Mark Murphy and Jason Caldwell of Inside the Auburn Tigers and AUTigers.com took on the assignment of each choosing five uncommitted key prospects who are seriously considering the Tigers, players who would be great additions to the 2011 class. The Tigers are currently 10th nationally in Scout.com's recruiting rankings.
Caldwell will make his picks in part two of this report. In part one of the report, here are Murphy's picks that are listed alphabetically:
*Ray Drew--In this era of college football featuring a variety of sophisticated passing attacks, guys who check in at six-foot-five, 250 pounds who can make quarterbacks duck and cover when they are in the neighborhood are always a great addition to a signee class. Throw in Drew's dynamic personality and Auburn's need to replace senior defensive ends Antoine Carter and Michael Goggans and it is easy to see why the Thomas County Central High star from Thomasville, Ga., would fit in nicely with Auburn's 2011 signee group.
Drew, who took his official visit to Auburn in November, is still considering a large group of suitors including Georgia, LSU, Clemson and Alabama. He is doing a good job of keeping everyone guessing on where he will play his college football. Personality-wise, he looks like a great fit for Auburn's program with its emphasis on team play and a coaching staff that is close to its players.
*Erique Florence--Florence played out of position as a senior at Valley High, working as the quarterback his senior year, but as a collegian he will be back in the secondary where he excels as a safety. A prospect with excellent awareness of what is going on around him, he is a true ball hawk with plenty of quickness and the size and speed to run with top-notch SEC receivers. He also isn't afraid to mix it up inside with a physical style of play in run support.
Florence, who took his official visit to Auburn in December, is also considering Southern Cal where he took an official visit this past weekend and Alabama, where he is scheduled to take his final visit this weekend.
Brandon Fulse--Fort Meade High School previously sent Auburn a standout player in running back Onterio McCalebb, who just wrapped up an impressive sophomore season during which he set an Auburn single-season record for yards per carry. Fulse is one of the most impressive physical specimens as the big tight end checks in at around six-foot-five, 250 pounds. In person he could easily pass for a college senior instead of a high school senior.
The four star prospect really liked his official visit to Auburn in November, but he has been taking his time on a college choice. North Carolina and Alabama, where he visited this past weekend, along with Tennessee, where he is scheduled to visit this weekend, are on his radar. Fulse's friendship with McCalebb is a plus for the Tigers in this recruiting battle.
*Marcus Roberson--St. Thomas Aquinas High in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has turned out truck loads of college prospects in recent years and this season is no exception. Anybody who watched the 2010 Tigers knows there is a need for defensive backs with excellent man-to-man coverage skills and Roberson has them.
Auburn attracted a large number of outstanding prospects to its variety of summer camps. Roberson was one of the best of the best performers at those events and is definitely a high priority recruit for the Tigers. Florida and Texas Tech look to be Auburn's main competition to sign this four-star prospect. It looks like Roberson is going to wait until signing day to announce his decision.
*Gabe Wright--The defensive tackle from Carver High in Columbus, Ga., has been on Auburn's recruiting radar for more than a year. With the Tigers graduating seniors Zach Clayton and Mike Blanc and with redshirt junior All-American Nick Fairley entering the NFL Draft, the Tigers need to bring in players who can contribute early at the interior DL spots. Wright, who has the size and athletic ability to do that, is the kind of player defensive line coach Tracy Rocker is looking to add to the 2011 roster.
A four-star prospect who is scheduled to taken an official visit to Auburn on January 29th with his highly regarded teammate, running back Isaiah Crowell, Wright has made regular trips to the Auburn campus for games, camp and to spend time with Chizik and his coaching staffs. Tennessee, Alabama and Clemson look to be Auburn's competition.
There are plenty of other outstanding prospects the Tigers are still recruiting.
Adding Russellville star Brent Calloway to the commitment list to play running back earlier this month was a big get for Coach Gene Chizik and staff who lured away the long-time Alabama commitment from the Tide. However, the Tigers still need to sign another at least one more running back in this class.
In addition to Crowell, who will be tough to sign since he grew up a Georgia fan, the Tigers are in the mix with Floridians Tre Mason from Park Vista High and Andrew Buie from Jacksonville's Trinity Christian. The Tigers got official visits in December from highly-regarded running backs Marlin Lane from Daytona Beach, Fla., and New Jersey prep star Savon Huggins.
With four senior starters graduating on the offensive line, this another priority area for the 2011 signee class. La'El Collins from Baton Rouge, La., and Christian Westerman from Hamilton High in Arizona are a pair of bluechippers who have visited Auburn. Either one would be big additions, literally and figuratively, to this class. There is a possibility that the Tigers could get an official visit from Antonio Richardson from Nashville as well as Xzavier Ward from Colquitt County High in Moultrie, Ga., two more interesting offensive line prospects.
Auburn has not spent much time recruiting the juco ranks, but has been in contact with big defensive lineman Jonathan Jenkins from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. He has not taken an official visit to Auburn, but a defensive lineman who has visited Auburn and has an offer from the Tigers is Devaunte Sigler from B.C. Rain in Mobile.
With Auburn winning the BCS national championship last week, it will be interesting to see how much that helps the Tigers as they wrap up recruiting for the 2011 signee class or if players not previously on Auburn's radar decide to check out the Tigers before signing their names on scholarship papers next month.
Signing day is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 2nd.