For Coach Gene Chizik and the Auburn Tigers it should be another happy day. Following up a Top 10 recruiting class in 2010 with the BCS National Championship this season, Auburn is looking at another very strong class this year and it could get even better with more big-time prospects still looking at the Tigers heading into signing day.
Currently ranked third in class rankings by Scout.com, Auburn has 22 commitments with 14 of those rated as four-star prospects or better. Included in that group is the nation's number one rated offensive guard in Christian Westerman, the number four quarterback in Kiehl Frazier and the number five center in Reese Dismukes.
A player who had the Tigers as his leader for months, defensive back Marcus Roberson, surprised some recruiter watchers when he committed to Tommy Tuberville and Texas Tech. The Red Raiders weren't that big of a surprise choice with his uncle, former Auburn standout Otis Mounds, on the staff in Lubbock, but with Auburn and Florida pursuing him it was still unexpected. Late last week though Roberson backed off his commitment and on Monday he gave a verbal to the Auburn Tigers. However, on Tuesday he was off the Auburn commitment list with the possibility that he will sign with the Florida Gators or USC Trojans on Wednesday. Sources familiar with his recruiting told Inside the Auburn Tigers that Auburn is no longer recruiting Roberson.
Expected to sign at least 25 players in this year's class, with Auburn at 22 commitments leaves just a few spots for the final players to add to Auburn's signee list that will be announced on Wednesday. With six players still very much looking at the Tigers, signing day 2011 is expected to provide plenty of interest to Tiger ans.
A visitor to Auburn over the weekend, big defensive lineman LaMichael Fanning has been a commitment to Alabama since early in the process, but has decided to give the Tigers another look. A player who transferred to and out of Auburn High School in the last two years, Fanning played this season at Harris County High in Georgia. He's expected to choose between Auburn and Alabama on signing day.
Another player who is expected to choose between the Tigers and Crimson Tide is big-time safety prospect Erique Florence from Valley. A four-star player and the number five rated safety in the country, Florence has had Auburn high on his list throughout the recruiting process and took an unofficial visit last weekend to see the BCS National Championship Celebration. He is expected to choose between Auburn and Alabama with USC also in the mix.
Cyrus stands up to the best during Under Armour practice.
The nation's number one offensive tackle prospect, big Cyrus Kouandjio from Dematha High in Hyattsville, MD, visited Auburn over the weekend and is definitely looking at the Tigers after Coach Jeff Grimes lost four starters and two key reserves off one of the top offensive lines in the country last year. With a brother that plays at Alabama the Crimson Tide are definitely in a strong position for Kouandjio, but Auburn made a move over the weekend with Iowa also in the running. He also took an official visit to New Mexico.
A four-star prospect and the nation's number 18 offensive tackle, big Antonio Richardson visited Auburn over the weekend and has the Tigers in his final group along with Alabama, Georgia, Miami and Oklahoma. At 6-6, 310, Richardson is an athletic big man with a world up upside down the road.
Since Roberson isn't the answer for the Tigers in the defensive backfield it could be speedy Jermaine Whitehead from Mississippi. A long-time commitment to Mississippi State, Whitehead took an official visit to Auburn over the weekend and rated it a perfect "10." With the chance at early playing time at Auburn he said the Tigers are definitely in the running. He's expected to choose between Auburn, Mississippi State and Ole Miss on signing day.
Perhaps the biggest need position for Auburn is at defensive tackle and one of the biggest names in the country is down to the Tigers along with Alabama and Tennessee following a visit to the Plains over the weekend.
Four-star Gabe Wright is a standout at Carver High in Columbus, Ga., and has had Auburn at or near the top of his list since early last spring. He plans to announce his decision on signing day in Columbus.
There can be surprises, both good and bad, on national signing day so there is always the possibility that will happen in 2011 for the Tigers and other teams on the verge of landing highly-ranked classes.
Check in with us at Inside The Auburn Tigers throughout the day on Wednesday as we carry you through signing day 2011.