Atkinson Talks Coaching Change, Visit Date

Auburn commitment Montavious Atkinson talks about Ellis Johnson's firing, his visit to Auburn and more.

Fairburn, Ga.--The firing of Auburn Defensive Coordinator Ellis Johnson on Sunday not only impacts the current Tigers, but also the future of the program as well. That means recruits currently committed to the program on the defensive side of the ball.

One of those players is talented four-star defender Montavious Atkinson from Langston Hughes High School. A versatile player capable of playing safety, outside linebacker or a hybrid position, Atkinson said right now he’s still taking everything in, but at the moment it doesn’t really impact him.

“I just really kind of found out,” Atkinson said. “It’s messed up I guess, but me and him weren’t really that close so it didn’t hurt me as if Coach Cheese (Charlie Harbison) would have gotten fired.”

Watching closely the last month as Auburn’s defense routinely gave up big plays and lots of points, Atkinson said the news didn’t come as a total shock to him based on the performance of the Tigers.

“I thought something would be coming because they were giving up a lot of points,” Atkinson said. “A lot of that had to do with the secondary plus just pounding the ball down their throats. I pretty much saw this coming.”

It hasn’t stopped the big-time playmaker from getting ready to see the Plains in two weeks, however. Planning to take his official visit to Auburn Dec. 12-13, Atkinson pointed out that he is excited about being on campus to take in the football banquet as well as getting an early start on getting to know some of his future teammates.

“I’m really looking forward to that,” Atkinson said. “I’m excited to meet the players that are coming in with me so we can develop a strong relationship right now.”

Saying he’s “still pretty solid to Auburn,” Atkinson said he’s considering visits to Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina State, but hasn’t set up any other trips at this point.

With his season complete Atkinson said he can now look back on his accomplishments in his final year at Langston Hughes High and they are many. On defense he finished with 137 tackles and five interceptions with seven tackles for losses. On offense he caught 31 passes for 446 yards and six touchdowns while adding a 90-yard kickoff return for a score.

Those numbers were much of the reason why Atkinson earned a fourth star on this year and has been invited to the U.S. Army All-American Game in San Antonio. A versatile player that is expected to have a chance to play early for the Tigers, he pointed he is pleased with how he finished his career, but there is more to come.

“I played outstanding this year,” Atkinson said. “This is the best year of my career. I really got better at reading the ball faster and in my tackling. I’m still trying to work on my speed and coverage skills heading into next year.”

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