Auburn’s 14 commitments have had a strong start to the 2016 high school season.
For many of them, that continued this past Friday. The Auburn coaches finally hit the recruiting trail (more later) and the Tigers commits who played in front of those staff members showed their future coaches why Auburn should be so happy for them to get on campus.
Here’s a look at some of the top performances:
- 4-star ATH Tray Bishop spent his Saturday in Athens, Ga., to soak in the wacky Georgia-Tennessee finish. Before that, however, Bishop was dismantling Baconton Charter (Ga.), 40-0. The Terrell County quarterback added to his impressive season stats with 140 yards rushing, including a 65-yard score.
- 4-star RB Devan Barrett puts up stupid numbers. I don’t know how else to describe it. The Auburn commit tallied 334 total yards and 3 touchdowns in the Tampa Catholic (Fla.) 25-10 victory in its homecoming game. For some perspective, Barrett’s 256 rushing yards were 7 yards shy of the opponent’s total offense.
- 4-star ATH Alaric Williams didn’t get the win against Auburn commit KJ Britt, but Williams still had a typical performance — well, typical for him. In his first game back from a knee injury, Williams dashed for 104 yards and 3 touchdowns. Williams’ 3 touchdowns were the only scoring plays for Southside School (Ala.) on Friday.
- 4-star ATH Octavius Matthews had the best showing of his Itawamba C.C. junior college season Thursday against Pearl River C.C. Matthews scored 2 touchdowns — one on a 1-yard run and the other on a 2o-yard scamper. Matthews finished the game with 18 carries for 88 yards and 2 touchdowns, averaging nearly 5 yards per carry.
- 4-star 2018 QB Joey Gatewood continued to split time at the quarterback position and filled his role elsewhere on the field. However, he took his first touch of game Friday for a 60-yard touchdown. He had a 8-yard score later in the game. Gatewood also had 29 passing yards in the blowout win for Bartram Trail (Fla.).
So, if you remember, I unveiled the midseason “High School Heisman” last week, which basically is a very unofficial crown for the Auburn commit who is playing the best football, or at least putting up the most mind-boggling stats.
How do the outcomes on Friday change things? Well, it hasn’t — much. I hinted strong performances could eliminate some of the offensive bias. The only catch: The best strong performances came from offensive commits.
There is a new leader; here’s how this irrelevant trophy leaderboard looks.
- Devan Barrett
- Alaric Williams
- Octavius Matthews
I think the breakdown of the performances above provides all the explanation you need to understand the order.
5-star OL commit enjoys Maryland visit
It’s mentioned above that Tray Bishop attended a big-time SEC football game Saturday. But perhaps the more interesting visitor to follow is 5-star offensive line commit Calvin Ashley.
There is no reason to believe Ashley is imminently on flip or de-commit watch, but he’s one of the many commits who are in the “let’s see how things play out for Auburn” category. Most of the recruits in this department are curious about coaching stability. Wins the last two weeks have helped ease those concerns.
Still, Ashley took a visit to the hometown Terrapins and seemed to enjoy the experience.
I had a good visit at UMD today! #GoTerps ????
— Calvin Ashley (@whiteboii_Cali) October 2, 2016
Coaches out on recruiting trail
With the front-loaded home schedule, Auburn’s coaches haven’t had to do much recruitment traveling so far this season — the recruits have been coming to them.
With Louisiana-Monroe at Jordan-Hare on Saturday, many of the most-coveted recruits headed elsewhere (primarily UGA-Tennessee and Clemson-Louisville). That meant it was time for Auburn’s staff to begin using some of the 42 Friday night visits allotted to college programs.
The head man himself, Gus Malzahn, took a trip to Terrell County to see Tray Bishop and watch Auburn’s only 2017 quarterback commit torch the competition.
— Keith Niebuhr (@Keith247Sports) September 30, 2016
Devan Barrett also had his monster showing with an Auburn staffer present. Running backs coach Tim Horton scooted down to Tampa (Fla.) before jetting back to the Auburn game on Saturday. He had to enjoy what he saw from the future of the Tigers tailback position.
With an Auburn commit and two targets — one in the 2019 class — playing in Oxford (Ala.) on Friday, Travis Williams made the trip north to see Alaric Williams, KJ Britt and Clay Webb. Realistically, he wanted to make his presence felt for Britt, who is one of Auburn’s top wants at this time.
Visitors at ULM game
It didn’t have the star power like the Clemson, Texas A&M and LSU games.
However, there was an LSU commit — Tory Carter — in attendance. The 2-star fullback — and his trendy hair — arrived at Auburn to watch the Louisiana-Monroe matchup.
With Les Miles’ firing, it’s less certain what LSU’s offense will look like in the future. The fullback position has been a staple for LSU’s pro-style offense. Will that change? If it does, Auburn might be an alternative option for Carter, though he remains committed to LSU at the moment.
JaTarvious Whitlow also attended the matchup. Whitlow is an interesting prospect. He was mentioned in the first 2017 class projections but was left off the most-recent one released Friday. He likes Auburn, and the Tigers are by far his best option at the moment, but Auburn might be taking its time with Whitlow.
If you look at his production on the high school field, it’s a mystery as to why teams aren’t offering him — and why Auburn would hesitate to add him. Either way, Whitlow watched the 58-7 shellacking Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium.