Herb Hand’s arrival on The Plains come at an opportune time.
After signing just two offensive linemen in the 2016 cycle, including a former defensive end-turned-offensive tackle, Auburn will look to retool at the position in 2017. Expect the Tigers to sign four or five offensive linemen this year.
SEC Country examined the Tigers’ top offensive line targets in this recruiting cycle.
Kendall Randolph, four-star offensive tackle, Madison, Ala.
Randolph, one of Auburn’s top in-state targets, appears to be trending towards the Tigers following his recent stop at The Plains on Feb. 20. The four-star offensive tackle figures to be one of the top offensive line targets in 2017. Randolph told SEC Country he feels like a priority, and his growing relationship with Hand will be key.
“Right now, we’re pretty tight,” Randolph said of Hand.
Rated the No. 21 offensive tackle in his class, Randolph is a name to keep a close eye on moving forward.
Netori Johnson, four-star offensive guard, Ellenwood, Ga.
Auburn, Georgia and Alabama are the front-runners at this point. Johnson, rated the No. 4 offensive guard in 2017, was one of several recruits in attendance for the Tigers’ Junior Day event in February. He plans to announce his official leaders in the coming weeks, and Auburn could very well be at the top of his list with Hand now in the fold.
“Herb Hand, that’s my dog,” Johnson told SEC Country in February. “I’m liking him. I’m digging him. He’s a great coach. We sat up there, talked about my film. He taught me some things in a matter of a few minutes.”
But the Tigers are in for a fight. The Bulldogs and the Crimson Tide have positioned themselves nicely, and Johnson’s recruitment likely won’t be over until January of 2017.
Austin Troxell, four-star offensive tackle, Madison, Ala.
An in-state battle appears to be brewing between Auburn and Alabama for the four-star prospect. Troxell was in attendance for the Tigers’ Junior Day event back in February, and he’ll likely be a regular on The Plains in the coming months. Troxell, rated the No. 16 offensive tackle in the country, is one of Auburn’s top priorities at the position.
Robert Hainsey, four-star offensive guard, Bradenton, Fla.
Hand’s arrival at Auburn will certainly work in the program’s favor for the IMG Academy standout. Hainsey is believed to be leaning towards Penn State, Hand’s old post. Now with Hand on The Plains, the Tigers stand a chance to sign the No. 3 guard in the country. Hainsey was offered by Auburn soon after Hand was made part of the coaching staff in January. It could prove difficult for Hand to sign Hainsey away from the Nittany Lions, given that he hails from Pennsylvania.
All ratings and rankings are from the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted