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Evaluating Auburn 2023 football commits at start of coaching search


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Evaluating Auburn 2023 football commits at start of coaching search

Published: Oct. 31, 2022, 2:39 p.m.
6-8 minutes

The Bryan Harsin era is over. Auburn will need a new head football coach less than two years following the start of Harsin’s tenure.

Along with his sub-.500 record through 21 games, Harsin was ineffective as a recruiter.

Darren Uscher, the Tigers’ director of recruiting, made the trip with Harsin from Boise State and built out a robust staff with personable, energetic coaches to connect with high school and junior college athletes. But more often than not, concerns — about Harsin’s lack of relationships with in-state evaluators and players, about his offensive scheme — arose and were never answered in a highly-competitive Southeastern Conference.

Harsin’s first full signing class, the 2022 group, ranked 21st nationally in the 247Sports team composite rankings. It was highlighted by Williamson High linebacker Robert Woodyard, a former Alabama commit and defensive lineman Jeffrey M’ba, the best JUCO product in the cycle. Florida three-star Camden Brown is currently tied for the team lead with a pair of receiving touchdowns.

On Monday, Auburn lost three-star offensive lineman Gernorris Wilson, a part of its 2023 class. That group is 49th overall with 10 commits and is ripe for poaching among the SEC and other programs. Before speculating on a new hire, here’s a look at the current future of Auburn football.

Jeremiah Cobb, Montgomery Catholic

The highest-rated recruit of the bunch, Cobb was a key win on July 1 when he made chose Auburn. The four-star is the No. 8 running back in the country and, like he has for the past two seasons, has been stellar this fall for the Knights with 24 total touchdowns. Last week, the reigning champs, Georgia, offered Cobb a scholarship.

Cobb has a close bond with his would-be position coach at Auburn, Cadillac Williams. Cobb watched Harsin’s last game against Arkansas in person at Jordan-Hare Stadium this past weekend. Cobb, who also visited Tennessee and Clemson, has two unscheduled officials available.

Adam Hopkins, Thomas County (Ga.) Central

A four-star wide receiver, Hopkins committed in September after another top receiver (Central-Phenix City’s Karmello English) changed his mind. A speedster, Hopkins plays wideout and defensive back at 6-foot, 170-pounds.

Long tied to Florida State, Hopkins last visited the Seminoles in July. He took a trip to Arkansas and has another planned for Kansas State. He was last on the Plains on Sept. 24. Hopkins, the top pass-catcher in Georgia, was recently selected to the Under Armour Next All-American team.

Terrance Love, Langson Hughes (Ga.)

Love is an athletic defensive back at 6-foot-3, ranked 23rd at his primary position of safety. His pledge in April was supposed to lead to a renewed Peach state pipeline for the Tigers. He’s been back to campus, with a 2024 quarterback target, Prentiss Noland. In nine games this fall, Love has 172 yards, three touchdowns with 31 tackles and a pass deflection.

Amid the chaos at Auburn, Love has remained steady in his commitment while also taking in South Carolina’s win over Texas A&M on Oct. 22.

Daquayvious Sorey, Chipley (Fla.)

Sorey is one of the players with the most upside in the group. For the 9-0 Tigers in Florida, Sorey has a team-best 15 touchdowns and is averaging 134.7 yards of offense a game, operating primarily as a wide reciever.

As a sophomore, he committed to Georgia but reversed course a year later. He’s had some SEC interest but Auburn coaches identified him as a target. He’s been on campus repeatedly since his verbal in August. He chimed in with emojis as a reaction to the Harsin news.

Ashley Williams, Zachary (Fla.)

Williams, a 6-foot-5, 225-pound edge rusher, is a flip himself. He originally changed his mind from Nebraska to Auburn on July 31, just three weeks after committing to the Cornhuskers.

Auburn was Williams’ first SEC offer and was in town on Sept. 25 when Auburn hosted Big cat Weekend and beat Missouri in overtime.

Wilky Denaud, John Carroll (Fla.)

A four-star and 49th-ranked defensive lineman in the nation, Denaud was a recruiting win for the Tigers when he committed on July 27. He triggered a much-needed wave of commits for Auburn. In the last two weeks, he’s visited Indiana and local program Florida State, which has pursued him heavily.

Williams, a 6-foot-5, 225-pound edge rusher, is a flip himself. He originally changed his mind from Nebraska to Auburn on July 31, just three weeks after committing to the Cornhuskers.

Clay Wedin, Carrollwood Day (Fla.)

Wedin was the last player to join Harsin’s class, committing on Oct. 14 after spending six months pledged to Michigan State. The Tigers had been in contact long before Wedin’s initial choice. A 6-foot-6, 295-pounder, Wedin projects as an interior offensive lineman. UCF offered him in October.

“It stinks to see coaches getting let go because of everything that will follow from that. When I flipped to Auburn, I picked the school, not just based on coaches. I understood and saw the circumstances, but Auburn is a special place and I still want to be a part of it,” Wedin told Rivals’ Ryan Wright.

Bradyn Joiner, Auburn High

Auburn’s first commitment came on the first day of the year. At 6-foot-2, 330-pounds, Joiner flipped back to the offensive line after a year on the defensive side. Since his pledge, Joiner has been a recruiter on social media and in person. While Auburn High earned a 9-1 record and playoff berth, Joiner has made the cross-town trip for Tigers’ home games.

Jamarrion Harkless, Frederick Douglas (Kentucky)

Harkless is the third flip on this list, this time from Illinois on August 9. After checking out Louisville, Ole Miss and the Plains, Harkless settled on Auburn. The three-star defensive lineman is 6-foot-4, 290-pounds and tweeted a shrug on Monday afternoon.

JC Hart, Loachapoka

Hart committed on August 12 has received some non-Group of 5 offers since his choice. Previously, Hart had interest from West Virginia and visited Tennessee. A speedster at 6-foot-2, 175-pounds, the three-star cornerback was recruited by Zac Etheridge and Jimmy Brumbaugh.

Nick Alvarez is a reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @nick_a_alvarez or email him at NAlvarez@al.com

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Wedin and Joiner seem solid, maybe even more so now.  Those 2 are very important to this class.   
Cobb and Hopkins are the other 2 big ones for me.  
Assuming the new coach keeps Caddy, I think we’ll be fine.   It’s not like the guys that just got fired were heavily involved with recruiting.   

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