Star-Studded Group Expected On The Plains

Auburn is expected to have a large and talented group of visitors on hand including the nation's top player and a trio of 5-star defensive tackles.

Auburn, Ala.--Already off to a good start in the 2015 recruiting class, Coach Gus Malzahn and the Auburn Tigers are hoping to make a big impact on several of the top players in the country this weekend when they visit as part of a big group of underclassmen expected on the Plains. With three of the top four defensive tackles in the country visiting and the top offensive tackle, the Tigers have an opportunity to make a big splash on the line of scrimmage in this class.

With seniors Gabe Wright, Jeffrey Whitaker, Angelo Blackson and Ben Bradley at defensive tackle in 2014, Coach Rodney Garner is hoping to load up this year at the position and the Tigers will have a chance to showcase the program to several of the top players in the country. Leading the way is Scout's #1 player at the position, Trenton Thompson from Westover High in Albany, Ga. A visitor to Auburn last summer for a camp, Thompson is very familiar with Garner and that should help the Tigers' chances. Another possible visitor is fellow five-star tackle Daron Payne from Shades Valley. Along with speedy teammate Keith Mixon, Payne has put the Mounties back on the football map.

Trenton Thompson

Expected to be in Auburn Friday night and remain on campus until Sunday, the nation's number two defensive tackle Daylon Mack has been enamored by the Tigers since receiving an offer from Malzahn. A physical freak already committed to Texas A&M, Mack has said the Tigers are the only team he would consider flipping to. Making the trip for his birthday, this one could get interesting if he enjoys his time on the Plains.

Other talented defensive linemen expected to visit include four-star defensive ends James Lockhart from Ennis, Tex., Natrez Patrick from Mays High in Atlanta, Kyle Phillips from Hillsboro High in Nashville, and Arden Key from MLK in Lithonia, Ga. Also making the trip will be in-state three-stars Jauntavius Johnson from Lincoln and Anfernee Jennings from Dadeville. Rated the number 15 defensive end in the nation, Lockhart has Baylor as his early favorite but has offers from across the country.

James Lockhart

Up front on the offensive side of the ball it doesn't get any bigger than five-star Martez Ivey from Apopka (Fla.) HIgh. Rated the top player in the country regardless of position according to Scout.com, Ivey is a physical blocker that has the chance to play very early on the next level. He'll make the visit along with teammate, fullback Chander Cox.

Other offensive linemen expected to visit include talented Nick Wilson from Milton (Ga.) High, Kaleb Kim from Mill Creek (Ga.) High, 2016 standout Tyler Pritchett from Calera, and big Zach Branner from Buckhorn. A player that could play either guard or center on the next level, Wilson has been an impact player since his sophomore season. A four-star tackle, Kim already has offers from Auburn, Alabama, Florida and Georgia to name a few.

Nick Wilson

Unlike many of the guys coming in this weekend, Branner is still waiting on his first offer. Hearing from several big schools at the moment, Branner said he can't wait to get back on the Plains this weekend.

"It's very humbling," the 6-5, 320 Branner tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "I'm pretty excited about it. I can't wait to be down there. I talked to Coach Grimes and they like me a lot, but just aren't quite ready to offer. He tells me to keep up the good work and they can't wait to see me again in the summer for camp."

One of the most important positions the Tigers are targeting in the 2015 class is the ‘star' where Coach Ellis Johnson is looking for a player capable of filling the box against the run but also versatile enough to play outside in space in the passing game. One of the best in the region in that role looks to be four-star Jordan Colbert from Griffin, Ga. Rated the nation's No. 18 outside linebacker, Colbert has offers from all over the country already and could be a great fit in Auburn's defense.

Jordan Colbert

Two more expected visitors that could fit that role as well are Montavious Atkinson from Langston Hughes High in Fairburn, Ga., and Jarmarkus Sims from Dothan. With the athleticism to play the deep safety position, but also physical enough to play closer to the line of scrimmage, both are prospects worth keeping a closer eye on as things begin heating up.

At the linebacker position Josh Smith, Joshua McMillon and Richard McBryde are three of the best in the Southeast for 2015. Capable of playing either of Auburn's linebacker positions, Smith is 6-3, 215 already and should see his stock continue to rise. Visiting Auburn last summer, McMillon is an imposing 6-2, 230 with still a year left to play. A talented player for a team that advanced to the state title game, McBryde is a force in the middle of the defense but has enough athleticism to make plays on the perimeter as well.

Another position of focus for Auburn in 2015 is at tight end/H-Back and one of the players on the list is three-star Bowman Archibald from Pasco High in Dade City, Fla. With connections to the Tigers, Bowman is a 6-6, 240 mountain that already has several SEC offers. Already committed to the Tigers for the 2016 class, big Landon Rice from Rome, Ga. is expected to visit and should be a good fit down the road for Coach Scott Fountain. Recently picking up an offers from Cincinnati and Tulane, big Jalen Harris from St. James in Montgomery is a player that should add more offers as teams see him during the spring.

Trying to add at least three receivers in the 2015 class, Auburn already has offers out to several prospects and another could be added to the list on Saturday. A standout at Holy Cross High in New Orleans, Michael Chigbus is looking at Arizona State, Georgia, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt and several other schools, but an Auburn offer could put the Tigers in the mix.

In the secondary four-star Darius Slayton is the big name of the bunch. Playing at Greater Atlanta Christian, he is ranked as the No. 29 cornerback in the country by Scout.com and already has offers from Other players expected to visit include:

Ugo Amadi (DB)
Zo Bridges (2016 DE, Opelika)
Josh Fannin (OL)
R.J. Harris (DL)
Amari Henderson (DB)
JaMarius Henderson (RB)
Adrian Hill (WR)
Kendell Jones (DL)
Dexter Neal (WR)
Christian Philpott (WR
Nick Polino (OG, Buford)
T.J. Rahming (WR)


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