Auburn will once again host a star-heavy recruiting lineup on Saturday.
The Arkansas midseason rivalry is the best on-the-field matchup remaining in Jordan-Hare Stadium this season. The Tigers are bringing in a bunch of out-of-state talent to check out Auburn on unofficial visits. There will also be a pair of high school teammates in town on official visits, as well.
It’s a big weekend for Auburn on the recruiting front, on multiple levels. If the Tigers make it a four-game winning streak, they can begin to capture some of that winning momentum on the recruiting trail. The two official visitors in town would fill major offensive needs for Auburn. This could be a big chance to convince unofficial attendees to make official visits or reconsider Auburn’s spot on the pecking order.
Big matchup for 2016. Big matchup for 2017 recruiting implications.
The official visitors
IMG Academy, the football factory in Bradenton (Fla.), will send two recruits to Auburn this weekend on official visits. No, neither of those prospects are named Kellen Mond.
Mond has all but shut down his recruitment. Texas A&M appears to have done enough to guarantee Mond’s services. But two of the biggest weapons around him on offense at IMG Academy still have Auburn in mind:
- 3-star Oregon tight end commit Tre’ McKitty
- 4-star center target Cesar Ruiz
McKitty has long been considered a potential flip. He chose Oregon in July and named Auburn as his second option. The Ducks have teetered some in 2016, and I’ve been told the long-distance concerns could play a factor. The Tigers desperately need a multipurpose tight end they can rely on and develop. McKitty is their top option, and they’ll give a solid go at him this weekend.
Ruiz is the No. 1 center prospect in the nation and No. 66 overall. When Herb Hand took over offensive line recruiting, he made the goal for potential recruits clear: He wanted the best offensive line class in the nation. As it stands, 2017’s lone 5-star commit is offensive lineman Calvin Ashley. Nick Brahms and Austin Troxell have immediate impact ability, if healthy. Brahms could play center, but they all fit better as guards and tackles. Ruiz would be the best possible addition to that equation.
The two official visitors are key because of team need and talent level. But the unofficial visitor list has some name value, as well. Several high-priority targets will travel from out of state to soak up the SEC West matchup.
As always, this list only consists of names SEC Country could confirm. Recruiting trips, often fluid, can change. If they do, updates will be made.
Here are some of the uncommitted, out-of-state visitors:
- 4-star safety Devon Hunter, Indian Trail (Va.)
- 4-star WR Jeremiah Holloman, Newton (Ga.)
- 4-star QB Justin Fields, Harrison (Ga.)
- 3-star OLB De’Andre Wilder, Carol City (Fla.)
- 4-star 2018 OL Jalil Irvin, Stephenson (Ga.)
- Unranked 2018 TE Brandon Shellnutt, Archer (Ga.)
In that group, Hunter and Holloman take priority. Hunter is a stud in the secondary and would be a major get to an already impressive pair of safeties. Holloman would fill a big need — the absence at wide receiver.
Fields is an interesting prospect. He’s shot up recruiting service boards this season. Auburn already has a 2018 quarterback commit, but Fields would be a pretty tough prospect to say no to. His offer list is piling up at rapid pace.
Wilder’s name hasn’t been regularly mentioned in the linebacker chase this fall, but he’ll travel up from Miami with five guests to check out Auburn. The primary names mentioned at that position have been KJ Britt, Will Ignont, Monty Rice and Tyler Taylor. If he likes his trip, Wilder could become a part of that discussion.
The 2018 guys have intrigue. Irvin picked up his long-awaited offer this week. He was originally committed to Michigan before backing off. He always considered Auburn a favorite to land him. He’ll be back on Saturday after taking in the LSU game. Shellnutt could be a ranked player in time. He’s an interesting visitor mainly based on the tight end confusion.
The uncommitted in-state visitor list includes several top wants, as well:
- 3-star ATH JaTarvious Whitlow, LaFayette (Ala.)
- 4-star 2018 DL Coynis Miller, Jackson-Olin (Ala.)
- 4-star wide WR Noah Igbinoghene, Hewitt-Trussville (Ala.)
- Unranked WR Jaylond Adams, Minor (Ala.)
There will certainly be others. The list will grow as the game approaches. But those four listed are interesting because of what they mean.
I’ve long stated my belief that Whitlow is a must-land for Auburn in this class. It still remains to be seen if Auburn values Whitlow’s dominant skill set as highly as I do, but there is no excuse for Auburn not to land Whitlow. The Tigers are the only big-time offer he has, and while others might come, Whitlow likes Auburn a lot. This experience would only help.
Miller will come with Auburn commit Tadarian Moultry, the teammates from Jackson-Olin in Birmingham (Ala.). Miller has a long way to go with his process, likely taking it into his senior season. But he’s been a regular at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Tigers need to pounce while they can.
Igbinoghene and Adams add themselves into potential wide receiver adds. That’s the big question right now. Who will Auburn get at the position? It’s Kodi Burns’ first full cycle as a recruiter, so it will be interesting to see what he can put together down the stretch.
Auburn will also have many of its commits attend the game, as well, to help draw future teammates:
- 4-star ATH Alaric Williams, Southside (Ala.)
- 4-star ATH Malcolm Askew, McAdory (Ala.)
- 4-star ATH Tray Bishop, Terrell Country (Ala.)
- 4-star LB Tadarian Moultry, Jackson-Olin (Ala.)
- 3-star LB Chandler Wooten, North Cobb (Ga.)