Vanderbilt often gets a different type of player than most other SEC schools.
Because of the academic nature of the institution, the Commodores look for a special breed of student-athlete. Still, Vanderbilt is able to snag some of the best-of-the-best when it comes to football talent. Many of those athletes are from Auburn’s backyard.
Here’s a look at a few Vanderbilt players and what their Auburn-related recruiting process was like:
LB Zach Cunningham, Pinson Valley (Ala.): This is the obvious starting point. He was a 4-star recruit, yet still somewhat under the radar. Gus Malzahn and Rhett Lashlee recruited Cunningham to Arkansas State before they made the switch back to Auburn. A part of the 2013 class, Auburn began to chase Cunningham once Malzahn returned. Cunningham named Auburn his leader toward the end of his process, but officially visited Vanderbilt a few days later and picked the Commodores on Signing Day. Now he’s the leading tackler in the SEC.
DL Torey Agee, Opelika (Ala.): Right in Auburn territory, Agee never picked up an offer from the Tigers. He drew interest from Florida, Florida State and Auburn. Ultimately, his recruitment came down to a trio of academic institutions — Vanderbilt, Duke and Stanford. He picked the Commodores.
TE DeAndre Woods, Clay-Chalkville (Ala.): Ah, yes, the tight end position. As a recruit, he was a wide receiver prospect, however. At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds out of high school, Woods picked up offers from a number of upper echelon programs — Auburn, Arkansas and Southern Cal. He showed a lot of interest shortly after his Auburn offer in 2011, taking a few official visits. He attended the program’s junior day, as well. After that, the recruitment with Auburn tapered off. He committed to Mississippi State before de-committing and choosing Vanderbilt. Woods hasn’t done much since tearing his ACL last season, though.
This will now be included in every Friday notebook. It’s a way to keep the casual reader up to speed on how Auburn stands during the current recruiting cycle. There has been some shifting this week for the Tigers, since they picked up a commitment from 4-star linebacker KJ Britt.
Auburn now finds itself in 12th nationally, which is up three slots from where it was before the most recent addition. The Tigers are now sixth in the SEC behind Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Tennessee and Texas A&M. Auburn has the ability to catch Tennessee and A&M depending on how the season finishes up, but tracking down the top three won’t be likely.
Auburn’s 15 commitments fill a bunch of needs for the Tigers. They are all having successful senior seasons. But here are the top 5, in my mind, based on rankings and performance. Again, there are varying opinions on who the top players in the class are (no order), and a lot can change between now, Signing Day and when they finally take the field for Auburn.
- 5-star offensive tackle Calvin Ashley
- 4-star running back Devan Barrett
- 4-star linebacker Tadarian Moultry
- 4-star linebacker KJ Britt
- 4-star athlete Tray Bishop
New commitments, new de-commitments
Auburn has landed two prospects in the last two weeks. The first came in the 2018 cycle, as running back Shaun Shivers picked the Tigers. The other was Britt, who was just listed in the top-5 players for Auburn. Britt is mega-talented on the field, but his off-field persona also is a big reason why he cracks that top 5. The Tigers have lacked momentum since losing to Texas A&M. It looks like Auburn is finally trending back the other direction.
Breakdown by position
Quarterback (1): Tray Bishop
Running back (3): Devan Barrett, Alaric Williams, Octavius Matthews
Offensive line (3): Calvin Ashley, Nick Brahms, Austin Troxell
Linebacker (3): Tadarian Moultry, KJ Britt, Chandler Wooten
Cornerback (1): Malcolm Askew
Safety (2): Jordyn Peters, Carlito Gonzalez
Long snapper (1): Bill Taylor
Kicker (1): Anders Carlson
In-state commits: 8 — Williams, Matthews, Troxell, Moultry, Britt, Askew, Peters, Taylor.
Out-of-state commits: 7 — Bishop, Barrett, Ashley, Wooten, Gonzalez, Carlson, Brahms.
Other states represented: Florida (Ashley, Barrett, Brahms), Georgia (Bishop, Wooten, Gonzalez) and Colorado (Carlson).
Notable Auburn-Vanderbilt visitors
It’s not going to be Alabama-LSU, of course, but there will still be some visitors worth mentioning on the Plains this weekend. The Tigers are catching an official visit from an out-of-state defensive back and will host a couple players on the verge of offers.
As usual, The Tigers will have some top commits on hand to help the cause, as well:
- 4-star linebacker commit KJ Britt (official visit)
- 4-star linebacker commit Tadarian Moultry
- 3-star running back commit Octavius Matthews
- 4-star cornerback target Christopher Henderson (official visit)
- 3-star offensive line target Jordan Tucker
- 3-star wide receiver target Noah Igbinoghene
- 4-star athlete commit Malcolm Askew
- 3-star safety commit Jordyn Peters
- 4-star defensive line target Ryan Johnson
- 3-star safety target JaTarvious Whitlow