Round Two Of January Football Visits For AU

Auburn is expected to be host to football prospects from five states this weekend.

Auburn, Ala.--If Auburn wants to sign tight end Kenny Williams, it will have to make a better impression on the tall tight end than the last college he visited.

The 6-7, 225-pound, two-sport star from American High School in Miami, Fla., took the second of his five official visits last weekend to check out the Missouri Tigers. Don't look for him in Columbia next fall.

"It wasn't too good of a visit," he tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "I just didn't feel real comfortable there. The University of Missouri is a good school, but it is not a good fit for me."

Williams says he will be in Auburn this weekend to check out Tommy Tuberville's Tigers. The Auburn head coach was in Miami on Wednesday night to personally scout Williams, who was playing in a basketball game.

"Coach Tuberville was in the stands, but he couldn't talk to me," Williams says. "We blew out the team we played 98-27 so it wasn't much of a game. Coach Tuberville stayed for about a quarter."

Williams, who took a pre-Christmas trip to Rutgers, has scheduled visits to Ole Miss on the 25th and Ohio State on the 31st. He just added the trip to see the Buckeyes, dropping a previously scheduled visit to Ohio State.

With the Tigers graduating Lorenzo Diamond and junior Robert Johnson going pro, tight end is a high priority for the 2003 signee class. Cooper Wallace is the only scholarship tight end returning this fall.

Cole Bennett

Two other tight ends are scheduled to visit the Tigers this weekend. Cole Bennett, a 6-5, 225-pounder from Dalton, Ga.., High, committed to the Tigers last fall, choosing Auburn over a variety of SEC schools as well as in-state Georgia Tech of the ACC. Bennett, who had ACL surgery in November, is ahead of schedule on his rehab and should be ready to compete for playing time when two-a-days begin in August.

Also expected in for an official visit is two-sport standout Allen Whitney, a 6-5, 245-pound tight end from Fairhope High School. Whitney started for three seasons at Alma Bryant High before transferring for his senior season. He has also played offensive tackle. Whitney is currently a key player for one of the top high school basketball teams in the state.

The second weekend of official visits in January will feature about half as many visitors as the first one. Included in the group of expected visitors are a pair of high school seniors who have already announced that they plan to sign with Auburn on Feb. 5th. Quarterback Kelcy McKissic-Luke from Central High in Phenix City committed to the Tigers prior to Christmas, choosing the Tigers over Alabama, Georgia Tech and others. The Tide is still trying to turn the QB away from the Tigers, but has not had success.

Bruce Edwards

Ole Miss is still trying to turn Auburn commitment Bruce Edwards, a speedy wide receiver from Columbus, Miss., High. Edwards had more than 1,000 all-purpose yards during a senior season that included a 179-yard rushing game as an emergency quarterback, although he hadn't played the position since he was a seventh grader. The 5-10, 165 pounder, who ran two times of under 4.5 on grass this summer at an Auburn football camp, said most of the colleges who have been recruiting him have given up, but some are still trying to get a visit. However, he said his mind is made up to be a Tiger.

The Tigers are also scheduled to get a visit from a big wide receiver who is one of the state of Alabma's top prospects--6-2, 200-pound Chad Jackson from Hoover High. Jackson, who has already visited Florida, is also expected to visit Georgia on the 24th and Alabama on the Jan. 31st. A lesser known in-state prospect is also expected to visit. Opelika High's Montavian Collier, a 6-2, 215 basketball player who decided to play football as a senior, projects as a big defensive back or a linebacker in college.

The Tigers are also expected to get visits from four linemen this weekend. Strong and quick Josh Thompson, who led Statesboro High to a state championship as a junior, was Auburn's first verbal commitment for the 2003 class and there is a good possibility he will be one of the best in this group during his time at Auburn. The 6-1, 289-pounder has exceptional strength and was quick enough to move to linebacker to help his team as a senior.

Josh Thompson

A verbal to another college is not off the recruiting board just yet for the Tigers. University of Georgia verbal commitment Ken Shackleford, a defensive and offensive lineman from Villa Rica, Ga., is scheduled to visit Auburn. He is 6-5, 290 pounds and is interested in playing defense in college.

Another Georgian scheduled for an official visit is defensive and offensive lineman Shelton Bynum, a 6-4, 310 pounder from Cedar Grove High in Ellenwood. He is a friend of Auburn freshmen offensive linemen Marcus McNeill and Jonathan Palmer, who are from the same school. McNeill earned All-SEC Freshman honors this past season and Palmer was redshirted.

Defensive tackle D.J. Ernst from West Monroe, La., High will visit this weekend after take a trip to Clemson last week. He is 6-3, 250 with 4.8 speed and is at the same high school where new Auburn quarterbacks coach Steve Ensminger coached last fall. Ernst was a standout performer at an Auburn summer football camp and the Tigers were recruiting him long before Ensminger came on board in January.

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