Perhaps the biggest name to come out of Wednesday's signing day was DeAngelo Benton. A two-time signee with LSU out of Bastrop (La.) High, Benton was considered one of the top receivers in the country coming out of high school. After failing to quality then and the next year out of prep school, Benton surprised everyone by signing with Auburn instead of LSU and giving a big lift to the Tigers' fortunes.
Another lift came from wide receiver Emory Blake from Austin, Tex. The son of former NFL standout quarterback Jeff Blake, he signed with the Tigers over Texas Tech and Colorado. Along with Benton and Blake, Auburn's signings of Travante Stallworth, LaVoyd James and Anthony Gulley give the Tigers perhaps their best haul at the position in years.
Much like wide receiver, Auburn helped itself tremendously at the running back position on signing day with the addition of Dontae Aycock from Tampa's Chamberlain High School. A physical runner, Aycock chose Auburn over Georgia Tech, Louisville, Illinois and several other schools.
Along with Aycock, Auburn added early enrollee Onterio McCalebb and Brandon Jacobs with junior college signee Demond Washington also getting a look at the position. Getting the ball to the backs and receivers will be a pair of highly-regarded prospects in Tyrik Rollison from Sulphur Springs, Texas and Clint Moseley from Leroy. Both led their teams to state championships in their senior seasons. Throw in four-star tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen and you have the best haul for offensive skill players in the last decade for Auburn.
Up front the class was left with a hole when Aubrey Phillips chose to sign with Florida State instead of Auburn, but with Andre Harris and John Sullen the class is not barren of offensive line talent. The 2010 class will be one that Auburn will likely sign 4-5 offensive lineman with at least two playing the tackle position.
Defensively the Tigers grabbed a solid line group led by Mobile's Terrence Coleman. The longtime commitment flirted with Tennessee, but in the end signed with the Tigers along with fellow Mobile native and Williamson grad Nick Fairley. Fairley re-signed with the Tigers after failing to enroll early in school in January. Also adding to the group were Jamar Travis from W.S. Neal High in Brewton, Nosa Eguae from Arlington, Tex., and Josh Jackson from Gainesville, Ga.
A player that could help up front on defense, but also at linebacker is Dee Ford from St. Clair County. With the speed to play outside at linebacker and also weak side defensive end, Ford could be a key player in the class with the Tigers missing out on two linebackers on signing day.
Eltoro Freeman is already in school, but is included in the signing class and becomes easily the biggest grab for Auburn's class this season. Expected to immediately step in at the weak side linebacker position, Freeman's signing is beyond big for the Tigers.
With Greg King choosing Tennessee and Tana Patrick signing with Alabama, Auburn's linebacker haul was a little light with depth an issue, but commitments Harris Gaston and Jonathan Evans followed through and signed with Auburn. Much like the offensive line, Auburn will likely sign 4-5 linebackers next year to make up for a small class in 2009.
In the defensive backfield Auburn got help from junior college signee Taikwon Paige from Georgia Military College. Originally from Aiken, S.C., Paige should be the cover corner Auburn is looking for to make up for the loss of Jerraud Powers' early entry into the NFL Draft.
At the safety position the Tigers should get help from a trio of players that signed on Wednesday. Athletic Izauea Lanier from Gordo, Reggie Taylor from Peach County, Ga., and Daren Bates from Olive Branch, Miss., all of whom also excelled on offense, should get a look at the safety position and have the chance to upgrade Auburn's speed in the secondary tremendously.
Most Important Signee: Eltoro Freeman
Sleeper: Izauea Lanier
Biggest Upside: DeAngelo Benton
Most Versatile: Nick Fairley and Demond Washington
Most Ready To Play: Philip Lutzenkirchen