Tigers Will Play With Hart in 2004

Columbia, S.C.--Leon Hart, one of the nation's most highly regarded offensive line prospects, has committed to play football for the Auburn Tigers.

"I decided to follow my heart and my heart tells me that I want to attend Auburn," Hart told Inside the Auburn Tigers. "It is a great feeling. I was going to wait until Friday night to to decide after meeting with (South Carolina assistant coach) Skip Holtz, but I decided not to keep stringing this thing along and make the decision that I am going to Auburn.

"I called Coach Skip Holtz and told him I am coming to Auburn and I called Coach Terry Price at Auburn and told him that, too. It is a relief to make a decision and I feel good about the decision. It came down to a gut feeling and I went with that."

Price is an assistant coach for Auburn, who recruits in South Carolina.

With the loss of early commitment Cameron Mayo to Tennessee earlier in the week the Tigers are back to two OL verbals as Hart joins Antwoin Daniels from Mary Persons High in Forsyth, Ga., as players who say they will sign scholarship papers with the Tigers on Wednesday, Feb. 4th.

A 6-5, 285-pound tackle from Spring Valley High School, Hart was recruited by teams across the country. He originally narrowed his choices to Auburn and Ohio State. Last week, he added hometown South Carolina, where he visited last weekend, and dropped Ohio State.

Hart says he has been high on the Tigers since visiting the campus last summer. His official visit to Auburn on Jan. 16-18th was a good one, he notes. "I went down and had all my questions answered," he says. "I had a good time around the players and the coaches."

When he returns to Auburn, Hart will rejoin former Spring Valley High teammate Travis Williams, who is a linebacker for the Tigers.

Leon Hart was smiling on Wednesday as a guest on Fox Sports South's Countdown to Signing Day television show.

Hart, who is from the same high school that sent starting linebacker Travis Williams to Auburn, took his first official visit to Ohio State in December and says he liked that trip a great deal. He also took an official visit to Georgia on Jan. 9th.

Hart notes that he plans to study electrical engineering at Auburn and AU's program in that field is a prime consideration in his choice.

Jamie Newberg, national recruiting analyst for TheInsiders.com, says that Hart is a talented prospect. "I like the way he comes off the football," Newberg says. "He is a strong drive blocker. Like most young offensive linemen, he will need to work on his pass blocking, but he is a tremendous prospect. He is a tough football player with the ability to play either tackle or guard."

Spring Valley High coach Jimmy Noonan says that Auburn is getting a special player and a great person. "He is a high character kid," Noonan tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "Physically, he is ready to play now."

Hart says the game day atmosphere at Auburn helped attract him to the Tiger football program as well as the opportunity for early playing time. The Tigers will have two open starting offensive line spots this coming season with tackle Mark Pera and guard Monreko Crittenden being seniors last season.

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