Auburn has had a regular presence at Crisp County High School for the last year.
The Tigers have focused their eyes on two big prospects from the Cordele, Ga., high school — Markaviest Bryant and Quay Walker. Both are high-caliber players, but Bryant’s recruitment is a little more pertinent because he’s in the 2017 class, so we’ll start there.
Only a couple hours from Auburn, Bryant has been able to make it to Jordan-Hare Stadium for the Texas A&M and LSU games this season. He will return for additional unofficial visits, whenever possible. But, for the time being, the Tigers should just work on solidifying an official visit.
That might be their best shot to land the 4-star defensive end.
“I’m kind of iffy on the last two (official visits),” Bryant told SEC Country.
Right now, Bryant knows for certain that he’ll take official visits to Alabama, LSU and Clemson. The dates aren’t set in stone, but they’ll come in December and early January. The other teams in contention for the last two official visits include Florida State, Georgia, Florida, Auburn and Tennessee.
Because of proximity, Bryant said he might shy away from taking official visits to Auburn and Georgia since he frequents those campuses so often. But, as he noted, a desire to meet with a coach on a more personal level during an official visit might be enough to choose the Tigers and Bulldogs for more than an unofficial visit.
But for Auburn to sign Bryant, the Tigers are going to have to do some serious work. He has a good relationship with defensive line coach Rodney Garner, but he’s indicated in the past that three straight years of turnover at defensive coordinator made it hard for Auburn to sway Bryant this offseason.
The progress the Tigers are showing helps.
“It’s starting to come together and show they can win games,” Bryant said. “Auburn looks great right now. They’re popping on all cylinders right now.”
But when he listed his “top six,” Auburn wasn’t explicitly mentioned, though he mentioned that a few schools are battling to make the list. The top six he laid out, however, were Tennessee, Alabama, LSU, Georgia, Florida and Clemson.
Bryant hopes to cut the list from a wavering top six to a solid top three. He plans on making that decision sometime in the near future, and his already determined official visit plan might be indicative of his decision to come.
The decision timeline for Bryant will likely extend, though. He’s always held that the end of his senior season would mark the end of his recruitment. His high school team is 8-0, so it has two regular-season games remaining, followed by a projected deep playoff run. But it’s still coming up on the end of his last season.
He’s not convinced by any team’s sales pitch yet, however. And he won’t decide until he does, which will likely come after he takes his official visits in early January.
“I said at the end of my senior season and, well, it’s about over,” Bryant said. “It’s about over, and I still haven’t found my home yet.”
Auburn finds itself in better position for 4-star outside linebacker Quay Walker, the No. 274-ranked overall player in the 2018 class. The Tigers will still be playing from behind, somewhat from their own doing.
It’s still a long way out for Walker, but he’s put Georgia, Florida and Auburn as his early favorites. Georgia’s and Florida’s efforts have left a large impression on Walker so far.
“Right now, I’d say it’s a three-team race with Georgia, Florida and Auburn,” Walker told SEC Country. “At the moment, Georgia and Florida, it’s maybe a tie. Auburn just isn’t recruiting me as hard as Georgia and Florida are.”
Walker communicates with Georgia linebackers coach Kevin Sherrer and Florida head coach Jim McElwain almost on a daily basis. His conversations with Auburn linebackers coach Travis Williams, his primary point of contact, are less frequent.
But Walker really likes Williams. He hopes the Auburn contact picks up as his recruitment progresses.
“Oh yeah, I want that from Auburn,” Walker said.
Florida State and Georgia Tech offered recently. The Seminoles have been been fast to start showing regular love to Walker, but he still considers Georgia, Florida and Auburn as his top three. But that decision is a long way off, and there are a number of other top-level programs that will try to jump in with offers.
Auburn will be there for the long haul.
“Auburn stands out academic-wise. When I first went down there, I had a talk with coach Gus Malzahn,” Walker said. “It wasn’t just about football. It was about life. Talking about that, talking about having a good education.”
Joey Gatewood challenges Shaun Shivers to a race … just kidding
Auburn landed a super-fast running back commit Wednesday. Shaun Shivers, from Chaminade-Madonna Prep (Fla.), has been clocked at 10.47 seconds in the 100-meter dash and 21.11 seconds in the 200-meter dash.
Captain obvious: That’s Auburn fast.
Fellow commit Joey Gatewood loves the new addition to the 2018 class. He’s been recruiting Shivers ever since Auburn offered him, and he had a good feeling Shivers would eventually land on the Plains. Gatewood is a fast prospect in his own right, a sub-4.6 40 guy.
“I’ll beat him in the 200,” Gatewood said before immediately backing off his claim. “You know he runs like a 21 in the 200? I run like a 23. He runs a low 21. It’s crazy.”
Gatewood hasn’t been able to watch Shivers work in person, but the pair have done plenty of communicating since Shivers scored his Auburn offer. According to Gatewood, Shivers had been planning on waiting until his senior year to make his pick.
The wait caught up to him, and it paid off for Auburn.
“I was excited to see him finally commit. He was saying he was going to wait until senior year. But he was like, ‘I can’t wait that long. I’m going to commit,'” Gatewood said.
Weekly Facebook Live chat
For those who don’t know, where have you been? This Thursday evening Facebook Live recruiting chat is the coolest things to happen since SEC Country launched a slick mobile app (that you need to download ASAP).
There was plenty to talk about this time around. Here are just a few of the hot-topic questions answered in the chat. You can view the video below.
- What does Will Ignont’s Tennessee commitment mean for Auburn?
- Why does Gatewood loves Rhett Lashlee and Auburn so much?
- What’s Auburn’s plan on the defensive line?
- After Shivers, who is the next to commit?