Monday Morning QB Column: Recruiting Finish

Auburn is looking for a big finish to the 2014 recruiting class with some key spots still left to fill.

Wednesday will mark the end of another football recruiting cycle and with it will come several big decisions that will have an effect on the Auburn Tigers.' roster. Most notable of those is five-star Rashaan Evans.

A local kid from just down the street, Evans is one of the top defensive players in the country after a monster senior season for Auburn High School. Throw in the fact that he's a top-notch kid off the field and you have the definition of a five-star in my book.

Always respectful to other players, coaches and even the media, Evans has handled things the right way in a very difficult situation. No matter where he signs on Wednesday he has made a fan of at least one man that's for sure.

What makes his decision so interesting is that he is a player who can fit into just about any defense, but there is no doubt he would be a difference-maker for Coach Ellis Johnson's Auburn defensive group because of what he brings to the table. Capable of playing in space, he brings an element missing from Auburn's defense in 2013 and that is pressure off the edge from the ‘star' position.

Auburn is also very much in the picture for one of the top offensive linemen in the country, five-star Braden Smith from Kansas. Taking a visit to TCU over the weekend and also considering Texas A&M, Smith hasn't given any hints to his future, but with Greg Robinson heading to the NFL and Auburn expected to sign a maximum of two offensive linemen in this class, the Tigers were able to give a lot of attention to Smith and his family while on his official visit two weeks ago.

With J.B. Grimes showing this season he can get players to the NFL that could put the Tigers in front with two days to go.

The safety position is one that Auburn needs to shore up with the loss of starter Ryan Smith and top reserve Ryan White. Throw in the undecided future of Josh Holsey because he could play safety or make a move back to corner, and the fact that Jermaine Whitehead will be a senior next fall, and you have a huge need for the Tigers. That is why they are still in the hunt for several players to fill that role down the road, including one who just visited over the weekend.

A four-star prospect from Jenks High in Oklahoma, Steven Parker had a great visit to Auburn and it has given him something to think about because there was little question before the visit that Oklahoma was the choice for him. Now that's not so clear.

A player to keep an eye on at the position is Markell Boston from East Coweta High School in Georgia. While he didn't take an official visit to check out the Tigers, he came over on Thursday and spent a few hours with the coaching staff.

After his visit Boston and his mother said that the prospect is very interested in the Tigers. There is no question in my mind that an offer from Auburn would really change things for him. That came on Monday morning.

With that new information it's going to be hard to imagine the East Carolina commitment not making a switch to Auburn, but a weekend visit to Nebraska could have the Cornhuskers in the mix as well.

I couldn't write a column this week without at least mentioning Tony Barbee's basketball Tigers for winning a pair of games last week. It's great to see the guys having fun and winning games because they have worked hard this season to turn things around. While Chris Denson and K.T. Harrell have obviously been huge to the success, there is no doubt that freshman point guard Tahj Shamsid-Deen and post players Asauhn Dixon-Tatum and Matthew Atewe have taken their game to another level. If they can keep it up the Tigers aren't through winning games this season in a league that is still ripe for the taking.


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