A talented high school senior who could play either either spot on the line, 6-3, 260-pound D.J. Ernst says that he's looking forward to his trip to the Plains this weekend to see what the Tigers have to offer. He notes that Auburn has one advantage already--the coach that's recruiting him.
"I like Coach (Phillip) Lolley first of all," Ernst tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "We've had good communication the last couple of months. When I came down to the Auburn-Georgia game I really liked the atmosphere of that. It was a big game. Just seeing all the people tailgating and the atmosphere of the game, even though it was kind of raining a little bit, everybody stayed. Nobody really left."
A visitor to Auburn's summer camp, Ernst was one of the top performers there and earned instant respect for his work ethic and willingness to learn. In fact, it was that experience that earned him a scholarship offer from the Tigers.
"They offered during the summer," Ernst says of the Tigers. "They were the first ones to offer, that's why they are kind of up there no matter what happens. They've been up there in my top five the whole time."
In addition to Auburn and Clemson, Ernst notes that he plans to take visits to Southern Miss (1-24) and Louisiana Tech (1-31) in the coming weeks. He also plans to take a trip to visit McNeese State during the week soon to check out the campus. Despite interest from Oklahoma State and other larger schools, he says staying close to home is important to him.
"There have been more phone calls," Ernst says of his life since recruiting picked back up after the holidays. "Since everybody knows I've narrowed it down to those couple of schools I'm taking visits to a lot of the schools that had been calling stopped. The schools that I'm taking visits to have picked up."
Something that Ernst didn't realize was the true nature of what recruiting is all about, especially for a defensive lineman. Becoming a prospect with lots of offers, he's seen the process heat up for his signature in the last few weeks and that has him seeking refuge from time to time to try to relax and get away from it all.
"Before I started getting recruited I had only known guys that had been recruiting so I didn't know how it went," he says. "I never would have realized it was like this. There will be sometimes that I will go to my friend's house just so I won't have to talk to some of the coaches. Not to be mean about it, but I just need to get away. I don't do that every night but there will be some nights when I'm like, ‘Man, I don't want to talk to anybody tonight.'"
Tiger Ticket Extra: An aggressive defensive lineman who is capable of running through blockers or chasing down ball carriers from sideline to sideline, Ernst has been a prime prospect for the Tigers since they got a personal look at him this past summer. Still some schools haven't pulled the trigger on him and that could be good news for the Tigers if Ernst decides to play in either the SEC or ACC.
"I took my first one to Clemson last weekend," Ernst says of his visits. "It went real good. I had fun and everything and I like the campus. The only thing that could have made it better is if they would have offered. They said they were going to call back this next weekend after they bring in their last defensive line recruits. That's when they are going to let me know if they are going to offer or not."