Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Auburn Tigers football recruiting notebook with Auburn recruiting beat writer Benjamin Wolk. It’s Thursday, and SEC Country takes a deeper look at Auburn’s recruiting board.
Top most-wanted prospects, by position
- Quarterback — Emory Jones: This almost seems impossible at this point, but the communication is still there. Jones is committed to Ohio State and has been for quite some time. With that said, I’m not ruling out a flip. It’s just that, if a flip is going to happen, it’ll be to Alabama. Jones has visited the Crimson Tide three times already this fall, and he could be taking an official visit for a fourth. This is a pipe dream after the Justin Fields commitment to Georgia.
- Running back — James Cook: Auburn has worked tirelessly to get Cook on a visit throughout the spring, summer and fall. On every occasion, the Tigers have been unable to do so. Meanwhile, Georgia has hosted him twice, including on an official visit. I’d still expect Cook to take an official visit to Auburn before making any kind of final decision, but Georgia’s going to be a tough beat, if not impossible.
- Wide receiver — Justyn Ross: I have my Crystal Ball for Clemson, but there’s a ton of time between now and decision day, which will likely be National Signing Day in February. There is plenty of reason for the Tigers to find optimism with Ross. He’s visited Auburn more than anywhere else, and it’s not close. Sure, that has a lot to do with his Phenix City, Ala., proximity to Auburn, but he’s visiting regularly. His last two visits have been back-to-back weeks with his family, who Ross says feels more comfortable at Auburn than anywhere else.
- Tight end — Luke Ford: Here’s another one that’s going to be a tough sell. Ford visited with the family this summer and always said he wanted to come back. But Alabama and Georgia are his top two, and obviously those two programs are playing at the highest of levels right now. On top of that, his relationship with Justin Fields revved up Georgia’s chances when the 5-star quarterback committed. That might’ve been Auburn’s best shot at Ford, landing Fields. Instead, the Tigers have, yet again, not utilized the tight end position in a way most prospects would like.
- Offensive line — Trey Hill: Hill, in my mind, will come down to Auburn and Georgia. It’s too early to rule out Southern Cal, Clemson, Florida State and others just yet — considering Hill won’t ever rule anyone out until he commits. With that said, Hill has popped up in Athens, Ga., or Auburn, Ala., for almost every game week of the season so far, which seems to be a telling sign of where things are trending. At Georgia, he has the recruiting friendships and his strong relationship with offensive line coach Sam Pittman. At Auburn, he has the laid-back family style and the easier access to playing time. How Hill formulates his decision will make or break Auburn fan happiness.
- Defensive line — Richard Jibunor: Some might consider him more of a linebacker than a defensive lineman, but I place Jibunor here for two reasons. One, most of the sources I’ve talked to expect Jibunor’s body to develop into what Auburn would want from its Buck edge rusher position. On top of that, Rodney Garner has played a key role in Jibunor’s recruitment (though so has Travis Williams). Jibunor’s decision is about a month or more away. Tennessee seems like a tough place to commit to right now. Florida has been standing out in Jibunor’s mind. But when it’s all said and done, I think Auburn’s the choice.
- Linebacker — Quay Walker: This would go a long way in terms of recruiting confidence for the program. Auburn has already beaten out Alabama for Asa Martin and Coynis Miller. But how big would it be if the Tigers could flip Crimson Tide commit Quay Walker? It would be massive. It’s still a little too early to tell here, but the fact Walker has visited multiple times this fall is telling. It may not be enough to flip, but it’s certainly making him think about it.
- Cornerback — Christian Tutt: 247Sports reported Tutt’s intention to take an official visit. With so much uncertainty at cornerback, it’s tough to peg the top want, but Tutt appears to be it. He once had a top group of Alabama, Florida State, Ohio State and Georgia, but he backed off. He might take an official visit to a few of those schools, but if he makes it to Auburn, I like the Tigers’ chances.
End of a recruitment coming Thursday
Thursday will be the last day of Adam Anderson’s recruitment.
The 5-star linebacker from Rome, Ga., will have a college decision. He previously committed to Georgia and then de-committed. Then he committed to LSU and later de-committed from there. After this decision, the whole process is going to be closed down.
One thing I can confirm: The pick won’t be Auburn.
He visited Auburn for the last visit of his summer, which offered a small piece of hope. But ultimately Georgia and Alabama were too tough to overcome. Those are the two programs this decision will come down to, though, it’d be a major surprise to see Anderson choose any school other than Georgia. That’s where his heart is. It’ll bring his recruitment full circle.
Auburn will have to turn elsewhere.
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