Busy Recruiting Weekend For Auburn Football

The Tigers are scheduled to have official recruiting visits from players coming to check out the program as Auburn takes on the Georgia Bulldogs.

Auburn, Ala.--A trio of junior college speedsters and two high school seniors are scheduled to take official visits to Auburn this weekend where they will be able to watch one of the top games of the year in college football.

On Saturday, third-ranked Auburn, 9-0 overall with 11 straight victories going back to last season, will try to keep its unbeaten streak alive against the 8-1 Georgia Bulldogs. Georgia is ranked fifth and eighth this week.

The three junior college prospects, who hope to be early graduates, are in the group expected to take official visits to see the Tigers.

A tall and speedy wide receiver, who is scheduled to take a visit to Auburn this weekend, says that he is excited about making the trip to the AU campus. Prechae Rodriguez, a 6-4, 194-pounder with 4.4 speed in the 40, says that Auburn, FSU and Miami are his favorites with the Tigers currently the leader.

A player who redshirted as a freshman at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas, Rodriguez plans to graduate from the junior college in December and transfer to a Division I program in January where he will have three years to play three seasons.

A native of Tampa, Fla., where he was more known as a basketball player at Jefferson High School, Rodriguez has 37 catches for 536 yards and two touchdowns with one game left to play as his Coffeyville team is expected to be in a bowl game after finishing as the runnerup in the Jayhawk Conference.

"I would say my strength as a football player is my ability to catch the ball," Rodriguez says. "I know how to make the catch when the ball is at its highest point." A 40-inch vertical jump and his height make him an inviting target.

Commenting on Auburn, Rodriguez says, "I really like their football program. They have a real impressive offensive system to play in and, really, the entire team is impressive. They have a great defense that plays real hard and they have a chance to win the national championship this year. That is very exciting."

He was more known as a basketball prospect at Jefferson High in Tampa, but says although he just played one year of football he figured that was the best sport for him. "After talking with people, I decided that in the long run football was the better choice," he says.

Rodriguez will be joined on his official visit by cornerback Jonathan Wilhite and wide receiver Frantz Hardy, who are both from Butler County Community College in Kansas.

The Tigers are also expected to be the host for high school wide receiver/athlete Lucas Taylor on an official visit as well as big offensive lineman Oscar Gonzalez, an earlier verbal commitment to the Tigers. More than 150 other prospects are expected to be on the Auburn campus for unofficial visits.

Wilhite, a 5-10, 175 speedster who is from Ouachita High in Monroe, La., says that he is seriously considering the Tigers. "Auburn is number one right now," Wilhite tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "Auburn is my leader right now. I have schools calling me like Arkansas, LSU, Alabama is talking to me, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, UAB, Memphis, Louisville, schools like that. I have offers from Purdue, Louisville, Arkansas, Oklahoma State, Iowa State and Auburn."

Like Rodriguez, he hopes to graduate in December with three years of Division I eligibility.

"I like the coaches and the way we communicate," Wilhite says. "I like Coach Price (Terry Price). I like the season that they have going right now. I have played with a couple of guys that went there, including David Irons. I like playing with Prime (David Irons) because we're a lot alike. He talks real good about the school and he tells me if I do what I'm capable of doing that I can come in and play."

Hardy, a 6-2, 175-pounder, says he has been clocked in the upper 4.3 to lower 4.4 range in the 40. He has offers from Auburn, South Carolina, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan State, Nebraska and California and other colleges. Auburn is his first official visit for the busy wide receiver, whose team is undefeated.

Hardy is originally from Miami, Fla., where he played at Booker T. Washington High. He also redshirted his freshman season and will have three years of Division I eligibility.

"I like going deep," he says. "My speed and the fact that I like to mix it up are my best skills. I like to block too. Some people think that I can't block, but I like to block."

Hardy says he is impressed with Auburn's offense. "I like the running backs because you have to have the running backs if you want to have a passing game," he says. "You have got to at least a have a good running back to get into the passing game and they not only have one, but they have two and they can throw the ball and spread the ball around."

After signing just one wide receiver last season, that is a priority area for the Tigers in the 2005 recruiting class. Lucas Taylor from LaFayette, La., says Auburn and Tennessee are his favorites and he is also looking at Florida and South Carolina.

He is putting up big numbers as a quarterback at Carencro, where he has been a three-year starter, but the 6-0, 180, 4.42 athlete, who is a star in three sports, says he expects to be a wide receiver at the next level.

"I like Coach Knox," Taylor says of Auburn. "I love the fact that they're having a good season. They have a good team and they're playing well. With so many older receivers I think I could come in and play earlier."

In a game last month, Taylor rushed for a state record 539 yards and scored six touchdowns on 35 carries.

July verbal commitment, 6-6, 285, 5.2 OL offensive lineman Oscar Gonzalez from Hialeah, Fla., High, is scheduled to be on campus for an official visit.

Oscar Gonzalez

"It just felt like home," Gonzalez told Inside The Auburn Tigers after choosing the Tigers following a summer camp at AU where he was a standout. "The coaches are nice, the environment is nice, I like the campus from what I saw. I just like the competition level up there.

"Coach (Eddie) Gran is a real good guy," Gonzalez says of the coach that is recruiting him for Auburn. "All the coaches that I talked to are nice. They are young and they showed me what Auburn was all about. Plus, having a lot of Miami boys up there makes me feel at home."

The prospects visiting this weekend will get to see the top college game in the country this week as the third ranked Tigers, who are 9-0, take on the 8-1 Georgia Bulldogs, who are ranked fifth and eight.

Auburn currently has nine public verbal commitments from the following players: 6-3, 222 DE Alonzo Horton from Abramson-Marion High in New Orleans; 6-3, 175, 4.5 WR Montez Billings from Pelham High; 6-2, 205 4.6 LB Patrick Trahan from St. Augustine High in New Orleans; 6-3, 210, 4.6 LB Rex Sharpe from Fairfield High; 6-6, 256, 5.1 TE Andrew McCain from Briarwood Christian High in Birmingham; 5-11, 178, 4.48 CB Aairon Savage from Westover High in Albany, Ga.; 5-11, 178, 4.48 RB/Ath. Ali Sharrief from North Jackson High in Stevenson; 6-6, 285, 5.2 OL Oscar Gonzalez from Hialeah, Fla., High; and 6-3, 300, 5.2 Michael Harness from Pacelli High in Columbus, Ga.


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