It was a rare sight at Jackson-Olin High School last week when Tadarian Moultry stood up to claim his U.S. Army All-American game jersey.
Moultry is one of two linebacker commits for Auburn right now. The other, Chandler Wooten from North Cobb (Ga.), accepted his Under Armour All-American game jersey last month. Moultry made it a 2 for 2 so far for Auburn linebackers coach Travis Williams when he confirmed his Army Bowl selection with a ceremony at his high school.
Has Jackson-Olin ever had someone of Moultry’s caliber come through? Well, Moultry’s high school coach, Tim Vakakes, had a pretty blunt way of answering that question.
“Hell no. Look, this place hasn’t been to the playoffs since ’99. Haven’t had a winning season since ’99,” Vakakes said. “Two years ago, we won four games. Last year, we won three. Seven wins was the most consecutive wins since ’99. So, it’s been pretty bad. We’re 5-2 right now. … A lot of that has to do with TD (Moultry) and a lot of these seniors that have been busting their tails for four years.”
For Moultry, it’s just one of many dreams he hopes to fulfill in his playing career.
The Army Bowl game will take place on Jan. 7 in San Antonio. Auburn commit Tray Bishop expects to play in the game, as well. Moultry is a outwork-you kind of football player, and the Army Bowl is yet another opportunity to perform against elite competition — on a national scale.
“I was happy. It’s another game to get me ready for the next stage in my life, going to Auburn, playing for Auburn,” Moultry said. “There are going to be some big athletes just like them, fast athletes just like them. Seeing it there will just get me better.”
Don’t sweat Moultry’s official visits
Moultry is as firmly committed as you can be. Here are the statements he’s made regarding his commitment since the beginning of the 2016 football season:
Aug. 21: “Auburn was what started it. I always knew. I kinda figured. Me believing in the linebacker coach. I know there’s life after football. If I ever needed anything, they’d be there for me. Those coaches, they’re like family to me.”
Sept. 5: “I don’t want no chase (from other programs). I’m all about the grind. I don’t want nobody chasing me. I don’t want no fame. It gives you the wrong attention. I don’t want them chasing me. I’m committed here. I’m glad I’m committed here. I’m happy nobody else is going to recruit me because I shut it down myself. I didn’t tell coaches to shut it down. I told them, ‘When I’m committed, I’m going to pick someone and you do not have to recruit me no more.’ I don’t want anyone chasing me.”
Oct. 12: “It’s another game to get me ready for the next stage in my life, going to Auburn, playing for Auburn. … This spring break, I haven’t told nobody, but I’ll be going to Auburn this whole spring break to just learn plays and work out with them.”
If that doesn’t sell you on the solidity of Moultry’s commitment, I don’t know what will. But when you read the next part, you’ll still have the same human reaction fans have when they hear their commits so much as mention another university: Moultry plans on taking official visits.
From the beginning of his recruitment, Moultry said he always knew he’d remain in state. Ole Miss entered the equation, too, but it became an Auburn-Alabama battle for the No. 6 player in Alabama and the No. 6 inside linebacker in the country.
Ultimately, the ‘Bama fan, chose Auburn. But he’s still interested for the opportunity to explore other colleges that he normally wouldn’t get to see.
“If I do take them, it will be with my family,” Moultry said. “Places like Cal, Missouri, Florida, somewhere far that I’ve never been.”
Auburn told Vakakes that the Tigers encourage the soul-searching, of sorts. We’ve seen that with Alaric Williams and Malcolm Askew taking trips and seeming committed as ever to Auburn.
But one things Auburn fans should use to eliminate all concern is Vakakes’ golden rule for Jackson-Olin athletes. The same rule applies for 2018 defensive lineman Coynis Miller who was the central focus of the Wednesday notebook.
The rule, one many might like: no de-committing.
“But when you commit, you are done. You will not renege on a commitment. Take your time. Be damn sure. Be sure. When you commit, it’s over,” Vakakes said. “There won’t be any shadiness before Signing Day. There’s not going to be any drama coming out of Jackson-Olin.”
Moultry talks about Vakakes like a father figure. Vakakes has been the one to drive Moultry to practices, camps and games all across the Southeast. Just trust the fact that it’s a rule Moultry agrees with, so let him take his official visits in peace.
4-star CB names top 5, makes Auburn date
For the time being, Auburn only has two explicit defensive backs committed right now.
There are a few listed athletes who could fit into that rotation, too. But Wesley McGriff would like to grow the numbers on the back end, evidenced by the number of cornerbacks and safeties showing interest in the Tigers.
Here are the players currently committed likely to play in the secondary.
- 3-star safety Jordyn Peters, Muscle Shoals (Ala.)
- 3-star safety Carlito Gonzalez, Stephenson (Ga.)
- 4-star ATH Malcolm Askew, McAdory (Ala.)
- 4-star ATH Tray Bishop, Terrell Country (Ga.)
There are plenty of other top targets we’ve talked about in these notebooks: C.J. Avery, Devon Hunter, JaTarvious Whitlow, Shawn Shamburger, Russ Yeast, among others. But another has emerged this week with a top-5 announcement and an official visit plan.
Chris Henderson is a 4-star cornerback from Miami. The Crystal Ball has him heavy Florida — all 11 predictions to the Gators — but he put Auburn in his newly released top 5.
— Chris Henderson Jr. (@HendersonChris_) October 19, 2016
That’s Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, Miami and Auburn. I’ve heard Henderson has a desire to play in the SEC, and four of the five fit that category. Despite not being in the SEC, Miami still stands because of its proximity to home. Henderson backed of his commitment to the Hurricanes at the beginning of October.
Auburn appears to be playing from behind here, but the Tigers have landed an official visit. He will attend Auburn’s game on Nov. 5 against Vanderbilt. He’ll officially visit Georgia in December. Miami will get the final official visit at the end of January, just before Signing Day.