Tigers Looking To Continue Strong Finish

Auburn is looking for a strong finish as some of the top prospects in the South make decisions in the coming days that could include the Tigers in their future.

Auburn, Ala.--With one week remaining until National Signing Day for 2006, the Auburn Tigers are still waiting on around a dozen players to make a decision before putting this recruiting season to bed.

Currently with 21 public verbal commitments, Coach Tommy Tuberville and his staff have done a good job at every position of need with this class, but are still looking for the finishing touches in the next week.As they began working on the class, two positions that needed addressing were wide receiver and defensive line.

Already with commitments from Terrell Zachery, Chris Slaughter and Alex Rose, Auburn is in better shape at wide receiver, but there is little doubt they're looking to finish with a bang. That would be accomplished by getting Homewood standout Tim Hawthorne. One of the country's top receivers, Hawthorne is looking at Auburn, Alabama, Georgia, Louisville, South Carolina and Tennessee and is expected to make a decision on Jan. 30.

Tim Hawthorne catches a pass in the 5A State Championship game won by Homewood.

On the defensive line the Tigers have already secured commitments from junior college standout Greg Smith as well as Bart Eddins, Kareem Crowell, Jermarcus Ricks, Darrell Roseman, Zach Clayton and Raven Gray. With Gray headed to junior college right away the Tigers are still hoping to add at least two more defensive linemen to the mix before closing the books on this class.

Several of Auburn's top targets are expected to make a decision before signing day next Wednesday. The first to make his pick was defensive lineman Geno Atkins from St. Thomas Aquinas in Ft. Lauderdale. A 6-2, 270-pounder, Atkins has offers from Auburn, Georgia, Michigan State, North Carolina State and is also receiving late attention from Miami. He announced on Wednesday he will play for Georgia.

Geno Atkins

Another player who is expected to announce his final decision this week is linebacker Craig Stevens from Godby High in Tallahassee. The 6-2, 215 Stevens has visited Auburn, Alabama, Clemson, Maryland and UCLA and is expected to choose between those schools on Friday.

Also expected to do something before the end of week was tight end Michael Goggans from Benjamin Russell High in Alexander City. Originally committed to Tennessee, the 6-3, 246 Goggans is expected to choose between the Vols, Auburn and Alabama with it looking like a battle between the Tigers and Vols for his signature.

Both schools are scheduled to be in Alexander City to see Goggans on Wednesday. His mother said Tuesday night that her son planned to wait until the morning of signing day to announce his decision.

A player who has flirted with the idea of other schools all through the recruiting process despite being committed to Auburn is Crowell. After taking a visit to Clemson and talking with coaches from Louisville he says that he'll make his final decision over the weekend and have an announcement either Monday or Tuesday.

Craig Stevens

Scheduled to visit Auburn this weekend is one of the top uncommitted defensive linemen in the country in Adam Patterson. Rated as the number 22 defensive end in the country, the 6-3, 255 Patterson is expected to make his decision following his visit to Auburn. He will choose between the Tigers, South Carolina, Tennessee, Michigan and N.C. State as early as Sunday.

Perhaps the biggest name overall left on the board for the Tigers is big defensive end Deantwan Whitehead from West End High in Birmingham. The 6-6, 245-pounder known as "Peanut" is ranked as the number three defensive end prospect in the country by Scout.com and has Auburn, Alabama, Tennessee and Louisville in his final four. He's expected to announce his decision the day before signing day.

Another player who is saying he will wait until next week to make a decision is big Corey Peters from Louisville. After visiting Ohio State Sunday through Tuesday this weekend and with a visit planned to Michigan this weekend, Peters will choose between those two, Kentucky, Auburn and Louisville. The Wildcats appear to be the frontrunner for the 6-3, 280 Peters who will announce on signing day.

Bryant Miller

Two south Florida prospects say they will wait until signing day on Feb. 1 to announce their decisions and both could possibly choose the Tigers when all is said and done. Miami Central's Bryant Miller is a highly regarded defensive end prospect who is expected to choose between Auburn and Michigan State. The Tigers appear to be the leader for Miller. Big Charles Deas is keeping more colleges in the mix for his signature including Auburn, LSU, Florida State and Nebraska.

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