Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Auburn football recruiting notebook with Auburn recruiting beat writer Benjamin Wolk. Today, we look at an Auburn legacy and three out-of-state unofficial visitors.
Auburn legacy will wait for evaluation
Let’s get the obvious out of the way: Shedrick Jackson is Bo Jackson’s nephew.
It’s common knowledge at this point that the 2018 prospect is kin to the Auburn legend, but for those who didn’t know, there it is. That’s not something the younger Jackson expects to have any influence on his future recruitment. As he noted, that hasn’t helped him earn some of the offers he’s already earned and it won’t help him with the ones he hopes to add.
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound wide receiver will forge his own path through his recruitment. It’s already started with offers from Mississippi State, Memphis, Troy, Arkansas State and Bowling Green, but Jackson feels like he’s just getting started.
He’s built a strong foundation with Auburn, but an offer is yet to come. He’s playing it patient.
“I’m just building relationships. I love coming up to Auburn,” Jackson said. “They’re still evaluating.”
Jackson plays at Hoover (Ala.), the perennial state power coming off another Alabama state championship. He caught 43 passes for 661 yards and 3 touchdowns during the title season.
Despite the production, Auburn hasn’t offered yet in a year loaded with wide receiver options. That doesn’t mean an offer won’t come, but Jackson — a modest 3-star prospect — is stuck behind the likes of Justyn Ross, Jacob Copeland, Matthew Hill, Seth Williams and others on the wide receiver priority list.
Auburn has made it clear that can change — with proof of performance.
Jackson hopes to get that chance this spring.
“They want to see me in person more. They want to see me in action. They’ve seen it before, but they want to watch me go through spring and develop,” Jackson said. “I’ll definitely see them in the spring. Coach (Kodi) Burns will be down, probably coach (Chip) Lindsey and coach (Tim) Horton, so they’ll get to see what I can do then.”
Jackson has a few other programs that he communicates with and hopes that they’ll offer.
The one he wants most: Vanderbilt.
He speaks with Commodores wide receivers coach Cortez Hankton. The more SEC-type offers that come, the more likely it is that other top programs start to pick up interest in Jackson, who looks the part of Power 5 receiver.
Because of that uncertainty, Jackson isn’t in a rush. Auburn, however, will always be in the back of his mind.
“For me, really, it’s going to be some time later senior year. I’ve got some schools I really like that I want to look at,” Jackson said. “Auburn’s just a special place. The family atmosphere; everyone is always getting along. It’s a place you always want to be.”
Trio of visitors from Harbaugh country
During Auburn’s practice Tuesday, defensive coordinator Kevin Steele strolled over to a group of unofficial visitors to introduce himself. He offered a casual hello and made some small talk about the weather before returning to practice, but not before saying, “A little different than home, huh?”
Steele’s words were directed at Julian Barnett, Devontae Dobbs and Tyrone Sampson Jr. — a trio of Michigan prospects who took an excursion around Alabama on spring break to visit the Crimson Tide and the Tigers. The 86-degree heat for Auburn’s return to practice is a big change, indeed, from their metro Detroit upbringing.
That didn’t stop the three prospects (two in the 2019 class) from enjoying their trips on the Plains.
Sampson, who plays for East English Village Prep in Detroit, is the only member of the 2018 class in the group. He’s ranked as the No. 2 center in the country by 247Sports composite rankings. The 6-foot-3, 295-pound prospect has offers from Kentucky, Minnesota, Louisville, Syracuse and Virginia, but not Auburn. He’s also been in communication with Michigan, Michigan State and Notre Dame without offers yet. Sampson will stay overnight, so it’s possible he receives an offer before his departure.
Dobbs is the most highly touted prospect of the bunch. Early in the rankings, the 6-foot-4 offensive tackle is ranked the No. 1 OT in the nation by 247Sports, which makes him the No. 14 overall prospect nationally. He already held an offer when he made the trip Tuesday, but the visit gave him another chance to see the Plains. His options will be between Auburn, Alabama, Michigan, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Ohio State, Tennessee and others.
Barnett, like Sampson, didn’t have an offer coming into the visit. In a different twist, however, he now has one. Barnett announced through Twitter on Tuesday that the Tigers became his seventh offer. He’s a 6-2, 175-pound wide receiver from Belleville (Mich.) who now holds offers from Auburn, Central Michigan, Iowa State, Kentucky, Michigan State, Missouri and Toledo. Despite his wide receiver categorization, Auburn might have more interest in Barnett as a defensive back in the 2019 class.