It all began Tuesday evening when Tray Bishop announced his de-commitment from Auburn.
The 24-hour recruiting news cycle began to take a roller-coaster effect for the Tigers. There were a few college decisions to be made public. For junior college signing day, Auburn had a few prospects expected to ink their final decisions.
Auburn had some misses. The Tigers also had some hits. Here’s a look back at the busy day that was in the Auburn recruiting world, in chronological order.
Jarrett Stidham officially signs with Auburn
This was all the Auburn fan base really wanted. If others signed or announced, it would’ve been a nice perk. The majority of the Tigers world cared much more about guaranteeing Auburn’s potential quarterback of the future finalized his verbal commitment.
Stidham did that before embarking on a much-needed vacation.
By Stidham signing, it meant two things. For starters, Auburn gathered some momentum and buzz, which likely will be carried throughout the contact period in January. It also permitted Gus Malzahn and other Auburn staffers to publicly comment on Stidham’s fast-approaching arrival on campus.
Malzahn spent a significant portion of his Wednesday press conference talking about Stidham. Check out more on that here, courtesy of SEC Country’s Justin Ferguson.
Tarik Black chooses Michigan
I swung and missed on this one in my Wednesday morning notebook. By the time the receiver from Connecticut decided, 100 percent of the 247Sports Crystal Ball selections went in Michigan’s favor. So it shouldn’t come as any surprise that my shot-in-the-dark bold prediction came up on the wrong end.
It hurts mostly for Auburn because Black was a guy who receivers coach Kodi Burns put a lot of emphasis on. The Tigers made regular trips up to the northeast to make in-home visits with Black during the contact period.
The Tigers only have one wide receiver in the class at this time — 3-star Noah Igbinoghene from Trussville (Ala.). There are a few other big fish out there such as Henry Ruggs, but it appears Auburn might have to extend some late offers to land the receiver class it wants.
Salvatore Cannella signs with the Tigers
Despite the Black miss, Auburn still picked up some recruiting steam midday. The Tigers scored their second signing of the day when JUCO tight end Salvatore Cannella picked up an Auburn hat instead of a Texas or Maryland one during a ceremony at Scottsdale C.C.
Cannella inked his paper work, and Malzahn had positive things to say Wednesday night about the former basketball player. Cannella’s route to Auburn is an interesting one.
He didn’t play football as a junior in high school, sticking instead to his first love of basketball. Cannella returned to football as a senior, but the late re-entry to the sport left him only with a preferred walk-on opportunity at Illinois State.
Cannella instead went the JUCO route, served as a part-time student as a freshman and practiced with the football team. Just from the spring practice tape, Cannella began receiving Division I attention. Auburn entered late, as did Texas. Those two rose to the top in the end.
The Tigers, ultimately, earned the inked paperwork. Stidham — I mean, whoever wins the starting job — has a big, pass-catching weapon now.
Brandon Martin reportedly picks Arkansas
This decision was supposed to be a day away. Auburn wasn’t expected to be much of a factor despite once holding a one-week commitment from the junior college wide receiver.
On Wednesday afternoon, reports surfaced that Martin already had made up his mind. Martin selected Arkansas over Auburn and LSU. The Razorbacks made a strong late push.
This news wouldn’t have meant much to Auburn at all, if Black hadn’t spurned the Tigers earlier in the day. But he did. So it gave a subtle second reminder that Auburn’s wide receiver recruitment has been less-than-stellar so far this cycle.
As mentioned previously, there are still a few top targets in play. But the Tigers appear to have some negative momentum when it comes to wide receivers. It will be interesting to see the Stidham effect, if there is one.
CJ Avery selects Louisville
It seemed for weeks like Auburn was the team to beat for Avery.
That was until his Louisville official visit. Avery indicated prior to the visit that the Cardinals could be a serious threat if it was a top-notch visit. Following the official visit, Avery said that it was everything that he could’ve expected and more. From then on, the Cardinals were the team to beat.
Avery’s announcement was a sour way to end a topsy-turvy Wednesday in the Auburn recruiting world. Including Bishop, it marked the second loss for Auburn in the defensive backfield in a 24-hour span.
The Tigers still have a chance with 4-star safety Devon Hunter, one of the last elite options left on Auburn’s board. Auburn may also have to re-open its consideration of a few under-the-radar prospects with offers that haven’t received much attention lately.