Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Auburn Tigers football recruiting notebook with Auburn recruiting beat writer Benjamin Wolk. Today, we map out what Auburn football fans should expect on the recruiting trail for National Signing Day.
The big day finally is here.
It might not have as much drama for Auburn as a standard National Signing Day, but it’s always a day filled with excitement. For now, Auburn sits at 20 commitments in the 2017 class. That includes Bill Taylor — who expects to blueshirt, thus counting toward the 2018 class instead of the 2017 class.
The Tigers have a handful of spots remaining after a number of key misses in January — Devon Hunter, Ryan Johnson, Kai-Leon Herbert, to name a few. Auburn’s staff has no intention of reaching for player it doesn’t see as college ready, which might result in a couple offseason grad transfers to fill the scholarship numbers.
It’s also always possible much more drama transpires on National Signing Day than expected. The Tigers are in the mix for a few 4-star prospects who will announce or re-affirm their decisions on Wednesday. College football recruiting is a wild ride, and crazier things have happened.
But if there are any major surprises coming, Auburn did an impressive job keeping it silent.
There will be all-day recruiting coverage from Benjamin Wolk (@benjaminwolk), Lauren Shute (@LShute13) and Justin Ferguson (@JFergusonAU). Be sure to follow along. It started bright and early with the 6 a.m. ET live blog.
Here are all the specifics Auburn team fans need to know about National Signing Day in 2017.
National Signing Day announcements
There are 4 announcements to watch. The first 2 are ceremonies to tune in for. The third is a ceremony that isn’t expected to have drama, but it might be Auburn’s best shot at surprise. The fourth might not have a committable offer to the Tigers, but if he does, that will be something to watch.
- 8:30 a.m. — 4-star LB Tyler Taylor to decide between Auburn and LSU
- 11:15 a.m. — 4-star DE Markaviest Bryant to decide among Auburn, Georgia and LSU
- TBD — 4-star LB Markail Benton to finalize decision with Alabama (maybe)
- TBD — 3-star DT Tyrone Truesdell to receive go-ahead from Auburn (maybe)
Markaviest Bryant has become as familiar with Auburn as any other school over the years. The proximity from Crisp County makes it an easy day trip. His friendship with cousin Montravius Adams gave him even more reason to visit the Plains. Perhaps no visit to Auburn showed Bryant as much as his most recent official visit. Other prospects were on campus, but the Tigers hosted Bryant almost as if it was a 1-on-1 visit. Kevin Steele and Rodney Garner outlined their exact plan to use Bryant early and often. Bryant has a better chance to see the field early — as a Buck defensive end — at Auburn than the other schools. Georgia has always been the favorite, but Auburn’s late push might have been the only thing strong enough to yank him away from the in-state school.
Tyrone Truesdell took his official visit to Auburn this weekend and left without a guarantee of a committable offer. Truesdell’s recruitment appears to be directly linked to that of the other defensive lineman Auburn is targeting. With Ryan Johnson’s commitment to Stanford, the need for Truesdell made an upward bump. Bryant and Truesdell play different positions, but if Bryant goes elsewhere, the Tigers will only have 1 defensive lineman in the class. Truesdell is the only known defensive line target to take an official visit in January. Johnson’s choice made Truesdell a more likely take.
Tyler Taylor didn’t commit to Auburn during his official visit on the weekend of Jan. 28. That didn’t bode well for Auburn. LSU has been the team of choice for the week and a half since. A person close to Taylor’s recruitment said the coaching staffs were alerted of Taylor’s leanings over the weekend. LSU’s staff has been confident the past few days. Auburn’s hasn’t been. It’s possible Taylor shocks everyone with his early-morning announcement, but LSU is the favorite.
Markail Benton made an official visit to Auburn this weekend despite his subsequent denial. Benton went to Tuscaloosa the next day and everyone around Benton — himself, his father and his coach — have said it’s all Alabama as he heads into National Signing Day. There might’ve been the hint of a little rivalry recruiting spice over the weekend, but don’t expect Benton to waver from his Crimson Tide commitment.
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