Prospects Coming To AU For Visits This Weekend

A Georgia standout is featured in a preview of Auburn's football recruiting weekend.

Blakely, Ga.--Two players already verbally committed to the Auburn Tigers will take their official visits to the Plains this weekend as well as one of the top linebacker prospects from Mississippi.

Joining Antwoin Daniels and Steve Gandy will be one of Auburn's linebacker commitments and he says he's looking forward to the trip. Octavious Balkcom from Early County High chose the Tigers late in October and says that he's solid despite his plan to take trips to Tennessee and Florida State in the coming weeks.

"I'm looking forward to seeing what the town is like," Balkcom tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "I also want to see what the school is like. I want to tour all that to get a feel for things. We're supposed to go to a (basketball) game, also."

With visits scheduled for Knoxville on Jan. 17 and Florida State on the 23rd, Balkcom says he just wants to make sure that the decision he made is the right one, but he left little doubt that he still wants to be a Tiger. While the Vols, who have offered, and Florida State won't give up, he says he's not looking elsewhere.

"My commitment is still solid," Balkcom says. "Auburn is a great place. I just like the school and the way it is on game day. It's a great place."

Balkcom is shown at an all-star game held last month in Columbus, Ga.

A 6-4, 225-pounder with 4.6 speed in the 40-yard dash, Balkcom was the centerpiece of a dominating defense for Early County this season. He amassed nearly 100 tackles despite teams trying to run away from him much of the season. As a junior Balkcom had 60 solo tackles and led the team in total tackles for the season. He's also an accomplished track athlete and finished second in the state in the shot put as a sophomore.

Mississippi linebacker Steve Gandy

Balkcom joined fellow Auburn commitments Calvin Booker, Brad Lester, Cameron Mayo and Antwoin Daniels last weekend in Columbus, Ga., for the North-South All-Star game and was one of the more impressive defensive players in the contest. He says the experience was a fun one because it gave him a chance to measure himself against some of the top players in Georgia.

"It went real well," Balkcom says. "I had a lot of fun up there. I played linebacker there and had five tackles and I deflected a pass for an interception."

Balkcom is a player that has the size and athleticism to play linebacker, defensive end or even tight end on the next level, but is expected to line up at linebacker for the Tigers in the future.

Offensive lineman Antwoin Daniels

Joining Balkcom on the Plains this weekend will be Auburn commitment Daniels from Mary Persons High in Forsyth, Ga., and Gandy from Wayne County High in Waynesboro, Miss. Daniels, a 6-5, 262-pounder who is expected to play offensive tackle at Auburn, was a standout at a summer camp and showed good footwork and balance. He graded out better than 85 percent this season and should be a player to watch in the future for the Tigers.

One of the top players on one of the top teams in the South, Gandy led Wayne County to a 14-1 final record and a state championship as a senior. The 6-1 1/2, 193-pounder with good speed and instincts had over 150 tackles and 12 sacks from his linebacker position. Gandy has already visited Arizona State and is scheduled to trip to Alabama, Ole Miss and Tennessee in the coming weeks.

With school out until next Monday, Auburn is bringing in a smaller than normal visit class for the first weekend in January, but expect that to change drastically the next two weeks. Expect large visit weekends on both the 16th and 23rd of January as the Tigers load up for the stretch run to put a strong finish on the Class of 2004.

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