Ryan Johnson (above) is a senior at St. Paul's in Mobile.
A player Auburn has been recruiting for a long, long time, four-star defensive lineman Ryan Johnson looks to be down to the Tigers and Stanford following his visit to the Plains over the weekend and plans to make his decision in the next week.
Bringing in any four-star defensive lineman is important in terms of adding talent on the defensive line, but for Auburn this year it’s almost a must at this point. There is no doubt the Tigers are set up well in terms of depth for the future, but with just one true defensive linemen in this class they need another big body in the worst way.
The good news is that Auburn has dodged two bullets the last two weekends with Markaviest Bryant getting out of Athens and Baton Rouge without committing to either Georgia or LSU.
While Auburn isn’t given much of a chance by some with the player known as “Big Cat,” Bryant has ties to Auburn as the cousin of Montravius Adams and his coach has a long history with Rodney Garner, AU's defensive line coach.
Markaviest Bryant is considered one of the top prospects in Georgia.
Those two things and the prospect of getting on the field right away as a pass rusher for the Tigers makes Bryant’s upcoming official visit to the Plains one of the biggest of the year for Auburn.
It looks like speedy linebacker Tadarian Moultry is excited about his potential of being a pass rusher for the Tigers and he expects to have a chance to fill that role right away next season. After watching him in all-star games come off the edge, Auburn is now projecting him to play at least some at the buck position and use him off the edge. Already at nearly 230 pounds, Moultry said he believes he can easily play at 240 next season and with his explosiveness that could be a huge plus for the Tigers on defense.
Another positive for Auburn on the recruiting front was getting big linebacker Tyler Taylor on campus for a visit. The four-star prospect has Auburn and LSU as his top two he prepares to make a decision and his bond with Auburn defensive lineman Derrick Brown could be a key. Taylor played with Brown at Lanier High in Buford, Ga., so he has got a familiar face at Auburn. LSU’s need for linebackers could come into play, but Taylor really likes Travis Williams and the young linebacker coach has spent a lot of time recruiting Taylor in the last year.
Four-star Auburn running back commitment Devan Barrett visited Tennessee over the weekend and left still committed to the Tigers. That’s definitely good news and while those close to Barrett insist he’s still all Auburn, having him in Knoxville isn’t the best of news with just over a week until signing day.
Devan Barrett is one of the top running back prospects in the state of Florida.
The Vols have been recruiting Barrett for a long time and he decided to take the visit mostly just to make sure his commitment is the right one.
“I would say I’m pretty solid,” he told Inside Tennessee of his commitment to Auburn. “I’ll always have my recruiting process open and I’m just looking around.
“It’s just to keep my options open,” he added of his visit. “To see what’s out there for me. I just can’t commit to one school and be close-minded. I’m just open-minded and just have all my options open.”
While there is the potential that he could visit Indiana, this looks to be a case of Tennessee trying to pull off a steal at the last minute. As to what it would take, Barrett said plenty.
“I would say it’d take a lot,” Barrett said. “I’ve been up to Auburn many times. I love it up there. I’ve got people and family up there. So, yeah, it’d probably take a lot.”
One of the question marks for Auburn is what will the Tigers do at fullback? Coming into the weekend there was a better than average chance that three-star Chase Lasater would commit following his weekend trip, but that didn’t happen as he left campus waiting on AU's coaches to make him a committable offer. Often official visits are used to seal the deal for players who have made numerous trips to the campus already and are comfortable around the coaches and players. That wasn’t the situation for Lasater because he’s been a relatively late add to Auburn’s recruiting board. Because of that the evaluation period by Auburn is still ongoing, something that could continue this week with Gus Malzahn and Herb Hand expected to take a visit to see the prospect in Jacksonville, Fla. There’s still a chance that Lasater could be a part of in Auburn’s class, something we should know more about as the week progresses.