For weeks, Auburn has been the presumed favorite to sign Chandler Wooten. But his recent visit to Tennessee may have loosened the Tigers’ grip.
“That’s fair to say,” Wooten said when asked if his visit to Knoxville has impacted his recruitment. “The Tennessee coaches and I, we talk every day. A lot of those coaches have come in on my recruitment aside from (receivers coach Zach) Azzanni. I talk to (defensive coordinator Bob Shoop) every day, (linebackers coach Tommy Thigpen) every day. I talked to (Coach Butch Jones) last night.”
Wooten, a three-star outside linebacker, recently attended Tennessee’s Junior Day event on March 5, just weeks after he unofficially visited Auburn. The Tigers still maintain a slight lead, but the Volunteers appear to be closing the gap.
“I’m still leaning towards Auburn a little bit, but I’m also getting pulled in a couple of other directions at the same time,” said Wooten, who participated in the Nike regional camp at Buford High School over the weekend.
Florida and South Carolina are also contenders for the Kennesaw, Ga., native. Wooten is particularly interested in the Gamecocks, who, according to Wooten, rank him as their No. 1 linebacker, further clouding his looming decision.
“While you might think one thing one day, you feel a whole different way another,” Wooten said of the recruiting process. “As soon as I’ve made a complete decision, I’ll finally end my recruitment.”
What does Auburn have to do to maintain its advantage? Wooten points to being comfortable both academically and athletically. He’s taking into consideration the Tigers’ lack of depth at the linebacker position. Auburn lost three key starters to graduation and failed to sign more than one prospect in the 2016 cycle.
Tennessee, however, is returning a bevy of key contributors, one of a few differences Wooten highlighted between the two programs.
“Tennessee is on the rise,” Wooten said. “You can tell they’re a special program. Auburn, I wouldn’t say they’re in a rebuilding stage, but they have a little bit of work to do. If I go to Auburn, I definitely want to be a part of the solution.”
All rankings are according to the 247Sports Composite unless otherwise noted.