Auburn’s 2018 recruiting class is getting closer to completion.
The Tigers’ defensive class added another major piece over the weekend. Four-star defensive tackle Coynis Miller — perhaps the top defensive prospect remaining — chose Auburn over Alabama and Florida. It was a big addition, but the Tigers aren’t finished just yet.
Half of Auburn’s 14 commitments are on the defensive side of the ball. In the projection below, I’ve provided my most recent expectation of what should be expected from the class going forward.
Check out the SEC Country Auburn defensive class projection for 2018:
Safety (4): 4-star prospect Quindarious Monday (Atlanta, Ga.), Jamien Sherwood (Jensen Beach, Fla.), Kolbi Fuqua (Cordova, Ala.), Josh Marsh (Decatur, Ala.)
There isn’t much to report at safety.
Auburn sought out this position group from the beginning of the process, knowing that it was a major need heading into the 2018 and 2019 seasons. The Tigers landed Kolbi Fuqua at A-Day. Quindarious Monday was next in mid-July. Jamien Sherwood visited throughout the summer and finished it up with an August decision. Josh Marsh camped and committed all in the same day.
And there really isn’t much more to it than that. Clemson will try to flip Monday, but the Tigers just had another safety commit last week, which is likely an indication of how they believe things stand with Monday. Florida won’t end up having luck with its attempt to flip Sherwood.
Not in the class: Joseph Foucha, Juanyeh Thomas, Brendon Harris and Myles Mason.
Cornerback (1): Derek Turner (West Feliciana, La.)
I’ll be the first to admit that the cornerback position is nearly impossible to project at this time.
I could see it going a variety of ways. Auburn could take a high school cornerback. The Tigers could welcome one junior college cornerback. Or they could accept one from each level.
Secondary coach Greg Brown has a historical track record of finding gems from the JUCO ranks. Saivion Smith and Keith Washington are the primary options from there so far, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see several more names emerge in the coming weeks as further junior college evaluations are made.
From the high school ranks, a very similar process will take place. With that said, I’m sticking with Derek Turner as the lone cornerback in the class because, when it’s all said and done, coaching staffs often like to go with what they know. Turner camped with the Tigers this summer. He stayed for a cookout the next day.
That familiarity will help when the Tigers try to sort it all out.
Not in the class: Smith, Washington, Christian Tutt, CD Daniels, Kyler McMichael, JaKorey Hawkins and Jamari Brown.
Defensive line (5): 4-star prospect Coynis Miller (Birmingham, Ala.), Daquan Newkirk (Orlando, Fla.),Andres Fox (Mobile, Ala.), 4-star recruit Richard Jibunor (Athens, Ga.), Caleb Johnson (Columbus, Ga.)
Things became a little bit clearer the last couple weeks.
Daquan Newkirk is solid as ever, and nothing has changed there.
But Miller officially committed to the Tigers on Saturday. He’d been in every single SEC Country Auburn class projection in spring, summer and fall, so it wasn’t a surprise to see him finally join the class last weekend. That makes the need for defensive tackles going forward much less important.
Andres Fox recently informed the recruiting world of his “silent commitment” to a school. I have pretty high confidence that it’s Auburn. If so, the defensive end who will likely develop into a tackle would wrap up any interior need by the Tigers.
Richard Jibunor makes the class, as he has for every edition. It wouldn’t surprise me if he was the next to publicly commit when he makes his decision in November.
The last name on the list returns after a one-month layoff: Caleb Johnson.
He visited for the Auburn-Ole Miss game, and it’s really down to three schools for him — Auburn, Tennessee and Georgia. He visited Georgia last weekend, and I think he’d commit if the Bulldogs let him. Tennessee recruits him the hardest, but with the more than likely staff change there, Auburn seems like the most logical landing spot right now.
He likely projects as a strongside defensive end at the next level.
Not in the class: Kayode Oladele, Brenton Cox, John Mincey, Caleb Tannor and Tobe Umerah,
Linebacker (2): 4-star recruit Michael Harris (Tucker, Ga.), 4-star prospect Quay Walker (Cordele, Ga.)
Michael Harris has been the lone linebacker in the class for the last few months. He’s solid and playing at a high level for Tucker High School.
The second prospect to join the class at linebacker is a little less clear.
I’m going with the wow factor a little bit on this one, but it also might double as the most likely addition. Quay Walker is committed to Alabama. Nothing has changed there. But he’s shopping around. He visited Auburn three weeks ago and Florida State two weeks ago. Don’t be surprised to see him back on the Plains for Georgia and Alabama to end the season.
Ultimately, it’s not going to be easy to pry him away from the Crimson Tide. But, if anyone can do it, I think it’s linebackers coach Travis Williams.
Not in the class: Channing Tindall, JJ Peterson, La’Dedric Jackson and Zakoby McClain