With both Demarco McNeil and Spencer Johnson leaving after next season and reserve Dante Booker a senior this year, tackle is a spot the Tigers need immediate help. One of the players that could fill that void in the coming years is 6-3, 275 Andre Fluellen from Cartersville High.
With schools all over the Southeast courting his services for Signing Day 2003, Fluellen says he considered many different teams before narrowing his choices down to a select five.
"Right now it's Florida, Maryland, Alabama, Vanderbilt and Auburn is in there really," Fluellen tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "A lot of it is the degree I'm going to get wherever school I go to. I want to be at a place where I can be comfortable in my surroundings and comfortable with my coaches."
A former teammate of current Auburn tailback Ronnie Brown during a state championship season, Fluellen says he has enjoyed watching Brown run wild during the 2002 season. While he notes that it might make a difference down the road having a friend at Auburn, it's not a major part of his thinking at the moment.
"The thing that sticks out to me is mainly their defense," Fluellen says of Auburn. "Their defense has been doing real good lately and that's mainly what I look at when I watch them. I watch Ronnie, too, but their defense has impressed me a lot."
A dominant player since his sophomore season, Fluellen finished his senior season with 90 tackles, 11 sacks, six caused fumbles and four fumble recoveries as the Hurricanes slumped. After a strong junior season when he had 88 tackles and eight sacks, Fluellen says the year didn't turn out like he had hoped.
"We had a pretty disappointing season really," Fluellen says. "We went 4-6. We had a really young team. It didn't live up to Cartersville standards. Sometimes that happens."
In addition to his considerable talents on the football field, Fluellen is also an accomplished track and field athlete. With personal best throws of 51 feet, six inches in the shot put and 155-4 in the discuss, he has a chance at a state title in both events this spring.
A visitor to Tennessee's summer camp this past year, he says he has been to several games unofficially this season including the Auburn-Alabama game two weeks ago. He has official visits set for Vanderbilt (Dec. 13), Maryland (Jan. 10) and Florida (Jan. 17) in the coming weeks and will likely set up visits with Auburn and Alabama as well. He's projected to be a full qualifier.