Taking A Road Trip
This week myself and John Garcia will be touring the state and visiting some of the top prospects in Alabama. We’ll start in Montgomery on Tuesday by getting a closer look at some of the guys in the Capital City. I have already been to Park Crossing where big Tank Jenkins and talented athlete Cam Taylor will be two players to watch, but there are a whole lot more good players in the region.
One of the most intriguing is speedy defensive back JaKorey Hawkins. Adding an offer from Auburn last week, Hawkins is right at six-feet and nearly 190 pounds, but recently ran better than 4.4 in the 40-yard dash. That has him moving quickly up the defensive back recruiting boards for many teams.
Next we’ll move to Mobile to see big-time cornerback Jalyn Armour-Davis from St. Paul’s. Watching him in person each of the last two seasons, Armour-Davis is definitely a major cornerback prospect for the Tigers because of his length and ability to run with even the fastest of receivers.
A pair of talented receivers that I saw play last season are adding offers out of Blount High in Prichard, 6-4 Collins Woods III and speedy Lebarron Jones. Playing with Florida signee Kadarius Toney last season, both showed the ability to be playmakers and it won’t be a surprise to see them do big things as seniors this fall.
We’ll finish out our three-day swing in Birmingham and one of the schools that is going to be back on the recruiting radar is Thompson. With former Spanish Fort Coach Mark Freeman running the show for the Warriors they’re already starting to have more and more prospects. One of the best this year is 6-5 defensive tackle Mackie McNeal. A talented defender, McNeal could wind up moving to the offensive line down the road and he could be a good one.
Softball Continues To Get The Job Done
When you talk about grinding out wins the picture in the dictionary this season should be a team photo of Auburn women’s softball. A mentally tough program from the top to the bottom, they’ve fought through some not-so-ideal situations this year and still find themselves in great position to be a national seed after winning their first-ever series in Tuscaloosa over the weekend.
It’s hard to not be impressed by what Coach Clint Myers and this team has accomplished so far considering the loss of Tannon Snow before the year started, the resignation of Corey Myers during the season, suspensions and more. Through it all they’ve kept grinding out wins and now find themselves in a great spot heading into the SEC Tournament this week in Knoxville. Winning a third straight would be great, but this team has locked up the opportunity to play at home until the Women’s College World Series and that’s one big win already.
Lost Weekend For Baseball Tigers
With everything they have played for all season within their grasp heading into a home series against an Alabama team that had won just two conference games, Auburn fell flat on Saturday with a doubleheader loss in a pair of one-run games and finished it off with a 15-inning heartbreaker on Sunday night to drop from a potential NCAA host site to now needing a few more wins just to get into a regional.
Five errors in the two games on Saturday all led to Alabama runs and the Tigers made three more on Sunday to move the total to eight for the weekend. That came after Auburn made just 17 errors in the first 21 SEC games this season.
That is something that Butch Thompson’s team has avoided for much of the year. When the Tigers don’t make those mistakes this is a team that can compete with anyone in college baseball. However, the flip side is those mistakes make it hard for this group of Tigers to win games, especially when you take two of your best offensive players out of the lineup in Daniel Robert (elbow) and Luke Jarvis (back).
Last weekend they got some big innings and big home runs to overcome those losses, but when the big blows don’t come it puts the pressure on trying to deliver multiple hits in an inning to score runs. That is not always going to happen and when it doesn’t you lose one-run games instead of winning them, which this team has done all season.
Things aren’t going to get any easier for this team with a short week coming up. Playing on the road Tuesday against UAB in Birmingham, Auburn will head from there straight to Baton Rouge to face LSU beginning Thursday night. A short week following this weekend could be good for this team to help them flush away the disappointment of a major blown opportunity, but an already beaten up team will have to play very well to turn things around at LSU.