AUBURN, Ala. — On Zion Puckett’s fourth trip to Auburn, the Tigers made their move.
The Spalding, Ga., athlete had been to Auburn a few times before. His Friday-to-Sunday trip for Big Cat Weekend provided a new type of opportunity to interact with fellow recruits and Auburn coaches. After a meeting with Gus Malzahn to end his trip, Puckett declared the Tigers as the leader in his recruitment, which includes competition such as Ohio State, Alabama and Tennessee.
“Right now, Auburn stands very high. I just got done talking to coach Malzahn, and I believe they’re No. 1,” Puckett said. “The thing that was different about this was, throughout the weekend with Big Cat, I got the chance to be around the top recruits and just be able to bond with all the coaches.What sticks out for Auburn is I feel like this is a good fit for me.”
Puckett placed Alabama at No. 2. Tennessee and Ohio State are others to watch. He’ll visit Tennessee on June 22.
When Puckett wasn’t with Auburn coaches or other recruits, he spent time with offensive lineman Brodarious Hamm, a former Spalding (Ga.) teammate. The multi-night stay gave Puckett the opportunity to experience life similar an Auburn student-athlete.
Puckett is listed as a 4-star wide receiver, the 223rd-ranked player in the country.
Most schools are recruiting him differently than that, however. They all like him on the offensive side, but he has a strong defensive back skill set, as well. Auburn spoke with Puckett on his visit more about defensive fit than offensive fit and told him his versatility would give the Tigers the ability to play at cornerback, safety or nickel.
“Right now, it’s still athlete, but I’m mainly focusing on defense. It’s really nothing different [than other schools]. Everyone has done the same thing about being an athlete, wanting me to play both sides,” Puckett said. “I prefer to play whatever is good for the team, whatever helps the team.”
Puckett doesn’t plan to make a decision until midway through his senior season. He will graduate in December and enroll early at his school of choice.