For the second time since Larry Porter joined Auburn’s staff, 4-star tight end Tyneil Hopper visited the Plains.
The Hopper and Porter relationship dates back to Porter’s time at North Carolina. Hopper’s brother plays for the Tar Heels now. When Porter joined the staff, one of his first calls went to Hopper, who made an unofficial visit on Porter’s first day on the job.
He returned Saturday to take in Auburn’s scrimmage. The bond with Porter will go a long way for Auburn going forward.
“He watched me grow up and become who I am today,” Hopper said. “As soon as he got here, he started recruiting me hard. I really enjoyed that and I really enjoy talking to him. Coach Porter wants me to keep working. He’s going to keep recruiting me as hard as he can and wants me to come here.”
Porter isn’t Hopper’s only connection to the Tigers.
His high school quarterback last season was Malik Willis, an Auburn early enrollee impressing this spring. Hopper said Willis had another standout day at the scrimmage in Jordan-Hare Stadium, but it’s the message Willis is giving him about non-football experiences at Auburn that make him feel like the Plains could be a future home.
“Malik loves it. He says it’s a great place to be, that the people treat you really good. And the food is good. He’s just enjoying the campus and enjoying football,” Willis said. “Auburn is a great place to be. I really like being here. It’s nice.”
Hopper also has offers from Alabama, Louisville, South Carolina, North Carolina and others.
He doesn’t have a decision timeline set, but said it won’t interfere with his 2017 season. Hopper said that means he’ll likely decide just prior to his senior season or just after. He’s ranked the No. 12 tight end in the nation, according to the 247Sports composite rankings.
There are no leaders at this time, but when Hopper makes that list, the Tigers will be in the mix.
“Auburn is going to be in it or near the top, but I’m still looking for the right place,” Hopper said.