Auburn entered Wednesday on the cusp of piecing together a top-10 class for the third consecutive year under coach Gus Malzahn.
With the help of five commitments, including one from the state of Georgia’s top prospect, Auburn may have done just that.
Report card: B+
Analysis: Auburn hit on almost every major target on its board on Wednesday, starting with five-star defensive tackle Derrick Brown. Rated the No. 1 prospect in Georgia, Brown adds tremendous depth to the Tigers’ defensive line and could very well be a plug-in player. He fills the void left behind by three-star defensive end David Marshall, who flipped to Georgia. The Tigers did, however, retain three-star safety Marlon Character, who showed considerable interest in South Carolina in the weeks leading up to Wednesday. They also added safety Daniel Thomas to bolster their depth in the secondary after missing on four-star Nigel Warrior, who signed with Tennessee. Offensively, Malzahn and wide receivers coach Dameyune Craig reeled in four-star receiver Nate Craig-Myers, the No. 6 wideout in the country. He joins the likes of fellow four-stars Kyle Davis and Eli Stove. The Tigers finished the day with just one commitment along the offensive line in Prince Sammons after whiffing on a few targets, Lucas Niang included, last Monday.
Boom City!! I know the people in Alabama are feeling better now. WDE for life
— Dameyune Craig (@CoachDCraig) February 3, 2016
Star of the class: Derrick Brown is, without a question, the headliner of the class. He’s an impact player who can see the field immediately. Auburn recruited him aggressively up until Wednesday’s ceremony and it paid dividends. Chalk it up as a win for defensive line coach Rodney Garner, who has done an excellent job of recruiting out-of-state defensive linemen over the past two years.
Three who could play next year: Brown, Craig-Myers and Character are three players from Wednesday who could see the field in some capacity next season. Brown is the most-college ready of the group, but the Tigers have clear needs at both receiver and defensive back.
Biggest surprise: Marshall wasn’t necessarily a surprise considering he visited Georgia twice before signing day. More than anything, this was Auburn’s biggest loss of the day.
The big fish that got away: Nigel Warrior was on Auburn’s radar heading into Wednesday, and the four-star safety told SEC Country after his announcement that the Tigers were relatively close to Tennessee. But the recent defensive coaching changes stalled Warrior’s relationship with the program and the Tigers were, ultimately, ‘too late’. Fortunately for Steele, Auburn landed both Character and Thomas.
— GoVolsXtra (@GoVolsXtra) February 3, 2016
Final rankings: No. 9, according to 247Sports.com; No. 7, according to Rivals.com; No. 12, according to Scout.com; No. 9, per ESPN.com
All rankings are according to the 247Sports Composite