Sack Machine Enjoys Visit For Iron Bowl

This dominating pass rusher talks about his official visit to Auburn over the weekend.

Stone Mountain, Ga.--One of the top defensive ends in the South took an official visit to Auburn over the weekend for the Iron Bowl and says that the Tigers are right in the thick of things for his signature in February.

Athletic 6-4, 210 Jermaine Cunningham from Stephenson High says that getting a chance to see the Iron Bowl in person was one of the main reasons why he chose to take his official visit to Auburn now instead of waiting until after the season.

"That's why I had to make this an official visit," Cunningham tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "It's Auburn versus Alabama. It's a big game every year and always a good game. The defense just dominated the whole game and the fans were hyped the whole game. They didn't leave. Then the next morning seeing toilet tissue everywhere, that was crazy.

"The visit went pretty good," he adds. "I came up there with Watson Stanford, my defensive tackle teammate. We had a good time. We came down Saturday and went straight to the game. The fans were hyped. We went through the Tiger Walk and they said it was supposed to be about 40,000 (fans). It sounded like about 100,000. I had a pretty good time."

Hosted on his visit by Auburn sophomore defensive end Quentin Groves, Cunningham says the two got along well and had a chance to spend some time with other members of the team Saturday night.

"He was a pretty cool guy," Cunningham says. "We went out to the big offensive tackle's house (King Dunlap). We were over there watching the LSU game. He was a real cool guy. We were with Book (Calvin Booker) and Stanley McClover."

A true speed rusher, Cunningham says that his best 40-yard dash time is a 4.58.

Having already visited Virginia Tech and Tennessee in November officially, Cunningham says that he plans to take his final two visits, but may have to put them off because of his team's run into the Georgia playoffs. This weekend Stephenson takes on Lowndes in the semi-finals at the Georgia Dome. That will keep Cunningham from visiting one SEC East school this week.

"I was thinking about going down there to Florida," Cunningham says. "I was thinking about going down there this weekend (for the Florida State game), but we've got Lowndes so I'm going to have to reschedule that.

"This is my fourth year now and I have been starting for three," he adds. "I was part of us getting knocked out by Camden County and then going back again and getting knocked out by Lowndes. Now us playing Parkview and beating them, it feels real good."

A dominant defender on one of the South's best defenses, Cunningham currently has 140 tackles and 25 sacks from his defensive end position. In his three years as a starter he has totaled 49 1/2 sacks, but says that as a senior he's become more of a complete football player.

"I have just grown into the game," he says. "I have been in the weight room the whole offseason, worked on my technique, and just learned the fundamentals."

With three down and two to go, Cunningham says that he's not ready to name a leader or a favorite at the moment, but says that Auburn is definitely up there after his weekend.

"All of my official visits have been pretty good and I would rate them real high," Cunningham says. "This is another one I rate real high and had a pretty good time. I really haven't had a bad time on any of my official visits but this one would be about a 9 on a scale of 1-10."

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