Auburn Football Recruiting Notebook

News and notes on recruiting for Coach Gus Malzahn's Tigers are featured in this report.

When the undefeated Hoover Bucs take on one-loss Auburn High School in Tuscaloosa on Friday night for the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 6A football title there will be plenty of talented players on both sidelines.

While five-star prospects Rashaan Evans of Auburn and Marlon Humphrey of Hoover will get much of the attention, one of the top players in the game will be linebacker Darrell Williams.

An athletic junior at outside linebacker for the Hoover defense, he is also capable of lining up on a receiver outside in man coverage. Because of that he is expected to be one of the top 2015 prospects in the state of Alabama next season and already has scholarship offers. A key member of last season's state title team, Williams says that he's ready to hit the field Friday night to go for ring number two.

"It's very exciting," Williams tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "It never gets old. Every time you go back you get that same feeling every time. It feels great.

"It has been real fun for me," he adds about his junior year. "I'm just able to be more mobile. A part of that comes back to playing as a sophomore and Coach relies on me a lot more. He trusts me a lot more to do some different things that I normally wouldn't do. He sees my talent and knows I can do a lot. He likes to put me in spots where it helps the defense. It has been pretty good."

Last week it looked like Hoover's run would end as the Bucs fell behind rival Vestavia Hills before surging back for a 31-28 semi-final round victory. Having plenty of experienced players on both sides of the ball is something that Williams says has aided the team through some tough patches this year and taught them some valuable lessons along the way.

"It helps a lot," Williams says. ""We've had to overcome some weird things with our team. We just stick together. I got a lot of playing time as a sophomore and all that experience took over this year. Playing in big games and even being down, it's weird when we get down but we understand we can't give up and just have to keep playing."

On a team loaded with prospects, including fellow juniors Christian Bell and Bradrick Shaw, Williams says he's ready to face off against an Auburn team full of outstanding players. With college prospects such as Darian Yancey, Antreal Allen and Blaise Taylor, the Tigers have plenty of talent and Williams says that makes this one even more special.

"I can't wait to play this game," Williams notes. "This will be a very good game. It's a game that is full of talent. I have talked to some of those guys before on recruiting visits and stuff. They've got some pretty good players. It's always good to have a challenge and to compete against people that can compete with you and put up a fight. I'm ready to see how it turns out."

No matter what happens at Bryant-Denny Stadium there is a very slim chance it will come close to the game Williams witnessed last weekend in Auburn. In Jordan-Hare Stadium to see the Tigers take down Alabama 34-28 on a 109-yard field goal return by senior Chris Davis, Williams says it's hard to put into words what that game was like seeing it in person.

"It was so fun," Williams he says. "It was great. Every time I have been to Auburn it has been like the best visit I have been on. With it being the Iron Bowl and them playing Alabama and how many people were there and how loud it was and how good of a game it was, it was all just great. There was some good football and I had a good time."

Williams and his Bucs are undefeated this season.

A frequent visitor on the Plains this season, Williams camped with Gus Malzahn and his staff over the summer and has been checking out the Tigers ever since. Still waiting on an offer from Auburn and admitting he feels like it's coming soon, he notes that would be a huge one for him as he winds up his junior season.

"They way I look at Auburn they have been very humble throughout the season," Williams says. "As you know last year they didn't do so well. I went down to Auburn this summer for camps and stuff and talked to Gus Malzahn a couple of times. He was just telling me how he wants to do some different things to the program.

"He just keeps constantly saying how he's going to build and how they are taking it step by step and how good he's trying to make the program. He makes you believe in him after seeing how their season has turned out and how good of a football they have become. That's just a plus being a recruit and knowing a coach can do that."

Recruiting News and Notes

*There is no question that AU has some serious strides for Auburn High's Rashaan Evans. A talented athlete who looks to be a perfect fit for AU's "star" position, Evans had a great visit for the Iron Bowl and is definitely taking a long look at Malzahn's program.

Rashaan Evans is having an impressive senior season on both defense and offense.

*Defensive tackle Dontavius Russell enjoyed his visit to Auburn so much last weekend that he decommitted from the Georgia Bulldogs so he could rethink his decision. With a strong relationship with Coach Rodney Garner and a long history of liking Auburn, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Russell flip to the Tigers before all is said and done.

With Auburn needing a high school defensive tackle in this class to help bridge the gap for the 2015 season, Russell would be one of the biggest gets for the Tigers this year if he were to come on board. Russell and his Carrollton High team are playing Marist in the Georgia State playoffs on Friday night.

*A promising junior defensive line prospect from the state of Tennessee was among the 350-plus prospects who attended the Iron Bowl game on unofficial visits. Kyle Phillips, who is 6-4, 245 from Hillsboro High in Nashville, is rated a four-star end by Scout.com.

Terry Godwin

*Terry Godwin from Callaway High in Hogansville, Ga., made a return trip to Jordan-Hare Stadium for the Iron Bowl. He is rated as the No. 3 cornerback prospect in the country for the 2015 signing class.

*Another young five-star prospect at the Iron Bowl game was 6-4, 205 outside linebacker Keion Joyner from Havelock, N.C., High School. He already has a large number of scholarship offers.


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