Defensive tackle Shelton Bynum from Cedar Grove High, where both Marcus McNeill and Jonathan Palmer played high school ball, says that he is looking forward to seeing what Auburn is like for his official visit.
"I like how they are close they are to home first of all," Bynum says of Auburn. "I would be going into a situation where, in getting used to the college program, I could have some former teammates with me to help me cope with things a little bit in Marcus and J.P. It's a program on the rise right now. Coach (Tommy) Tuberville is doing a good job over there. He's got things going in the right direction. I think I can come in there with a chance to play if I go and do what I'm supposed to do."
Having already visited both the Terrapins and Tar Heels, the 6-4 ½, 310-pound Bynum says that he will likely choose between the three shortly after returning home from Auburn. "This will be my last visit. I'll probably make my decision no later than Wednesday of next week."
Looking for help at defensive tackle with both Demarco McNeil and Spencer Johnson playing their last seasons in 2003 for the Tigers, the Auburn coaching staff has courted some of the top prospects in the South this season for the position. Being recruited as both a defensive and offensive player by all the schools on his list, Bynum says Auburn's need on defense makes them intriguing.
"It makes them more attractive because I do want to play defense in college," Bynum notes. "If they are looking at me as solely a defensive tackle that gives them the edge."
A four-year starter at defensive tackle while also seeing action on offense, Bynum says that he's gained a lot of confidence in his abilities by watching McNeill succeed on the field as a true freshman offensive tackle. With McNeill and Palmer on the campus, Auburn is definitely in good shape for Bynum's services in the weeks to come.
"It would be good to have them there so if I got homesick they would tell me how I should go about getting over it," Bynum notes. "They can show me how to get around the campus a lot easier and just cope with the change from high school to college, life and the football program.
"I was a little shocked at how well Marcus did. I knew he was a good player but I didn't really think he was all that. It may be because we hung out and I just looked at him as a regular person. It gives me some confidence seeing him do so well."
Tiger Ticket Extra: Good friends with both McNeill and Palmer, Bynum says he traveled to Auburn for the Georgia game and was present in Gainesville for the Florida game. He notes that he throws both the shot put and discus for Cedar Grove. His best effort in the shot put is just over 46 feet.