AU Expecting Talented Group Of Official Visitors

The Auburn Tigers are using the Iron Bowl weekend to welcome an impressive collection of football recruits.

Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn Tigers play the Alabama Crimson Tide this weekend for the annual Iron Bowl showdown and when they do they are expected to be the host to a half dozen prospects taking official visits to the Auiburn campus.

Offensive linemen Micah Jones and Jason Watkins will make the trip along with quarterback Xavier Lee and defenders Greg Hinds, Charles Johnson and C.J. Hunnicutt.

While most are well-known names to Auburn fans who follow recruiting, Hunnicutt is a player who many might not know as much about because he is from the talent-rich Brandenton, Fla., not an area usually known for producing Auburn football players. A 6-3, 220-pounder with 4.65 speed in the 40-yard dash, Hunnicutt is a standout defensive end, but most colleges are recruiting him as an outside linebacker for the next level.

One of the most dominant pass rushers in the South this year, Hunnicutt was almost unblockable in his senior season. Playing defensive end exclusively he finished with 75 tackles and 18 sacks. Add those numbers to his 22 sacks as a junior and you have an explosive player who is a playmaker on the defensive side of the ball.

"My strength is definitely me speed," Hunnicutt says of his style of play. "I am a strong kid for my size, but I like to run around people at the line of scrimmage. I pattern my style of play on Jevon Kearse."

With offers from West Virginia, South Florida, Miami, Ohio State and several others, Hunnicutt has plenty of options on his college choice and says that he's happy to be making his first visit to see the Auburn-Alabama showdown in person.

"I know Auburn-Alabama is a real big rival game," Hunnicutt says. "We had our big rival game (Southeast High in Bradenton) and I just want to see how it compares. Of course, college is going to be on a much bigger scale. I want to see what the fan base is like and how the students support the team.

"I just like they way they are recruiting me," Hunnicutt adds about the Tigers. "They are treating me real good and they seem like they want me real bad. They think I can help their team out a lot."

A solid student, Hunnicutt has already scored a 960 on his SAT and has a grade point average of 3.0. Those numbers should give him no problems in qualifying and make him a top priority for many colleges looking his way.

Charles Johnson

Despite making a verbal commitment to the Georgia Bulldogs Johnson is scheduled to travel to Auburn this weekend as one of several visits he will make this fall to insure he made the right choice. A 6-3, 248-pounder with 4.6 speed, Johnson is capable of playing tight end or linebacker on the collegiate level, but is the prototypical defensive end college coaches are trying to sign. The Hawkinsville standout will also likely visit Florida and Tennessee before signing day rolls around in February.

Considered one of the top offensive lineman prospects in the South this year, Jones is a 6-5, 325-pounder with good feet and an aggressive attitude on the football field. With offers from just about every major college in the region and many of the top programs in the country he has his pick of schools and Auburn is squarely in the running for his services. After visiting Auburn this weekend he will likely visit Michigan, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky before making his decision. Jones led Mayfield to the state championship as a junior and has his team poised to make another run in 2003.

One of the top defensive athletes in Mississippi, the 6-2, 220 Hinds is a speedster who could play safety or linebacker on the next level, but is being recruited as a safety by the Tigers. A visitor to Auburn for a summer football camp and a game earlier in the season, Hinds is a standout on both offense and defense at Southaven and finished the regular season with almost 90 tackles and over 1,000 yards of total offense. He's expected to choose between Auburn and Mississippi State with Arkansas, South Carolina, Michigan and several other schools in the mix.

Florida's all-time leader in touchdown passes is scheduled to make a visit to Auburn this weekend when Lee travels from Daytona Beach to take in the action and festivities of the Iron Bowl. The 6-3, 210-pounder finished his Seabreeze High career with 549 completions in 993 attempts for 9,082 yards, 98 touchdowns and 33 interceptions. Florida State appears to be the early leader for Lee's services, but Auburn, Florida, Tennessee and Ohio State are all vying for his signature.

Included in the weekend of official visits for the Tigers is Watkins from Lake Gibson High in Lakeland, Fla. The 6-7, 287-pounder with good feet is one of the top offensive tackle prospects in Florida and has offers from many of the top schools in the region including Florida, Georgia and LSU and also is being courted by Michigan State, Oklahoma and others.

Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories