The two-week break between the Auburn visit Sept. 24 and the Texas A&M visit on Saturday gave junior college recruit Tyree Owens some much-needed time to ponder his options.
The 6-foot-5, 295-pound defensive lineman enjoyed his Auburn visit and considered the Tigers and Aggies to be his one-two punch atop his list. But with his first visit to a Texas A&M game approaching, the allure of College Station began to steal Owens’ heart before the Texas A&M-Tennessee game began.
In the moments leading up to the big SEC matchup, Owens tweeted his intention to commit to Texas A&M over Auburn and others.
“It was just something about it. Once I got on campus, it was just like, this is my next home. I could see myself playing there,” Owens told SEC Country. “After going to the field before the game, going to the locker room and what not, it was just this is definitely where I wanted to play.”
Owens praised the coaching ability and attention he received from Auburn defensive line coach Rodney Garner. He did the same for coaches at Kentucky and Mississippi State. But, it came down to his bond with Texas A&M defensive tackles coach David Turner that drew him to the Aggies.
His immediate reaction to Kyle Field and the 106,00o-plus fans on hand put the final touches on his decision.
“The coaches were great. Auburn had great coaches over there. But I just felt like I had the best connection with Coach Turner. He’s going to be an amazing coach for me. And then, of course, the fans,” Owens said. “I was doing a Facebook Live thing. I thought it might be 100 people that would see it at most. It ended up being 30-something thousand people that ended up seeing.”
Owens was treated to an energizing double OT game, too. He will be a mid-year enrollee out of Copiah-Lincoln CC (Miss.).
High school performances
Bye weeks, injuries and Hurricane Matthew cancellations reduced the number of Auburn commitment performances Friday.
There still were a few future Tigers in action and they had mostly dominant individual showings with solid team successes. While not a comprehensive list, here is a capsule of the top outings by Auburn commits this weekend.
- 5-star OL commit Calvin Ashley, St. John’s College High (Washington): Ashley’s team won its game in convincing fashion 48-7 against St. Mary’s Eyken (Md.). Ashley & Co. are averaging 30.3 points per game this season with 5-2 record.
- 4-star ATH commit Alaric Williams, Southside School (Ala.): He’s back, folks. Williams has put together two stellar weeks since returning from a knee injury. He carried the ball 10 times for 189 yards and 3 touchdowns, including touchdown runs of 76 yards and 61 yards.
- 4-star ATH commit Malcolm Askew, McAdory (Ala.): Askew continued to lead his high school down a winning path as quarterback with a 30-13 victory. He completed 4 of 14 passes for 58 yards, including a 34-yard connection.
- 3-star OLB commit Chandler Wooten, North Cobb (Ga.): Wooten’s high school had a major rivalry game Friday against state power McEachern. Wooten’s defense stood strong, but fell in a tight 17-10 battle. However, the biggest thing to happen to Wooten this week was picking up an Ohio State offer — another sign he’s likely underrated as a 3-star.
- 4-star ATH commit Octavius Matthews, Itawamba C.C. (Miss.): Matthews continued showing his ability as a rusher and receiver with 10 carries for 64 yards. He added 2 catches for 12 yards.
- 3-star safety commit Jordyn Peters, Muscle Shoals (Ala.): Peters has the most fun box scores to follow this season. His Muscle Shoals defense held its opponent to a season-low points in the 19-7 win. He intercepted a pass on the final drive of the night. But Peters’ highlight came on a 43-yard run on a fake punt direct snap that set up a touchdown.
Recruit reaction to win vs. MSU
At halftime of the Mississippi State game, Auburn players, coaches and fans began feeling much more comfortable with what the Tigers are building this season. That confidence extended to recruits, as well.
WAR EAGLE!!! ?
— Shaun Shivers (@V8Blazing) October 8, 2016
WAR DAMN EAGLE WAR DAMN EAGLE!!!! ?
— Shaun Shivers (@V8Blazing) October 8, 2016
Scoop & Score‼️ 35-0 #WDE
— Malcolm Askew® ? (@MacAskew4) October 8, 2016
3 touchdowns coming off the bench NOBODY seen that coming.
— On The Way Duece ! ™ (@Humble10_) October 8, 2016
Despite the foot-off-the-gas second half, those pro-Auburn comments went beyond halftime. The Tigers have shown what they’re capable of this season, easily handling an SEC West foe. Looking at the rest of the national landscape, losses to Clemson and Texas A&M can be argued as the best combination of defeats in the country.
Momentum is returning, and here’s how some recruits reacted postgame.
Askew: “One heck of a win for us. Also great that it was out on the road in that type of environment. The offense clicked on all cylinders. The defense was amazing. This win sets the tone for a great season ahead.”
Peters: “Loved it. Great win. It’s definitely a morale booster.”
Defensive line target Markaviest Bryant: “That was a great win yesterday and the team looked real impressive.”
Wooten: “They did what I expected them to do. They dominated in all three phases.”
Them boys getting right!!
— Calvin Ashley (@whiteboii_Cali) October 8, 2016
— Joey Gatewood (@Joey1gatewood) October 8, 2016
Expect bye-week coaching visits
With a bye week ahead, be on the look out for updates on Auburn coaches hitting the recruiting trail.
The Tigers have regained some potential momentum, not picking up a commitment since the Aug. 19 addition of Jordyn Peters. On the flip side, Auburn has avoided any major disasters, which has kept the already-built 2017 class mostly intact.
I’d expect this week to be a recruiting-heavy experience, looking to fill out the final 12 or so spots in 2017 and beginning to establish depth alongside Joey Gatewood and Daquan Newkirk in 2018.