Looking to increase the talent level on both sides of the ball, Auburn is off to a good start for the 2014 recruiting class, but there is more work to be done. That continues this weekend as the Tigers are expecting two of the top running backs in the country to visit in five-star Racean Thomas from Oxford and four-star Nick Chubb from Cedartown, Ga.
Rated the number three running back in the country, Roc Thomas has been a frequent visitor to Auburn this spring and was on hand for the A-Day game in April. He has Auburn among his favorites along with Ole Miss, Florida State and Alabama.
A four-star prospect and the number 12 ranked running back in the nation, Chubb has a final three of Auburn, Georgia and South Carolina and is planning to make his decision next week after visiting all three over the weekend. Auburn running back commitment Kamryn Pettway from Prattville High in expected to attend the event.
At the wide receiver position Shaquille Davidson is one of the most explosive prospects in his country. Rated a four-star and the number 27 receiver by Scout.com, the 6-1, 175-pounder has offers from all over with Clemson and South Carolina considered the early teams to beat.
They will be joined by quarterback Kendrick Doss from Florence. Adding an offer from Nebraska last week, the three-star now has offers from Auburn, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss Mississippi State, Tennessee and several others.
Closer to home one of the biggest targets for the Auburn Tigers in this year's class is talented tight end Jakell Mitchell from Opelika. Already with a true tight end on board in Chris Laye, who is also expected to visit for Big Cat Weekend, Mitchell is the perfect fit in the 3-back spot in Malzahn's offense because of his athleticism and ability to run after the catch. Auburn, Alabama, Florida and Florida State are among the schools that have offered the 6-3, 220-pounder with the Tigers possibly the favorite to land his signature in February.
Up front Auburn already has a commitment from talented lineman Joshua Casher from St. Paul's. Rated the nation's number four center, Casher should continue to see his stock rise as he gets into his senior season for the Saints.
Expected to visit along with Casher is massive offensive guard Jordan Sims from Homewood. Rated the nation's number 13 rated guard prospect, Sims has had Alabama on top of his list since getting an offer from the Crimson Tide, but has Auburn and Ole Miss in his top three as well. It will be his second visit to Auburn this spring.
Defensively, the Tigers have already secured commitments from four-star prospects Tre Williams from St. Paul's and Justin Thornton from Vigor along with physical linebacker DeShaun Davis from Vigor and all are expected to be in for Big Cat Weekend, but they'll be far from the only big names on that side of the ball on the Plains as Auburn looks to continue the haul on defense for Coach Ellis Johnson.
Needing more help along the defensive line, Auburn is expecting two of the top defensive tackles in the country to be on campus in Elisha Shaw and Charles Mosley. The nation's number three rated defensive tackle, Shaw made a junior day visit to Auburn and is back for another trip. Auburn, Alabama, Georgia and Florida State are thought to be his top four.
Making his first trip to Auburn will be Mosley. A massive defensive tackle who could also play offensive line, Mosley has offers from much of the SEC and is down to 346 after playing at nearly 370 pounds last season.
A four-star defensive end from North Gwinnett High in Suwanee, Ga., Dante Sawyer had earlier narrowed his list to Alabama and Georgia. That appears to have changed as Sawyer is expected to be in for Big Cat Weekend and it could be huge news for the Tigers. The 6-3, 247-pounder is a powerful pass rusher and would be a huge boost to the class if Auburn can get back in the picture.
With Williams and Davis already on board at the linebacker position the Tigers are likely looking for one more difference-maker to finish recruiting at the position. A player who is expected to be on campus and fits that bill is Auburn High's Rashaan Evans. An explosive pass rusher for the Tigers, at 6-3, 220 Evans is likely going to play linebacker on the next level. He has offers from just about every major program in the country with Auburn one of his favorites at the moment.
Another in-state linebacker expected to visit is big Gavin Bryant from Jackson High. Making his second trip to see the Tigers this spring, the 6-2, 235-pounder has offers from Alabama, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, South Carolina and Florida with Kentucky a program that has made a big impact on Bryant. If the Tigers show him some love this weekend he could become a higher priority recruit for Auburn.
In the secondary cornerback Nick Ruffin is one of Auburn's top targets at a position of need. A four-star by Scout.com, Ruffin has the Tigers on top of his list at the moment and could be close to making a decision.
Joining him at Big Cat Weekend will be the nation's top ranked cornerback prospect, Tony Brown from Ozen High in Beaumont, Tex. At 6-1, 185 with 4.34 speed in the 40-yard dash and the physicality to play safety for his high school team, Brown is one of the top 60-meter hurdlers in the country as well. With offers from colleges from coast-to-coast, getting Brown on campus this weekend would be a huge coup for Malzahn and Coach Melvin Smith.
Also expected in is Wesley Green from King High in Atlanta. A four-star corner and the number 18 prospect at his position in the country, Green has offers from Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina and all those along with Auburn are considered the favorites.
Another Green who will be visiting Auburn for Big Cat Weekend is massive safety Gerri Green from Greenville, Miss., High. Rated a four-star outside linebacker by Scout.com, the 6-4, 220 Green could be a perfect fit for the star position in Johnson's defense down the line. In-state schools Mississippi State and Ole Miss will be tough to beat for the long defender, but Auburn, Tennessee and Arkansas are also in the picture.
More of a classic safety, Cortez McDowell is a 6-0, 203 physical player for Locust Grove, Ga., High. A visitor to Auburn in March to see the Tigers, his third time on the Plains, McDowell has Malzahn's program very high on his list entering Big Cat Weekend. With former Tigers Ronney Daniels and Karsten Bailey on the coaching staff at Locust Grove, Auburn may be the team to beat after this weekend.