Recruiting Down To Crunch Time

A analysis of the prospects Auburn is recruiting down the stretch and where they might be headed on signing day is featured.

Auburn, Ala.--With the Feb. 1st national signing day arriving on Wednesday, the Auburn Tigers are looking to finish strong in what could turn out to be the best class under Coach Tommy Tuberville since he's been on the Plains.

With 20 verbal commitments and the opportunity to add more high-profile recruits as signees this week, the 2006 Auburn signee class could be bolstered with the addition of talented players who have been in no rush to pick their favorite college.

Among them is the state of Alabama's highest rated wide receiver prospect, Tim Hawthorne. Having already visited Auburn, Georgia, South Carolina, Louisville and Alabama, Hawthorne went to Tennessee last weekend to check out Phillip Fulmer's program. After saying early last week that Auburn was his leader, Hawthorne backed off that and now says he's wide open again. He is scheduled to announce his decision Monday afternoon in Homewood with Auburn, South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee in the running. Team to beat: Auburn

Another player who is considering a long list of collges after making five official visits is Louisville, Ky., defensive lineman Corey Peters. A visitor to Auburn two weeks ago, the Central High standout has said for a while that the Tigers and home state Kentucky were his leaders. Back to back trips to Big 10 country to see Ohio State and Michigan wrapped up his busy recruiting schedule. Peters is expected to announce his decision on Wednesday morning at his school. Team to beat: Kentucky

Earl Alexander from Central High in Phenix City, Ala., had previously committed to Alabama, but decided to take an official visit to Auburn this past weekend. The 6-4 quarterback says he is still committed to Alabama, but notes that he is considering Auburn. He plans to have his final decision made prior to signing day. Team to beat: Alabama

Another player who should be ready to make a decision soon is big defensive tackle Aleric Mullins from Wendell, N.C. A visitor to North Carolina over the weekend, Mullins has taken official visits to Auburn, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Missouri. The Tigers and Vols have looked to be the leaders for the standout since his trip to Auburn in December. However, North Carolina got the last visit over the weekend and has home-state advantage so don't count out the Tar Heels. He plans to make his decision public on Tuesday at 1 p.m. EST from Charlotte. The decision may be shown live on ESPNU. Team to beat: Tennessee

Tuesday brings another Birmingham player into the news as big Deantwan Whitehead from West End High plans to make his decision public at his high school. A 6-6, 245-pounder, Whitehead had 25 sacks last season and is rated as the number three defensive end in the country by Scout.com. He visited Alabama over the weekend and will choose between the Tide, Auburn, Tennessee, Louisville and Clemson. Whitehead is not naming a leader. Team to beat: Auburn

Bryant Miller is considered one of the nation's top defensive end prospects.

There could be plenty of signing day suspense with a larger than normal number of recruits planning to announce their decision on Wednesday. South Florida prospects Bryant Miller and Charles Deas are two players who are on the Auburn radar. Choosing between Auburn and Michigan State, there looks to be a solid chance the Central High star will opt to play ball in the SEC. Team to beat: Auburn.

Deas visited Auburn, Nebraska, Florida State and LSU and is giving few if any clues on where he is going to sign heading into Wednesday's festivities. Team to beat: Unknown

Another Wednesday announcement is expected to come from Benjamin Russell tight end Michael Goggans. A 6-3, 246-pounder, Goggans was an early commitment to Tennessee before backing off that and taking visits to both Auburn and Alabama. Heading into signing day it looks like he will be a Volunteer. Team to beat: Tennessee

South Carolina all-star defensive end Adam Patterson took his fifth and final official visit to Auburn this past weekend. The 6-3, 250 Patterson returned home to Columbia, S.C., with high praise for the Tigers. He will choose between Auburn, South Carolina, Tennessee and North Carolina State for his signature. The Gamecocks have homefield advantage in this contest. Team to beat: South Carolina

The wildcard of the process in the closing days could be Byron Isom. A talented two-way lineman from Lovejoy, Ga., High School, the 6-3, 260 Isom had narrowed his choices to Auburn and South Carolina and appeared to have chosen the Gamecocks following a visit to Columbia. Now Isom is rethinking his decision and could have a final choice at any time. Team to beat: South Carolina


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