Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Auburn Tigers football recruiting notebook with Auburn recruiting beat writer Benjamin Wolk. These notebooks now will publish in the evening Sunday through Thursday. It’s Thursday, and SEC Country checks out where Auburn stands with its top-100 wide receiver targets in the 2019 class.
Where Auburn stands with top-100 WR targets
Auburn is shooting high at wide receiver, and why shouldn’t it?
The Tigers landed all-star classes at the position in 2016 and 2018. In those two groups, Auburn signed Nate Craig-Myers, Eli Stove, Seth Williams, Matthew Hill and others. The immediate need at wide receiver isn’t there, as proven by the Tigers’ willingness to have Noah Igbinoghene split time at cornerback.
That isn’t going to stop Auburn from trying to bring in the best of the best at wide receiver.
Auburn already has a commitment from 4-star wide receiver George Pickens, a 6-foot-5 prospect from Hoover, Ala. Pickens ranks as the No. 28 receiver nationally and the No. 165 overall prospect in the country. His recruiting stock likely will rise as the spring goes on.
I have spoken with sources close to three other SEC programs that have said flipping Pickens will be a primary goal this spring and summer. When multiple national powers clamor over a prospect, it usually is a sign of a rankings rise to come. (Side note: I don’t expect the other programs to be successful in their Pickens-related efforts).
Even if Pickens doesn’t rise into the top 100 overall, Auburn will be in the hunt for several top-100 wide receivers.
Here are the receiver prospects ranked inside the top 100 whom the Tigers are actively — and at least somewhat successfully — recruiting. Check out the latest updates on each below:
- 5-star Georgia commit Jadon Haselwood (No. 1 WR, No. 2 overall)
- 5-star prospect Frank Ladson (No. 3 WR, No. 15 overall)
- 4-star prospect Theo Wease (No. 5 WR, No. 30 overall)
- 4-star prospect Devonta Lee (No. 7 WR, No. 48 overall)
- 4-star prospect Trey Palmer (No. 16 WR, No. 86 overall)
- 4-star Miami commit Jeremiah Payton (No. 17 WR, No. 87 overall)
- 4-star prospect Jalen Curry (No. 18 WR, No. 90 overall)
- 4-star prospect Jashawn Sheffield (No. 19 WR, No. 98 overall)
Haselwood, much like Pickens, will be chased by any top program you can name. The Georgia commit visited with then-Georgia commit Rashad Cheney during Auburn’s only official visit-less weekend in January. He attended a pair of Auburn games last season. It isn’t likely the Tigers can pull off a flip from the Bulldogs, but — as is the case with others and Pickens — Haselwood is worth the attempt.
Ladson, Wease and Curry are three prospects on the 5-star cusp who seem open with their recruitments.
Ladson, previously committed to Florida, wants to take his time with the re-commitment process. Auburn will be a factor. Ladson told SEC Country earlier this week that, thanks to wide receivers coach Kodi Burns, Auburn is “involved a lot” in his recruitment. No date has been set for a visit, but he expects to visit The Plains soon.
Wease also hopes to visit soon, saying Wednesday that he plans to “catch a spring practice” at Auburn. Curry also said he expects to visit Auburn this spring.
Lee and Palmer are a pair of prospects from Louisiana who have Auburn among their top schools. The Tigers are on the outside looking in for both, but they’re in the conversation. Lee released a top 7 that included USC, Clemson, LSU, Texas, Arkansas, Ohio State and Auburn. The Tigers cracked the top 10 for Palmer, who has a top group that includes Auburn, Alabama, Florida State, Florida, LSU, Texas A&M, Tennessee, Georgia, Michigan and Mississippi State.
Auburn will take a similar approach with Payton as it will with Haselwood. Payton visited Auburn for junior day two weeks before committing to Miami. He said he plans to return to The Plains for a visit or two despite being committed to the Hurricanes.
Last but not least: Sheffield. He once was rated as a 5-star prospect and could return to that level despite playing independent school football in Georgia. Sheffield has developed a strong relationship with Burns, which has made Auburn a true contender. Sheffield was close to shutting down his process in the fall, but a coaching change at his original school of choice altered everything. The Tigers will try to get him — and his cornerback teammate Jaylin Simpson — on campus this spring.
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