auburn recruiting beat writer Benjamin Wolk. In this edition, we speak with top-100 offensive lineman Richard Gouraige. We also give the latest on a top list of programs, courtesy of Master Teague III.
Top-100 offensive lineman talks Auburn
Auburn already has two offensive linemen the 2018 class. Both project as interior guys. The Tigers’ work continues for offensive tackles in the class. They’re shooting to take two exterior linemen in the class.
Auburn’s effort begins in an obvious place: 4-star tackle Richard Gouraige from Tampa, Fla.
Gouraige ranks as the No. 10 offensive tackle in the nation by the 247Sports composite, which makes him the No. 88 propsect overall. On Auburn’s offensive line wishes, Gouraige and fellow Florida boy William Barnes make up the Tigers’ top wants.
Gouraige has already gotten a taste of the Plains when he made a weekend visit earlier in the spring.
“I loved it. I don’t know if compact is the right word, but close-knit. The city was made for football,” Gouraige told SEC Country. “On game day, the community really supports the football team. The campus is beautiful. They love Auburn up there.”
Gouraige’s decision remains a long way off.
He doesn’t plan on playing the commit-then-decommit game. When Gouraige announces, that’s it. So he first wants to spend the summer taking visits and talking things over with his inner circle. From there, he’ll likely key in on a few official visit options and take those throughout the fall before coming closer to a final choice.
One of the main things Gouraige will look for: relationship with position coaches.
Auburn sits in a positive place based on that criteria.
“I want to be able to talk to a position coach whenever I want. I can relate to him. I want to know he’ll always be there,” Gouraige said. “Coach Hand, he’s a great guy. He just works on critiquing a lot of players and getting them to their greatest. Once you have great technique, you really can’t lose a rep. He just teaches fundamentals and works on great technique and every little thing.”
As a lineman for Cambridge Christian (Fla.), Gouraige has witnessed many prospects from neighbor schools leave the Sunshine State for Auburn.
The Tigers have had success recruiting the Tampa area in recent classes. In each of the last three years, one of Auburn’s best signees have been from nearby high schools. That’s something that isn’t lost on Gouraige, and it’s something Auburn makes a point to sell when recruiting guys from the Florida gulf coast.
“They have great connections over here to Tampa. A lot of Florida guys went to Auburn — Nate Craig, Devan Barrett, Byron Cowart. They all say it’s a family up there,” Gouriage said. “They really love it. You’d get to be around great people in the community. And coach Malzahn, he loves all his players. He checks up on them, sees how their family is doing.”
Auburn’s top RB has Tigers in top 3
Master Teague warned that a decision was coming soon. Now he’s one step closer.
The 4-star running back from Blackman (Tenn.) released a top 3 at 3:33 p.m. CT. That’s a lot of threes for the running back who dons No. 33 for his high school. The significance of all it goes back to Teague’s deep faith, which is a reason he feels a strong connection with Auburn.
“That’s the year and how old Jesus was when he died on the cross,” Teague told DawgNation. “So I was thinking that I want to just keep that number, play for Chris and make that number represent something.”
His list of three didn’t have any surprises: Auburn, Georgia and Tennessee.
This is our top 3. After this announcement we will go silent for a time except w/ coaches & in-person questions. Thanks for understanding. pic.twitter.com/IkBsJzvAWr
— Corey & Emily Teague (@DrCoreyMTeague) May 17, 2017
South Carolina was believed to be in the mix, but the top-3 release included the home-state school, as well as the two out-of-state programs that have been trending for Teague in recent weeks. As the tweet above indicates, Teague only plans to do in-person interviews for the foreseeable future, so direct comments from him will be minimal over the course of the next month.
But SEC Country has been able to gather some information on Teague in the last few days. Here’s what I know.
- Auburn has always felt quite confident with Teague. In fact, multiple sources have told me for weeks now that the Tigers should be considered the favorites for the 4-star running back.
- Georgia has made a major impression lately. The Bulldogs continue to be a major factor for 5-star running back Zamir White, but Georgia wants to take both in its 2018 class, which would be an impressive haul.
- While Tennessee has the home-state push, the Volunteers best hope is that the Teague stays patient with his decision. To my knowledge, Teague hasn’t set an official commitment date, but the sooner he makes a decision, the more likely it is to be Auburn or Georgia — the two programs who have made the strongest push in the last few weeks.
- For Auburn, this offers some running back intrigue. The Tigers have picked up the pace with Asa Martin in recent weeks, and there’s also running backs of interest like Harold Joiner whose recruitments have been calm. Many of Auburn’s next moves will hinge on Teague’s decision, so the Tigers are hoping for a choice sooner rather than later.
Miss an edition? Find the previous SEC Country Auburn Tigers recruiting notebooks right here.