Tigers in the Top Ten Recruiting Again!
Will any newcomers make a big impact, like Marlon Davidson did?
(Photo by Acid Reign)
War Eagle, everybody! Another national signing day has come and gone, and I know I’ll breathe easier in the coming months. I look forward to this circus every year with about the same amount of enthusiasm as I’d have for a trip to the dentist. Now, the first step has been taken for the future Auburn Tigers. Some will toil in obscurity, some will fail, and some will be stars. Only time will tell each player’s fate.
This year, the Auburn Tigers finished 9th in the nation overall, the 5th straight year that Auburn has finished in the top 10. I have to take my hat off to the coaching staff. Considering all of the invective and “hot seat” rhetoric swirling around social media and other outlets this fall, it’s an amazing finish. I was quite worried that at least a few commits would flip at the last minute.
As stellar as Auburn’s recruiting record is, it is important to note that that recruiting score places Auburn 3rd in the SEC West behind Alabama and LSU. The Tigers are 4th overall in the SEC with Georgia also finishing ahead of the Tigers. Auburn plays all of these teams each year. There is a reason that the SEC West is the toughest division in college football. The worst of the SEC West this year in recruiting was Ole Miss, which finished 36th.
As I do each year, I’m going to go through the team position by position and see which of the newcomers might be able to help Auburn early.
Tyrone Truesdell, Alec Jackson
Auburn loses Montravius Adams and Maurice Swain to graduation, but it is going to be tough for either of these three-stars to make a dent in the playing rotation. Truesdell is listed at 325 pounds, which is bigger than anyone in the playing rotation at this point. However, Auburn typically trims the larger tackles down dramatically in offseason workouts.
This was a huge get for the Tigers as it was looking like the Tigers might not sign a defensive end at all. Bryant is a strong 4-star and will have a chance to crack the playing rotation. We expect Marlon Davidson and Jeffrey Holland to be out front at defensive end, and the latest speculation has Byron Cowart moving inside. I could definitely see Bryant in the playing rotation early.
Tadarian Moultry, Kenney Britt
Linebacker became a position of strength last season for the Tigers, and cracking the playing rotation will be difficult as Auburn returns every starter plus good depth. Both signees are 4-stars.
Auburn has a strong group of corners returning, and Leonard will likely redshirt.
Carlito Gonzalez, Jordyn Peters
Auburn has experienced depth in the safety department as well. All three of Auburn’s secondary signees are 3-star rated.
Malcolm Askew, Alaric Williams, Malik Willis, JaTarvious Whitlow
Askew and Williams are 4-stars, Willis and Whitlow are 3-stars. I’d project most of these guys to wind up playing in the secondary or eventually at linebacker, but one could end up playing running back or receiver. Auburn has suffered horrible attrition at both offensive spots over the past two seasons. Hopefully that trend stops in 2017.
The younger brother of current Auburn star kicker Daniel Carlson will likely spend one year apprenticing, then will be Auburn’s go-to scorer from 2018 and beyond.
Calvin Ashley, Austin Troxell
Auburn has spent the better part of the last decade stockpiling offensive linemen, and this continues with both of those guys above. Ashley is a 5-star, and Troxell is 4-star rated. Both are well over 300 pounds and could play immediately. However, it is tough breaking into the lineup as a true freshman at this spot. Auburn returns 3 starters on the line plus has a wealth of talent already on campus.
The Tigers signed just one receiver, but the 4-star talent is a good one with speed and the ability to go up and fight for the ball. The Tigers didn’t have as much need at this spot after signing one of the best receiver classes in school history last year.
Salvatore Cannella, John Samuel Shenker
Auburn has no depth behind starters Jalen Harris and Chandler Cox. Here’s hoping the pair of 3-stars above do well. Attrition has been horrific at this position, in recent years.
Auburn is pretty well stacked with returning, talented running backs, and it will be tough for the 4-star Barrett to break into the playing rotation his first year.
Stidham is a transfer quarterback from Baylor. He was a 4-star recruit out of high school and had several impressive starts for the Bears before getting injured. Stidham was in Auburn for bowl practices this past December and will go through spring drills. It’s a given that Stidham will compete for the starting job. Many folks think that he will win it.