Auburn is expected to have a pair of official football visitors in this weekend and two players who could be an immediate help on the defensive line if they end up on the Plains. A talented pass rusher who transferred to Copiah-Lincoln, Miss., Community College from Illinois, Paul James visited for the Ole Miss game and left saying he would commit on his return visit. This is the weekend for James and getting a commitment from him could be a big boost for the Tigers because of his ability to rush the passer.
The cousin of Auburn freshman cornerback Carlton Davis, James accounted for 47 tackles, 14 sacks and 22 tackles for loss on his way to being named NJCAA Region 23 Defensive Most Valuable Player, MACJC Most Valuable Defensive Lineman and First Team All-State.
Also expected in this weekend is big juco defensive tackle Tyrell Chavis from Nassau Community College in New York. Originally signing with the University of Virginia, Chavis mae 39 tackles and six sacks in just eight games as a sophomore. The 6-5, 305-pounder also has offers from Miami, Penn State, Texas, West Virginia and others. He will be an early enrollee as will James.
Paul James could be a prospect to keep an eye on this weekend
Future Of The Offensive Line
While the defensive line gets a lot of talk when discussing Auburn's recruiting priorities, the need for at least a pair of offensive tackles is a major one for the Tigers in 2016 with the possibility that Shon Coleman, Avery Young or both could declare for the NFL Draft. While both could probably use another year at Auburn it’s doubtful either would develop into a first round talent and that could mean getting a head start on a potential career now.
Because of that the Tigers could potentially need someone to step up right away. The good news is that Robert Leff has shown good things as a tight end and did a solid job at left tackle against Georgia. If Coleman is held out Saturday because of a sore knee it could be a good audition for Leff heading into next season.
A transfer from the Univeristy of Texas, Darius James has worked hard on his conditioning this year while sitting out and that’s going to be the key for him. Fighting injuries while with the Longhorns, James has talent and if he can get in top shape could be a guy that gives Auburn a huge boost at offensive tackle.
More good news is that the Auburn's coaches say they are pleased with the guys on campus from last year’s signing class and while the interior guys may not be pressed into play even next season there is a chance that Mike Horton could make a push at a starting job right away. Impressive this fall at right tackle, Horton has worked really hard and that hasn’t gone unnoticed by the coaches.
On the recruiting trail the Tigers have a commitment from four-star guard Brodarious Hamm from Griffin, Ga., and he will likely be a guy who stays on the interior on the next level. Needing help at tackle the Tigers are making a strong push at big Willie Allen from John Curtis High in Louisiana. A four-star prospect, Allen is expected to visit Auburn after his season with Georgia, LSU, Ole Miss and TCU also in the mix.
Still in the hunt for five-star Greg Little from Allen, Tex., as well as four-star E.J. Price from Archer High in Lawrenceville, Ga., Auburn has some options at the moment with others such as Lucas Niang from Connecticut and Mississippi’s Scott Lashley also possibilities.
Auburn freshman Mike Horton has looked good early in his career at right tackle.
Good Start For 2016 Secondary
With the play of true freshman Carlton Davis this season and the emergence of sophomores Stephen Roberts and Nick Ruffin at safety the Tigers should be in pretty good shape in the secondary next season when you factor in the return of guys like Tray Matthews, Rudy Ford and Tim Irvin along with redshirts such as Javaris Davis.
Even more good news is that Josh Holsey plans to return for his fifth year and should be in line to be eligible next fall for the Tigers. That would be important to get a veteran back who could play either corner or safety in Auburn’s scheme. More positives come from practices this fall where transfer Jamel Dean has been really good at cornerback for the Tigers and should provide an immediate impact next season.
Coming from Ohio State and getting enrolled late in the summer, Dean will count on the 2016 class and gives the Tigers one less player they can sign this year, but based on the early returns it’s a spot well worth giving up.
Auburn would like to add three or four players in the secondary class this year and already have commitments from four-stars John Broussard and Marlon Character.