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Tigers in the Top Ten Recruiting Again!

By on February 2nd, 2017 in Football 18 Comments »
Davidson Impact

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.

Defensive Tackle

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.

Defensive End

Markaviest Bryant

     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.

Linebacker

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.

Cornerback

Traivon Leonard

     Auburn has a strong group of corners returning, and Leonard will likely redshirt.

Safety

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.

Athlete

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.

Kicker

Anders Carlson

     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.

Offensive Line

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.

Wide Receiver

Noah Igbinoghene

     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.

Tight End/H-Back

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.

Running Back

Devan Barrett

     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.

Quarterback

Jarrett Stidham

     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.

18 Comments

  1. neonbets says:

    Welcome to Thunderdome 2017!

    This is a great recap, Acid. If you blend this year’s class with last year’s, Auburn hasn’t just done a good job—it has done a great job of bringing in talent.

    There aren’t any weaknesses (barring inexperience at H-back). Last year, the D-line and receivers were stellar. This year, the O-Line, LBs, and QB are top-of-the-line. Overall, there is impressive talent and depth up and down this roster.

    Additionally, Auburn added some eventual replacements for RBs, WRs, and secondary players with 4* recruits. Auburn added a couple of 3* recruits–like Whitlow–who are actually world-class athletes with tremendous upside.

    And now the best news of all–FINALLY, we will lay to rest whether or not Malzahn & Co. are the right men for this job.

    If you like Malzahn and Co., then you can appreciate the great job they have done in bringing in talent. But you have to concede–there are no more excuses. If Auburn underperforms, not only was Gus wrong, but you (and I) were wrong as well.

    If you don’t like Malzahn and Co., then you must love this put-up or shut-up moment: The team has the right QB…Lashlee is gone…There is talent everywhere…Auburn needs to kick some ass next year. If Auburn does get it done, then you were wrong about Gus and it is time to let it go.

    This next year will be ‘Thunderdome’ for the Auburn fans–Two Groups Enter; One Group Leaves. Gus-Stays vs Gus-Goes. I’m with Gus-Stays and am looking forward to 2017.

    • dyingculture dyingculture says:

      You said it… 2017 is the year when we find out who is really in charge. Master Blaster runs Barter Town!

    • Tiger Tiger says:

      Pretty much, yes. 2017 is THE year to make or break.

      In the meantime, though, I’ll take a minute to laugh at those who last summer predicted Auburn recruiting was dead and that we’d be lucky to finish with a top 25 class this year.

      War Eagle!

  2. dyingculture dyingculture says:

    The experts at the recruiting services said all year that Auburn’s slow start to recruiting this class had to do with a wall of “negative recruiting” from other programs. Recruits were all told from the start, “oh, you don’t want to go to Auburn, their program is a mess and the coaching staff will get fired at the end of the year”. This was a big hurdle to overcome, and that is why Auburn was starting from behind when trying to build a relationship with these top 100 recruits.

    And yet, Auburn still managed a top 10 class. This is a big reason for optimism – with a successful year and an impressive offense, imagine how these coaches will do on the recruiting trail this fall.

    • Pine Mt Tiger Pine Mt Tiger says:

      "And Yet"…… Auburn finished NSD as one of only five teams in nation to have five consecutive years of a Top 10 class. Thats deserves a big shout out for Malzahn and staff! Now if Lindsey can stretch the field with Stidham, I think Auburn has a chance at being a contender again in 2017. Good write up Acid, as usual. WDE!

  3. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..Thanks for the kind words. I slept late this morning and kind of rushed my assessment, I thought. Truth is, I never really know from watching high school reels. I begin to get a feel for new players on A-Day, mostly.

    …..Interesting news out of Baton Rouge… Apparently, the day after NSD, LSU has fired Dameyune Craig from the staff.

  4. sparkey sparkey says:

    There are very few teams that have five top ten classes in a row. That said, one team owns the worst record of those teams. That team is Auburn.

  5. meathead530 says:

    Auburn obviously has no problem getting talented players. The coaches aren’t developing that talent. Hoping next season changes that!

  6. Tiger Tiger says:

    I’m pretty happy with the 2017 haul. Seemed a little slow compared to previous years, but that’s fine with me. I’m glad to skip the drama!

    Basically our entire class stayed on board…some of them, like Calvin Ashley, for a very long time. I think this will be a really solid, level-headed, hard-working group of guys. Just got that feelin’.

    The guy I really like in this class is Nick Brahms, from Navarre, FL. He just chews people up, throws them down, and jumps up and down on them. Nice to see Auburn dipping into the Panhandle (my neighborhood) for some football talent. So I may be biased, but I will still keep an eye on Nick. Incidentally Acid, I noticed Nick’s name was left out of your lineup, but that’s ok, I forgive you!

    Lastly, shout out to Eli Stove from Niceville and Marquis McClain from Crestview. War Eagle!

  7. audad says:

    Pine Mt Tiger made a great observation: Auburn is one of only five schools to have finished the last five years in the top 10 in recruiting. And yet the Tigers are far from a top 10 program right now. Eked their way in to the top 10 for a week or two this past season, but that faded quickly after the GA and Bama games, and then the bowl game nearly dropped us out of the top 25 after that disaster. I agree with just about everyone else that believes 2017 is the year for Gus to prove that he can be a very successful head coach at this level or be forced to move on.

    • dyingculture dyingculture says:

      All signs point to a great 2017. The right coaching staff appears to be in place. The right talent is at every position. Not only that, but this year, every position on both offense and defense goes two deep – no matter what the position, if one guy goes down, there is another guy ready to step up and he is just as good. And, the team chemistry appears to be there as well. This has the potential to be one of the great teams.

  8. charlie says:

    People are saying that Auburn has top ten talent but isn’t a top ten team, but if you look beyond records and polls, Auburn looks pretty good.

    2016: 13
    2015: 24 (very disappointing season)
    2014: 3
    2013: 5

    Even including 2015, which I think everyone agrees Malzahn messed up, there’s only, what, four or five programs who wouldn’t trade for Auburn’s records. We just have the bad luck of Auburn playing in the strongest division in the country for like nine years in a row, plus the last two years playing a national-title caliber out-of-conference team.

  9. zotus zotus says:

    Will Malzahn, Auburn blow it on another top 10 signing class?

    CLICK HERE: http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2017/02/will_malzahn_auburn_blow_it_on.html

    • dyingculture dyingculture says:

      Well? LSU seems to have a class always near the top 5, and look at how they are doing. Georgia always finishes slightly higher than Auburn, and they don’t do any better – plus they have the advantage of an SEC East schedule.

      I know, I know. Both of their coaches were fired. But, still…

      • zotus zotus says:

        Well? Since you brought it up, let’s go to the record to see how well UGA & LSU have done against Auburn where it counts:
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        UGA’s all-time record against Auburn is 57-55-8

        Of late, UGA is 9-2 against Auburn, with a 3 game win streak.

        Yes, Coach Richt was fired alright … but, not because he couldn’t beat Auburn.
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        LSU’s all-time record against Auburn is 28-22-1

        Of late, LSU is 7-3 against Auburn.

        Yes, Coach Miles was fired alright … but, not because he couldn’t beat Auburn.

        P.S. BTW, last year LSU came within 1-tick of the Game Clock of scoring a game-winning TD that would have given Malzahn the exact same record in 2016 that Malzahn had in 2015.

        You remember, Malzahn ended up with that 8 Win – 5 Loss 2016 Season that Jay Jacobs celebrated by paying out $200K performance bonuses … instead of ending up with another 7 Win – 6 Loss Season like in 2015 (which of course Jay Jacobs explains away as being an anomaly.)

        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        And, let’s not forget Auburn’s #1 rival, Alabama:

        Alabama’s all-time record against Auburn is 45-35-1

        Of late, Alabama is 7-3 against Auburn, with a 3 game win streak.
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        Bottom Line is this:

        Rule #1 – You ARE what your win-loss record on game day — against your rivals — says you are.

        Rule #2 – You ARE NOT what your Recruiting Class Ranking on NSD — against your rivals — says you are.

        Of late, Auburn’s win-loss record against Alabama, Georgia and LSU speaks for itself.

        It should be embarrassing to Jay Jacobs that the Powers at Georgia and the Powers at LSU no longer measures success by how they do against Auburn. Georgia’s and LSU’s bar is now set much higher than that.

        It should be unacceptable to the Powers at Auburn that Jay Jacobs no longer measures success by how Auburn does against Alabama, Georgia and LSU.

        Does Alabama, Georgia and LSU hold their football programs to higher standards than Jay Jacobs? Could be.

        Does Alabama, Georgia and LSU hold their football programs to higher standards than The Powers at Auburn? I doubt it.

        We’ll all be watching this little drama play out.

        • dyingculture dyingculture says:

          Alright, good point. I was comparing overall won-loss record, and the overall won-loss seems to be comparable. LSU in particular seems specialize in finishing about 8-5 every year, and they always seem to have a top 5 recruiting class because of their area monopoly. If you look at overall won loss, then clearly LSU and Georgia are “blowing another top 10 class” as well.

        • dyingculture dyingculture says:

          I’m beating a dead horse, but now I have been thinking about it. A&M usually finishes around the top 10. A&M blows it every year. Tennessee too. Ole Miss finished in the top 10 every year before this one. I guess Ole Miss blew it. Just saying. Auburn has great talent on their team, no doubt. The SEC West is just that tough, and everyone in the SEC seems to be blowing it every year unless your name is Bama.

  10. JRoweMDN says:

    The top 10 classes at Auburn show that HS and College are different and that QB is still the position you need to get right. All the defensive recruiting we did brought a great squad to the field, but it was wasted without a QB to lead us to scoring. I love the bragging rights that come with a good class, but it gets rubbed in pretty quickly when your rivals beat you.

    I agree this is Gus’ year to turn the corner. If done right we could be playoff bound, but at least we have to beat Clemson, UGA, and one more between LSU and UA. It looks like the right talent is there to back up what we already have. Thus begins the new season of hope for us fans.

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