AUBURN, Ala. — Although Auburn commitment Tadarian Moultry recently received his 5th star for his elite talent at inside linebacker, the Tigers want to use him like Carl Lawson when he enrolls.
The plan goes as far as giving Moultry the same No. 55 as the NFL draft-bound defensive end. He’s waiting to inherit the No. 30 of rising senior Tre’ Williams, but he’ll fill the jersey number — and the position — of Lawson at first.
“They said they don’t want to put too much pressure on me, so I’ll be coming off the edge and getting the quarterback,” Moultry said Sunday following his official visit to Auburn. “They need somebody to get the quarterback.”
Moultry will enroll in a class that arrives immediately after Lawson heads to the NFL. Replacing Lawson’s talents as a pass-rusher is crucial for the Auburn defense’s success in 2017 — he had 9 of the Tigers’ 25 sacks and was responsible for 24 quarterback hurries last season.
The 5-star from Birmingham, Ala., is extremely versatile in a class that already has two other blue-chip linebackers on campus — K.J. Britt and Chandler Wooten. Auburn also is a finalist for 4-star linebacker recruit Tyler Taylor, who visited with Moultry over the weekend.
Moultry said his goal was to “make an instant impact” in 2017. And with all that talent at linebacker and a pressing need for pass-rushing help, Auburn wants Moultry to play the hybrid Buck defensive end/outside linebacker role Lawson dominated in 2016.
“I’ll be doing a lot of practicing coming off the edge,” Moultry said. “That plays a big role in college and the NFL.”
Moultry said he knows playing closer to the line of scrimmage in the SEC might mean adding more weight. But as of right now, Auburn’s coaching staff likes the tenacious Moultry the way he is.
“I can play at 240 (pounds) for my size,” Moultry said. “I can still be big but real solid. I can play now at 230, and I’m nothing but muscle. … They didn’t say nothing about my size. They just said, ‘You physical, you straight.'”
The Alabama native said he was “locked and loaded” at Auburn after his official visit, and he won’t take any more between now and National Signing Day.
Moultry solely is focused on getting ready to arrive on the Plains. One of his fellow Class of 2017 linebackers told him over the weekend what that will look like in the form of strength and conditioning.
“(Britt said) workouts are hell, which I figured, and conditioning,” Moultry said. “K.J. was telling me when I get that workout plan to make sure I do it and don’t skip nothing, because by the time you get here, you’re going to go through hell. I know if I’m doing it at my school by the time I get here, it won’t be so hard.”
Moultry signs with Auburn in less than two weeks and plans to spend his spring vacation on the Plains.
Call it early tutoring for a star recruit who will follow in the footsteps of a departing Auburn star.
“I’m ready to sign and get out of high school,” Moultry said. “My boy K.J., he’s here with Chandler (Wooten) and Malcolm (Askew), so they’re learning plays. I’m going to make sure this spring break I’ll be down here so I can learn the plays and workout so I won’t be so far behind.”