Football Recruiting Moves Into High Gear At AU

Auburn, Ala.--Offensive lineman Jarrod Britt notes that his life has been more peaceful since deciding that he was finished with recruiting except for the recruiting being done by the Auburn Tigers.

"When coaches call these days, I won't even talk to them," says Britt. "I just tell them I am going to Auburn and that is it."

Britt picked the Tigers over South Carolina, Florida, Alabama and many others back on Dec. 10th, noting that he is impressed with the overall Auburn program and offensive line coach Hugh Nall in particular. Since then Nall has been promoted to offensive coordinator, but he will continue to coach the offensive linemen like Britt.

Jarrod Britt

Britt will be one 20-plus football prospects expected on the Auburn campus this weekend for official visits. Normally, big linemen are expected to put away some groceries on their official visits, but Britt might be an exception this weekend.

"I am trying to lose a little weight," he says. "I need to drop six or seven pounds so I can make weight for wrestling." Britt, who stands six-foot-five, is trying to make the 275-pound weight limit for the heavyweight division as a member of the McEachern High team in Powder Springs, Ga. "I just got back from Ryan's all you can eat buffet so I didn't make the job any easier," he joked in an interview with Inside the Auburn Tigers. "It's good and I couldn't resist."

Losing weight won't be a concern for Britt when wrestling is finished. He says that he hopes to report for two-a-days at Auburn in August at 295 pounds with 15 percent body fat. With 4.9 speed, excellent quickness and lots of athletic ability along with a 370-pound bench press, it is easy to under why the McEachern High standout is considered one of the top prospects in the Southeast this year.

Auburn's other offensive line commitment is expected in for an official visit this weekend and like Britt, he is an excellent athlete. King Dunlap Jr., a 6-7, 275 pounder from Brentwood, Tenn., Academy, took home a Tennessee Mr. Football Award after his senior season. Dunlap has excellent bloodlines as an athlete. His father was a star player at Tennessee State University who played for the Baltimore Colts and Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League.

Auburn has 14 public verbal commitments going into its first major recruiting weekend in January, which is an unusually high number by AU's traditional standards. One of the committed visitors is Dunlap's teammate, 5-11, 170 punter Kody Bliss who has an exceptionally strong leg. He was recruited by colleges around the country before picking the Tigers.

Other Auburn commitments expected in for their official visits include high school stars such as speedy and athletic 6-4, 225 defensive end Lloyd Blevins from Wenonah High in Birmingham, 6-2, 205 running back Carl Stewart from three-time state champ Maryville, Tenn., High and 6-1, 218 running back Jason Jude from Athens, Ala., High, who was a summer commitment to the Tigers.

Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville is predicting another strong signee class for the Tigers. The highest priority areas for the 2003 AU signee class include the defensive line and secondary. The Tigers must replace three senior cornerbacks--Rashaud Walker, Horace Willis and Roderick Hood. They also lose starting free safety Travaris Robinson, who was especially impressive as an All-SEC senior.

This weekend's expected group of more than 20 official visitors includes uncommitted secondary prospects such as Patrick Lee from Christopher Columbus High in Miami, Fla., and Mike Jenkins from Southeast High in Bradenton, Fla. One of the nation's most heavily recruited junior college defensive linemen, Doug Langenfeld from Reedley Junior College in California, is also expected to be on campus for an official visit.

Tuberville says he is looking to sign talented players at virtually every position this year and few, if any, prospects are considered to be more physically gifted than Ernie Sims. The linebacker/running back from North Florida Christian High in Tallahassee has already visited Florida and Georgia and is also scheduled to make trips to Miami on Jan. 17th and FSU on Jan. 31.

Ernie Sims is shown working out at a Nike Combine.

Rated by network as the nation's number one high school prospect, regardless of position, Sims is a 5-11, 225-pounder with explosive power and speed who is expected to be an immediate impact player wherever he chooses to play college football. A strong student with a desire to study veterinary medicine, Auburn offers one of the world's top vet medicine programs.

Several of the state of Alabama's top prospects are scheduled to be in Auburn for visits. Tez Doolittle, a fullback/linebacker from Opelika High, is expected to be on campus this weekend along with linebacker Mitchell Thomas from Smiths Station. Two-sport standout Jai Miller from Selma High is visiting Auburn. Miller is also a college prospect as a basketball guard.

Jai Miller is played quarerback as a senior at Selma High, but will likely move to another position in college.

The Tigers have 14 public commitments including a pair of junior college players who are already on campus enrolled in classes--tailback Brandon Jacobs and defensive end Tony McClain. Also enrolled is re-signee Kevin Sears, a DB/LB from Russellville, Ala. The other commitments are verbal and will be until national signing day on Feb. 5th.

Auburn's other public commitments include:

6-1, 188, 4.5 Kelcy McKissic-Luke from Central High in Phenix City, Ala.

*6-1, 170 kicker John Vaughn from Brentwood, Tenn., Academy

*6-5, 230 tight end Cole Bennett from Dalton, Ga., High

*5-10, 165 wide receiver Bruce Edwards from Columbus, Miss., High

*6-4, 225 defensive end Viciente DeLoach from Columbus, Miss., High

*6-1, 289 defensive lineman Josh Thompson from Statesboro, Ga., High.

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