After signing just one running back in the 2016 recruiting cycle and losing a productive one in Peyton Barber to the pros, Auburn has a clear need at the position in 2017.
With Barber gone, the Tigers’ expected depth chart consists of former junior college transfer Jovon Robinson, junior Roc Thomas, sophomore Kerryon Johnson and new signee Malik Miller, a former three-star prospect. How Auburn will replace a 1,000-yard rusher in Barber in 2017, however, remains to be seen.
In the meantime, SEC Country examined the top running back targets who could bolster the position group next signing day.
Cordarrian Richardson, four-star running back, Memphis, Tenn.
Auburn is certainly in play for Richardson, the No. 5 running back in 2017. Assistant coach Tim Horton has led the charge for the four-star running back, whose reported 23 offers. Richardson is arguably one of the program’s top targets in this cycle, and he happens to play a position of need. The Tigers signed just one running back in 2016 in Miller. It appears Auburn is among Richardson’s early favorites.
Adarius Lemons, four-star running back, Clearwater, Fla.
Lemons reportedly holds Auburn at No. 2 behind North Carolina. The four-star running back is rated No. 12 at his position in 2017. Lemons was just offered by the Tigers on Feb. 9, but it would appear his interest in the program is steadily growing. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound rising senior figures to be a top target moving forward.
Cam Akers, four-star running back, Clinton, Miss.
The Alabama commit may be the most difficult prospect to sign among this group of running backs. Akers, rated as the No. 3 running back in the country, has been committed to the Crimson Tide since August. While he plans to visit Auburn unofficially, Akers admitted the stiffest competition Alabama faces is between in-state schools Ole Miss and Mississippi State. Nick Saban and his staff have already signed three running backs in 2017, Akers included. A crowded backfield could sway Akers to keep his options open in the coming months.
Trey Sermon, four-star running back, Marietta, Ga.
Auburn is among the early favorites for Sermon, who unofficially visited the Plains less than two weeks ago. It was the four-star running back’s first visit since the spring of last year. Sermon, rated as the No. 10 running back in the country, is considering a bevy of other schools but admitted his connection to Auburn has remained strong due in part to his relationship with Tim Horton. Sermon suffered a season-ending back injury last fall and said Auburn’s running backs coach supported him throughout his recovery. Auburn will be a major player in Sermon’s recruitment.
All rankings are according to the 247Sports Composite