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Georgia win had a great impact on recruits

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Recruiting insider: Auburn’s win over Georgia changes landscape for 2018 class

By Benjamin Wolk

AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn couldn’t have asked for a better outcome. It kept the Tigers in the national conversation, but it also was a major boost for recruiting.

There were more than three dozen serious top targets for Auburn in the next few recruiting classes. And after the game, everyone was high on Auburn. It was the kind of performance that can make the difference between a top-10 recruiting class and not.

SEC Country spoke with several of Auburn’s commits and targets to get a feel for the game and their recruitments. Check out the latest.

4-star OL Trey Hill, Houston County (Ga.)

  • Trey Hill was the man of the hour on Saturday. He hung out with a lot of recruit and received plenty of personal attention from the Auburn coaching staff. With so many people believing this to be an Auburn-Georgia battle, this game seemed to be particularly important to Hill. With that said, he told reporters after the game that his impression of the schools didn’t change because of the outcome.
  • With that said, Hill clearly seemed to want Auburn to win the game. He was one of the more entertained fans in the recruit section. Normally a quiet guy, I saw Hill loudly cheering on more than one occasion. He even admitted after the game he wanted Auburn to win.
  • Here’s the big thing: Hill will be back for the Iron Bowl and is hopeful to take an official visit.
  • As far as official visits go, Hill will take his next one to LSU next week.
  • Georgia will receive an official visit at some point in December most likely.

4-star OLB/DE Richard Jibunor, Athens Christian (Ga.)

  • This quote from Richard Jibunor speaks for itself: “Best game I’ve ever watched Auburn play live in all my entire time watching them play games. I got my Auburn T-shirt on me. I’m going to wear it to school Monday. I don’t need to wash it, man. I’ve been hugging almost all the players. I need to go to school with it like that so they can feel it.” Needless to say, Jibunor will be proud of Auburn when he makes it back to Athens, Ga.
  • It’s still Auburn, Florida and Tennessee, but it’s only a matter of time before he chooses Auburn. I’m not entirely sure what the wait is, but if you saw Jibunor after the game Saturday, you’d be convinced he was choosing Auburn too.
  • He hopes to make the Iron Bowl his official visit.
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Auburn offensive line target Tank Jenkins speaks with offensive line coach Herb Hand. (Benjamin Wolk/SEC Country)

4-star OG Tank Jenkins, Park Crossing (Ala.)

  • There were murmurs on Saturday that Tank Jenkins was on commit watch. That didn’t end up happening, but Jenkins feels like he’s on the verge of making a decision. When asked a timetable, he said it would likely happen “soon,” which he then described as in a week or two.
  • This will be an interesting one to track to see how connected Jenkins’ recruitment is to Trey Hill. They are similar players, and Auburn is very much in the game with both of them.
  • Jenkins will be back for both the Louisiana-Monroe and Alabama games, if that gives you an idea of where Jenkins’ mind is at as he closes in on a decision.
  • If it’s not Auburn, it’s likely Oklahoma or Louisville. Those two schools — along with Auburn, of course — are the ones he plans to travel to for official visits.

Alabama LB commit Quay Walker, Crisp County (Ga.)

  • Quay Walker made it for yet another Auburn game, which I believe is his third time this season in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
  • He confirmed after the game that Auburn still has a shot. Multiple sources seem to feel Auburn has a legitimate opportunity to pull of the flip here, but flipping an Alabama commit is never easy.
  • He’ll be at the Iron Bowl, which could end up as an important measuring stick for the Alabama commit.

3-star DE Caleb Johnson, Northside (Ga.)

  • Caleb Johnson has three schools he’s considering — Georgia, Auburn and Tennessee. Georgia is up there for him, and he admitted the result of the game did a little bit to sway his perception of both programs.
  • The big thing with Johnson is patience. He said Saturday night he’s waiting to see all the changes that are made at Tennessee, and Butch Jones was fired Sunday. Johnson wants to see what move is made there before completely eliminating the Volunteers, or perhaps increasing his interest in them again.
  • Auburn likes him as a strong-side defensive end, which is similar to how Georgia and Tennessee view him.
  • Johnson would like to have a decision next month, but a lot of that will be dependent on how he’s prioritized by Auburn and Georgia, as well as Tennessee’s changes. Auburn really likes his athleticism, but since the Tigers are in a good spot with a lot of different guys, it’ll be interesting to see where he ends up on Auburn’s board.
  • He will be at the Iron Bowl.

3-star cornerback CD Daniels, Homewood (Ala.)

  • CD Daniels is a cornerback to watch. He’s committed to Memphis, but communicates with Auburn secondary coach Greg Brown at least twice a week, especially after Friday night games.
  • Daniels said if Auburn were to offer, it’s something that he’ll “really have to consider.” It’s either Auburn or Memphis at this point.
  • Asked what Greg Brown has been telling him, “He just loves my playmaking ability and said he could see me making plays here. They said to keep in touch. I think it’s going to come soon,” Daniels said.
  • He will return for the Iron Bowl.

Unranked QB A.J. Curry, Habersham Central (Ga.) 

  • This was A.J. Curry’s second game visit. Because of the number of recruits — and high-profile game — he didn’t receive as much time with Chip Lindsey as he did for the Ole Miss game. Still, Lindsey took some time to talk with Curry and his family before the game.
  • Auburn’s message to Curry: patience. They still want to get out to his high school to see him throw and evaluate him. The potential offer will come from there. Obviously, some of that is dependent on how the recruitments of Jarren Williams and Emory Jones play out.
  • Ole Miss and Mississippi State are the two other big programs who are in communication and considering an offer.
  • As an early enrollee who will sign in December (that’s the plan, for now), Curry isn’t in a rush, but he obviously needs to know some things from one of those programs somewhat soon.

5-star 2019 OL Clay Webb, Oxford (Ala.)

  • Clay Webb has been a regular visitor on the Plains for games this season. He said this was the most impressed he’d been by Auburn this season.
  • Asked if Alabama is the team to beat, as many have speculated, Webb said that’s not the case. He really likes Auburn. It’ll be an Alabama-Auburn battle, though. That seems certain.
  • As you might expect, Webb will be at the Iron Bowl.

3-star OT Jalen Goss, Lowndes (Ga.)

  • To my knowledge, this was Goss’ first time back on the Plains since camping over the summer. It was at that camp he received his Auburn offer.
  • The Tigers have stayed in touch throughout the season to monitor Goss’ growth. When he camped, he was only about 250 pounds. Now he’s up to about 270 pounds, and there seems to be the belief he could grow into an SEC-caliber tackle.
  • Goss really enjoyed his trip and hopes to make it back for one of the last two home games.

3-star TE Michael Parker, Westminster Christian (Ala.)

  • Michael Parker came to his second game of the season and was accompanied by his whole family. He’s reached the point where he’s fully comfortable with Auburn despite growing up an Alabama fan and having brothers who play for the Crimson Tide. He joked that his Iron Bowl visit will be a tricky one in terms of who he’s rooting for.
  • Before the game, Parker was able to get some 1-on-1 time with Gus Malzahn, Chip Lindsey and Larry Porter, which should give an idea of how badly the Tigers want him.
  • Parker feels pretty close to making a decision. It’s down to Auburn, Purdue and Central Florida. He’s going to make his commitment “one and a half to two weeks,” so we’re coming up on the end.
  • Auburn has made it clear they want Parker in this class, but the Tigers aren’t being pushy about it. They want him to take his time, but the sentiment on the Plains is Parker is likely to end up in this recruiting class.
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Auburn commit Shedrick Jackson (left) talks with 2019 quarterback Bo Nix before the game. (Benjamin Wolk/SEC Country)

4-star 2019 QB Bo Nix, Pinson Valley (Ala.)

  • Bo Nix had many positive things to say about the improvement of the offense this season, especially what he witnessed in the Georgia game. He loves the way Chip Lindsey has been calling plays.
  • Speaking of Lindsey, that’s a big win for Auburn in terms of Nix’s recruitment. Nix knew Lindsey during his Southern Miss days, so when he came on board at Auburn, Lindsey immediately took over Nix’s recruitment. That relationship will go a long way in his decision-making process.
  • That decision will come “between seasons” for Nix, so sometime between the end of this year’s state championship run and next year’s spring practices/summer workouts. He wants to take his time with the decision, but also leave enough time to help build a class around him.
  • Nix sees several similarities between his game and Jarrett Stidham’s game. They both thrive on high completion percentages and making the smart play.
  • Nix has returned to his high school team from a broken ankle that held him out for several games this year. He has high hopes for a state championship push. With wins next week, Nix and Asa Martin will face off against each other in the third round of the state playoffs.

4-star 2019 King Mwikuta, Troup County (Ga.)

  • After the game, Mwikuta raved about Auburn, especially the environment. “OK, I said Georgia was going to win, but I said Auburn was going to give them a run for their money. They took their money, matter of fact. … Man, this is the loudest stadium. I don’t care where you go. The crowd is insane. I don’t care where you go,” he said.
  • Alabama has always been Mwikuta’s leader, and that hasn’t changed, but he was willing to name a new top three (keeping in mind this shifts with Mwikuta regularly).
  • He said it’s Alabama, Auburn and Miami — in that order.

4-star RB commit Asa Martin, Austin (Ala.)

  • Asa Martin, as always, made some effort to recruit other people on his visit. He keyed in on offensive lineman Trey Hill and wide receiver Justyn Ross. Martin feels like he’s getting positive vibes from both of them.
  • Martin has taken a game visit to Alabama, though my sources have told me a flip is highly unlikely. He said it himself after the game, referring to his commitment as “100 percent.”
  • He will take his official visit for the Alabama game. Martin is an early enrollee who will sign in December.

4-star DT commit Coynis Miller, Jackson-Olin (Ala.)

  • Coynis Miller jumped in on Martin’s interview, which gives you an idea of how close these two guys are. For what it’s worth, each of these recruits told me months before their commitments that the other one was going to end up at Auburn, so they clearly are dialed in with each other’s plans.
  • Miller wouldn’t say definitively that he’d take an official visit for the Alabama game, but he said it was likely.
  • He doubled down on Martin saying he was 100 percent committed. “One thousand precent,” Miller said.
  • Miller won’t sign until February.

3-star WR commit Shedrick Jackson, Hoover (Ala.)

  • Shedrick Jackson made a point to spend some extra time with 2019 quarterback Bo Nix during the game. Jackson and Nix know each other from being around the Birmingham area, and he would love to be catching passes from the Auburn legacy some day.
  • What does Jackson thinks this does for Auburn’s recruiting going forward? “When you win a game like that against the No. 1 team, it just shows you that you can compete. You can be the best. It gives everybody hope,” he said.
  • Jackson was one of the prospects who spearheaded the plans to get as many commits as possible to officially visit for the Iron Bowl. He’ll take that OV in two weeks before signing in December and enrolling early.

4-star WR commit Matthew Hill, Brookwood (Ga.)

  • Matthew Hill is still trying to figure out when he’ll take his official visit to Auburn. He hasn’t decided if it’ll be in December or January.
  • He continues to refer to Auburn as home, which is generally a good sign. That’s not to say it’s a done deal, even though I have trouble envisioning a scenario where Hill ends up elsewhere. If he does, where will it be? Clemson.
  • Hill took a a game visit to Clemson earlier this season. He also visited an Alabama game. Clemson is recruiting him as a safety, which is yet another reason why it’s hard to see him flipping. With that said, Hill referred to Clemson as a “potential” threat.
  • Expect to see Hill at the Iron Bowl.

4-star 2019 WR commit George Pickens, Hoover (Ala.)

  • Pickens said the win over Georgia — particularly in that fashion — helped confirm any doubts he may have had about his Auburn commitment. He’s “really solid” to Auburn, he said, but the win on Saturday made him even more confident.
  • Like his high school teammate Shedrick Jackson, Pickens had high praise for Bo Nix, a quarterback he’d like to play with at the next level.
  • Pickens’ recruiting process definitely isn’t over. Alabama, Florida State, Florida, Notre Dame, Miami, Ole Miss and Mississippi State are still recruiting him hard, and he won’t rule anyone out, but admitted it’ll be tough to top Auburn. He’s only visited Alabama and Florida State this season.
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Auburn commit Shaun Shivers (center) hangs out with his mother and an Auburn staff member prior to the game. (Benjamin Wolk/SEC Country)

3-star RB commit Shaun Shivers, Chaminade Prep (Fla.)

  • Shaun Shivers is “locked in” with his commitment. That’s not really news, I suppose, but he made that clear. He’s eager to get back to south Florida to flaunt his Auburn attire in an area Georgia has recruited quite well over the years, especially the last two recruiting cycles.
  • Shivers received a text message from wide receiver target Anthony Schwartz during the game asking what the atmosphere was like. “I said he should’ve been here to see it for himself,” Shivers said.
  • Shivers and Schwartz know each other well from being south Florida track guys. He originally believed Schwartz was a clear Florida lean, but with the coaching change, Shivers is less certain of that now. He seems to like Auburn’s chances to pull of a surprise.
  • Shivers will sign in December despite not being an early enrollee.

Other quick recruiting notes

  • Ohio State commit Emory Jones visited for the game, which was the last-minute surprise visitor of the day. This will be an interesting one to watch. Ohio State has some concerns with him sticking, plus he has visited Alabama multiple times this season.
  • Florida wide receiver commit Jaylnn Williams turned this weekend into an official visit. Auburn actually likes Williams as a cornerback. Keep an eye on this one.
  • Safety commit Kolbi Fuqua was back for the game. He loved the environment. “That’s, psh, that’s great. That’s what I’ve been waiting for all week,” he said after the game. He’s all Auburn. Fuqua hasn’t set up his official visit yet. He won’t enroll early, but it’s possible he signs in December.
  • Offensive line commit Jalil Irvin still hasn’t decided if his official visit will be for the Iron Bowl or in January. As a prospect from Georgia, the win was especially fun to watch for Irvin: “It’s gonna give me some clout. All I heard the whole week was Auburn’s not gonna beat Georgia. I said watch when Saturday night comes,” he said.
  • Offensive line commit Kameron Stutts was back. He lit up when asked about the game. “It was really just domination. I know all week I was hearing Auburn wasn’t going to be able to run the ball on Georgia’s defense. We had, what, about 200 rushing yards. Georgia had something like 40 or 50. We just completely flipped the tables and dominated the game as a whole,” he said. Stutts is likely to official visit for the Iron Bowl. He won’t be an early enrollee, but he’ll sign in December.
  • 2019 offensive tackle Amari Kight had a great visit and was pumped about the performance after the game. Alabama is going to be a tough beat, but he admitted this game made a major impression on him when it comes to Auburn.
  • Stanford commit Tobe Umerah was back. It appears Auburn has other options at defensive end right now that the Tigers like more. Umerah isn’t sure if he’ll be back for another game, or even if he’ll take an official visit to Auburn.
  • I’ll have stories on official visitors Christian Tutt, Jamien Sherwood and Jalynn Williams later Sunday.

 

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Edited by ellitor
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An Iron Bowl win and SEC championship could likely lead to a top 5 or 6 ranked class.

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Appreciate the the info WFE12.  Curious to see what happens at the QB position now that Curry gave a verbal to Western Carolina.

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Although it's over two months before names are put on the dotted line, I like what I'm reading. I just hope it's all well and good come February.

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1 hour ago, milehighfan said:

Although it's over two months before names are put on the dotted line, I like what I'm reading. I just hope it's all well and good come February.

There is an early signing period in mid-December. Several of our commitments have said they plan to sign then. I'm not a salesman so I don't know how coaches across the nation will play the early period. "You are committed to us, so sign now or we'll start thinking you're not really interested?"

In the recent past, some few recruits have used us as their fail safe. They'd commit to AU to guarantee their scholarship, then flip if a preferred school offers later. A clever coach could figure how to use the early period to stop that ploy.

Edited by Mikey
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19 hours ago, Mikey said:

There is an early signing period in mid-December. Several of our commitments have said they plan to sign then. I'm not a salesman so I don't know how coaches across the nation will play the early period. "You are committed to us, so sign now or we'll start thinking you're not really interested?"

In the recent past, some few recruits have used us as their fail safe. They'd commit to AU to guarantee their scholarship, then flip if a preferred school offers later. A clever coach could figure how to use the early period to stop that ploy.

Mikey, I forgot all about the early signing period. Regardless, I hope we rack up next month and in February. I also hope our coaches are clever enough to come up with a fail safe adjustment to guard against that very thing.

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47 minutes ago, milehighfan said:

Mikey, I forgot all about the early signing period. Regardless, I hope we rack up next month and in February. I also hope our coaches are clever enough to come up with a fail safe adjustment to guard against that very thing.

There is no fail safe when it comes to 17-18 year old kids decision making.

Edited by ellitor
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23 minutes ago, bigbird said:

@ellitor do you know if Monday will be an early signer? Also are any of the Safeties planning to be EE?

Q is an EE so he will sign early. However he still plans to take OVs to AU & Clemson before 12/20/17. His recent Clemson visit was an UV.

Sherwood is an EE. I'm not sure on the other 2.

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16 minutes ago, Auburn2Eugene said:

That's not to say he wouldn't flip if offered, but he recently committed elsewhere.

I read where he said if auburn didn’t offer this past weekend that he was gonna go ahead and commit somewhere. I’m sure if we offer he’ll be an Auburn Tiger.

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1 hour ago, CAS15 said:

I read where he said if auburn didn’t offer this past weekend that he was gonna go ahead and commit somewhere. I’m sure if we offer he’ll be an Auburn Tiger.

He will flip if us, Ole Miss, or Miss St give a CO.

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18 hours ago, ellitor said:

Q is an EE so he will sign early. However he still plans to take OVs to AU & Clemson before 12/20/17. His recent Clemson visit was an UV.

Sherwood is an EE. I'm not sure on the other 2.

I feel very confident QM sticks with Auburn. 

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On ‎11‎/‎14‎/‎2017 at 6:15 PM, ellitor said:

Q is an EE so he will sign early. However he still plans to take OVs to AU & Clemson before 12/20/17. His recent Clemson visit was an UV.

Sherwood is an EE. I'm not sure on the other 2.

We need one or more of these safety commits to sign and come in early so they can go through spring ball. They will play a good bit next year if they do I suspect. Hope QM is one of those guys.

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9 hours ago, WarDamnEagleWDE said:

That is good to hear. One of the top two recruits we have. 

I agree completely prob at the top as far as importance goes. I expect him to get alot of PT next year.

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24 minutes ago, austudnt23 said:

I agree completely prob at the top as far as importance goes. I expect him to get alot of PT next year.

100% the most important, IMO.  I wouldn't be surprised if he isn't starting by the end of his freshman year. 

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1 hour ago, bigbird said:

100% the most important, IMO.  I wouldn't be surprised if he isn't starting by the end of his freshman year. 

I wish like heck he was at the game.  Hard to be committed, see that game and the crowd, and then change your mind.

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2 hours ago, NorthGATiger said:

I wish like heck he was at the game.  Hard to be committed, see that game and the crowd, and then change your mind.

He did seem pretty pumped after Joey tweeted "#WAREAGLE!!!!!" and he responded with "LET'S GOOOOOO'

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22 hours ago, WarDamnEagleWDE said:

That is good to hear. One of the top two recruits we have. 

On an aside, I like the GIF in your signature.  One of the best moments in that movie, and even funnier when people realized that was Tom Cruise.

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