Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Auburn Tigers football recruiting notebook with Auburn recruiting beat writer Benjamin Wolk. It’s Friday, and SEC Country discusses a few official visit changes — for targets and for Auburn. Also, here are the 5-star 2019 prospects the Tigers have visited.
Change of plans for Auburn DB target Roger McCreary
For a moment, it looked like in-state defensive back target Roger McCreary would commit on his official visit last weekend.
He spent last-minute time with coach Gus Malzahn in his office, often an indication of a commitment, but it didn’t happen. Whether that decision was on Auburn’s end or McCreary’s side is unknown at this time. Still, the Tigers finished the weekend as the team to beat. First, however, McCreary wanted to take his official visits to Alabama and Tennessee.
According to McCreary, neither of those official visits will take place anymore.
The Mobile, Ala., cornerback was scheduled to officially visit Alabama this coming weekend. He was going to officially visit Tennessee the following weekend. McCreary expected to make a college decision soon after that visit.
After family discussions, McCreary decided not to take official visits to two schools who hadn’t offered him yet. He has added two new programs to the mix, ones he mentioned after leaving his Auburn official visit last weekend.
McCreary will go to North Carolina State next weekend when he originally planned to visit Tennessee. That’s the only other official visit he has in place right now. However, Duke offered him a scholarship on Thursday, and McCreary needed to receive that offer before considering a visit there. Now that the Blue Devils have offered, McCreary has been in contact with that staff about officially visiting the final weekend of the cycle.
These offers by the ACC schools don’t change much for Auburn. McCreary is likely to end up in the Tigers’ class over those programs if Auburn wants to add him. It’s possible Auburn works to close this recruitment in a hurry, which would negate those visits elsewhere. It’s also possible the Tigers let it play out to see what the cornerback outlook is like following the final official visit weekend.
Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele went to see McCreary earlier this week. Auburn’s message hasn’t shifted since his official visit.
“They still want me; I’m still they’re guy and they’re still going to be in contact,” McCreary told SEC Country.
Auburn won’t host official visitors this weekend
Here’s a strange recruiting twist three weeks from National Signing Day: Auburn won’t host any official visitors this weekend.
That’s the word I’ve received from multiple sources, all of whom have cited weather as a preventative obstacle. It’s odd timing given the swift offensive line coach change, and you know, the fact National Signing Day is less than a month away. But if you dig deeper into it, it makes some sense.
For starters, SEC Country had only confirmed three prospects who planned to officially visit this weekend:
- 4-star WR Ja’Marr Chase, Metairie, La.
- 4-star OL Richard Gouraige, Tampa, Fla.
- 3-star DB Joe Foucha, New Orleans.
Chase looks destined to land in LSU’s class. This is the second time in the last two months that a Chase official visit was derailed by unforeseen circumstances. He wasn’t able to attend an Auburn game late in the season because of an injury sustained during his Friday night game.
Gouraige is the real head-scratcher. He’s been slated to take an official visit to Auburn this coming week. It made sense that the Herb Hand-to-J.B. Grimes coaching change would’ve resulted in an in-home visit in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday. Instead, Gouraige’s official visit will need to be rescheduled. All of this is quite inconvenient timing for this specific recruitment.
As for Foucha, the 3-star defensive back will officially visit Arkansas this weekend instead. He told SEC Country he still fully plans to take an official visit and that the Tigers remain his leader.
Tight end target picks up new Pac-12 offer
UCLA is a new team to watch in the Matt Alaimo recruitment.
The 3-star tight end from Montvale, N.J., officially visited Auburn last weekend. He’ll head to College Station to visit Texas A&M this weekend. Now, look for UCLA to receive a visit after the Bruins offered Alaimo on Thursday.
Alaimo was a potential commit-on-the-visit candidate. He didn’t end up doing that, though he left saying the Tigers were the No. 1 team on his list.
The Tigers will try to hold off the Aggies and Bruins — both led by new coaches. Some of this will come down to what Auburn’s final plan is with its last three or four spots. If Auburn thinks it’s ready to welcome a tight end right away, Alaimo could be pulled into the class quickly. If the Tigers feel like there’s another option, or that the 2019 class is the best way to go, that would probably open the door more for Texas A&M or UCLA.
Until that point, I still see Auburn as his final destination.
5-star prospects in 2019 class who Auburn has visited
Auburn’s last week of recruiting has been solely dedicated to the 2018 class. The Class of 2019 has been at the forefront of the Tigers’ recruiting agenda as well. Coaches have hit the road to see several prospects as National Signing Day approaches.
Along the way, Auburn’s assistants have made a few key stops to see a trio of 5-star prospects in the 2019 class:
- 5-star WR Jashawn Sheffield, Saint Simons Island, Ga.
- 5-star RB Noah Cain, Bradenton, Fla.
- 5-star OL Clay Webb, Oxford, Ala.
Kodi Burns traveled to coastal Georgia on Thursday to visit the school of 2019 wide receiver Jashawn Sheffield. He’s one of the more versatile athletes in the class. At one point last fall, Sheffield was poised to join Florida State’s class, but that took a major turn through the coaching change. A source close to Sheffield said Auburn has as much of a chance as anyone and will likely visit the Tigers later this year. Sheffield is a big fan of Burns. Interesting side note: That area was previously Hand’s recruiting turf.
Prior to adding Harold Joiner in 2018, running backs coach Tim Horton went to see IMG Academy star Noah Cain. Cain will be recruited by anyone and everyone in the country. LSU, Ohio State, Florida State and Clemson are the early front-runners. A source told SEC Country, however, that it appears Cain is taking legitimate early interest in Auburn. It’s a long way to go and the Tigers will have to bring him on campus for a visit, but Cain’s a name to remember.
Auburn has seen Webb as often as possible. The Hand move shouldn’t be a huge blow for this recruitment since most of his conversation was with Auburn offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey. The Tigers will undoubtedly get Grimes in front of Webb as soon as possible. This will be an Alabama, Georgia and Auburn battle where the Tigers will be serious contenders.
Bonus: Along those lines, Auburn has also stayed in contact with Alabama offensive line commit Pierce Quick. He’s only listed as a 4-star prospect, but he’s a 5-star talent in my book. Auburn coaches have been out to see him during the contact period. That doesn’t necessarily separate the Tigers. He’s received offers from several other perennial power programs in recent weeks. Still, it’s not going to be easy to pull the lifelong Crimson Tide fan away from Tuscaloosa.
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