Tigers Making Final Recruiting Push

Coach Tommy Tuberville and his staff are putting together an impressive class of football recruits.

Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn football recruiting stretch drive is underway as Coach Tommy Tuberville and his staff hope to make what looks to be a strong 2006 signee class even stronger.

That effort got a boost on Friday evening when linebacker Craig Stevens of Lincoln High in Tallahassee, Fla., chose the Tigers over Clemson, Alabama, UCLA and Maryland. "The Auburn coaches told me they plan to play me at middle linebacker," Stevens tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "A lot of coaches tell me that I should be able to get up to 240 pounds."

Stevens says there wasn't one particular item that led him to decide on attending AU. "I liked everything about Auburn really," says the linebacker, who notes that he will be an academic qualifier with no problem.

Stevens says he plans to get an early start on his freshman year in college. "The coaches want me to come up to campus sometime in June," he says.

Stevens made his official visit to Auburn back in December. After having no official visitors last weekend after 21 on Jan. 13-14, Tuberville is bringing in seven prospects the final weekend before the Feb. 1st national signing date.

The group is an interesting mix of the committed and the uncommitted, the heavily recruited and the not heavily recruited.

One player who is both committed and heavily recruited, Central of Phenix City quarterback Earl Alexander, has been on again and off again with planned visits to Auburn after previously committing to Alabama. Alexander, who notes he grew up a Tide fan, and his parents scheduled a visit for this weekend to check out the Tigers, a program with four straight victories over Alabama. He originally planned to come to AU on the 13th, but did not make that trip.

Adam Patterson played in the Shrine Bowl All-Star Game to wrap up a strong senior season.

Probably the most heavily recruited player visiting Auburn this weekend is defensive lineman Adam Patterson, who is taking his fifth and final official visit after previous stops at Tennessee, Michigan, North Carolina State and hometown South Carolina. The 6-3, 255-pounder from Northeast Richland HIgh in Columbia, S.C., is one of his state's most prized prospects and notes that he is very interested in the Tigers although he hasn't named a leader.

On the not heavily recruited front, a trio of offensive line prospects from the state of Georgia are taking official visits. That group includes 6-0, 270 Brennan Palmer, a three-year starter for Statesboro High, who played on a 15-0 state championship team as a senior.

Rob Clifton, 6-4, 250 from Augusta Christian School, has an offer to be an invited walk-on along with Palmer and Ryan Shuler, who is 6-3, 255 from Lakeside High in Evans, Ga. Clifton and Shuler, like Palmer, are taking their first official visits this weekend. Clifton played on a state championship team as a senior. Shuler is the nephew of former Auburn starter Rob Shuler, who played on Pat Dye's 1983 SEC Championship team.

Ryan Shuler

Auburn is also getting an official visit from Greg Smith, an early verbal commitment, who played last fall at Northeast Mississippi Junior College. The 6-3, 315 defensive lineman played his high school football in Chattanooga, Tenn., and was a sign to place prospect for the Tigers back in 2004. He hoped to finish junior college in time to enroll for AU classes in January, but is now expected in to Auburn in June.

Another official visitor this weekend, wide receiver Terrell Zachery from Wadley, Ala., High, is a verbal commitment who set the state record for the most receiving yards in Alabama high school history. The 6-1, 180 Zachery is also an outstanding kick returner and led his team to the Class A state playoff semi-finals.

Terrell Zachery makes a catch as a senior.

In addition to this weekend's visitors, other recruits who the Tigers are still working on signing include:

*Large defensive lineman Charles Deas from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., who is visiting LSU this weekend.

*Defensive lineman Corey Peters from Louisville, Ky., who is visiting the Michigan Wolverines after a Sunday-Monday trip to Ohio State.

*Wide receiver Tim Hawthorne from Homewood High who is taking an official visit to Tennessee. He got an in-home visit from Tuberville on Thursday.

*Defensive end Peanut Whitehead from West End High, who is taking an official visit to Alabama. Tuberville also visited Whitehead on Thursday.

*Defensive lineman/offensive lineman Bryon Isom from Lovejoy, Ga., High, who got a Friday visit from Auburn's head coach.

*Defensive end Bryant Miller from Central High in Miami, who wrapped up his official visit schedule last weekend with a trip to Michigan State. Auburn looks to be the team to beat for Miller, a standout at an Auburn football camp.

*Defensive lineman Aleric Mullins, a December visitor to Auburn, is taking his fifth official visit this weekend to the University of North Carolina. He was at Missouri last weekend. He has also visited Tennessee, which could be the team to beat, and has made a trip to check out the Oklahoma Sooners. He is from East Wake High in Wendell, N.C.

*Tight end Michael Goggans from Benjamin Russell High in Alexander City is expected to announce on signing day with Auburn on his short list along with Tennessee and Alabama.

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