With four five-star prospects and 11 more four-stars making up part of the group for the weekend, Auburn will have perhaps the most star-studded group anywhere in the country. Among them will be four-star running back Kerryon Johnson. Alabama’s Mr. Football and one of the most personable commitments for the Tigers, Johnson said he’s excited about getting on campus and getting to work on his fellow prospects.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Johnson said. “With all of those guys there you just know that you have to get at least one. You just have to get started on that trail. We’ve got a lot of offensive players, but specifically on the defensive side of the ball you just have to get on track. You know that’s going to make you a better team and a better player, even if you’re an offensive player. The future looks bright. They’ve got a great coaching staff now on defense as well. It’s going to be really interesting.”
It all starts up front where the nation’s No. 2 defensive tackle Trenton Thompson, No. 2 defensive end Byron Cowart, No. 3 defensive end CeCe Jefferson, and No. 7 defensive tackle Terry Beckner are all among the top players in the country at their position. Currently committed to the Georgia Bulldogs, Thompson has had a long relationship with Auburn defensive line Coach Rodney Garner and has made several trips to Auburn in the last year.
Also close with current Auburn defensive lineman Montravius Adams, Thompson is still expected to wind up at Georgia, but getting him back on campus could be a huge boost for the Tigers as signing day draws near.
A player that has a close relationship with new defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, Cowart has all the tools to be an early contributor on the next level because of his elite pass-rushing ability. With Florida and Florida State the top competitors for the Tigers, Cowart will make the trip along with good friend Jefferson and the two have talked about playing together on the next level.
Also a dynamic pass rusher with the physicality to set the edge in the run game, Jefferson is on the comeback trail after having shoulder surgery as a senior. Naming Ole Miss his leader while at the U.S. Army game, Jefferson is also looking strongly at Florida and Florida State with LSU also in the mix.
Rated a four-star prospect by Scout.com, Beckner built a relationship with Cowart while the two played side-by-side at the Under Armour All-American Game and will have the chance to catch up once again on their visit to Auburn. A powerful interior pass rusher that can make plays in the backfield, Beckner is considered an Ohio State lean, but is also looking at Florida State and Missouri.
Playing on the same team with Cowart and Becker at the Under Armour game was longtime Auburn commitment Darrell Williams. A four-star linebacker and playmaker out of Hoover, Williams said he’s ready to get the big guys on the Plains.
“I know Byron is a Florida guy and people are saying me might go to Florida or might go to Florida State, but since Muschamp came he might be pulling towards Auburn,” Williams said. “It’s good to see some of those guys coming to Auburn to visit to see if they are interested. We’ll see how it goes.”
In addition to the defensive line, a position of need for the Tigers in the 2015 class is at cornerback with Muschamp and Travaris Robinson wanting true cover corners capable of playing man-to-man defense all over the field. With that in mind it’s no surprise to see some of the top players in the country in that role visiting Auburn this weekend led by five-star Terry Godwin from Callaway High in Hogansville, Ga.
A Georgia commitment, Godwin is a dynamic playmaker that is also capable of playing wide receiver on the next level and he would likely get that shot at Auburn. Getting an early offer from the Tigers, he was impressive at a 7-on-7 camp on the Plains his junior season and has a long history with Auburn’s staff, including Garner.
Another player capable of coming in early and getting on the field is talented defensive back Javaris Davis from Ed White High in Jacksonville, Fla. Rated a four-star prospect by Scout and the No. 37 corner in the country, he’s a true cover guy that Robinson has long had on his radar. Florida, Georgia, Louisville and North Carolina are the other schools in the hunt for Davis.
Perhaps the most interesting visitor of the weekend could be four-star Texas commitment Tim Irvin from Westminster Christian School in Palmetto Bay, Fla. A talented defensive back that would likely be a cover corner for the Tigers if he flipped his commitment, Irvin is also an early enrollee. While classes at Texas don’t start until Jan. 20, Auburn’s classes started this week which is still enough time for Irvin to change his mind and enroll on the Plains as early as Tuesday. Definitely one to keep an eye on.
Rounding out the list of potential visitors on the defensive side is talented secondary performer Sheldrick Redwine from Miami-Killian. Despite being just a three-star prospect Redwine has offers from all over the country as teams try to continue to upgrade in the defensive backfield. A Louisville commitment, the 6-1 corner is also looking at Texas as he prepares to make a final decision. Originally planning to visit first South Florida and then Oregon State this weekend, Auburn’s push put those plans on standby and could make the Tigers a factor.
On the other side of the ball the biggest name among the uncommitted prospects is four-star quarterback Torrance Gibson. Very high on the Tigers early in the recruiting process after making several visits, Gibson committed to the Ohio State Buckeyes and remains solid in that decision, but wants to see Auburn one more time to make sure. While the Tigers aren’t desperately seeking another quarterback in this class, you don’t pass up a kid like Gibson if he says yes.
At wide receiver four-star Ryan Davis is one of the most dynamic players in all of the country. A playmaker out of Lakewood High in St. Pete, Davis is one of the hottest names in recruiting as things head towards signing day. Schools from all over the country are still trying to get a visit out of him as he prepares to make a decision, but Auburn, Florida, Alabama, Ole Miss and Tennessee appear to all be in the mix along with UCLA.
It’s not just official visitors that are expected to make their way to Auburn this weekend as a trio of unofficials are also possible led by the nation’s top offensive tackle, five-star Martez Ivey. The Apopka, Fla. standout and teammate of Auburn early enrollee Chandler Cox is one of the premier players in the country and having him take another look at the Tigers has to be a positive sign.
Another unofficial visitor that is strongly looking at the Tigers will be four-star linebacker Jeff Holland from Trinity Christian in Jacksonville, Fla. Having already built a strong relationship with Garner on the Auburn staff, the addition of Muschamp makes the Tigers the team to beat down the stretch.
Last, but certainly not least on the list of visitors, is 2016 wide receiver Nate Craig. An Auburn commitment, Craig is getting back on the campus to continue building relationships with current coaches and players. Ohio State, Alabama, Florida, Florida State and dozens of other schools are pursuing Craig strongly, but he remains firm to the Tigers at the moment.
In addition to the big group of uncommitted players, Auburn is also expecting most of the current commitments for the 2015 class for official visits including Montavious Atkinson from Langston Hughes High in Fairburn, Ga., Jordan Colbert from Griffin, Ga., Marquel Harrell from Creekside High in Fairburn, Ga., Jalen Harris from St. James in Montgomery, Jauntavius Johnson from Lincoln, D'Anfernee McGriff from Leon High in Tallahassee, Fla., and Elijah Sullivan from Tucker, Ga.
As part of the group of prospects, but also taking on the responsibility of selling the program to fellow recruits, Johnson and Williams said the time is now to take Auburn to the next level.
“Now they can see all of the things I have talked about,” Johnson said. “They can see all of the things that make Auburn so great. They can make their own choices from their own experiences. That’s what it’s all about.”
“I’m excited because it’s a little preview of what you’ll get,” Williams added. “I know it will be fun. I feel like this class has some great guys. I have seen a couple here and there spending time with each other. It’s going to be fun, a good time.”