Jacksonville Prospects Invade Auburn

A large and talented group of prospects from Jacksonville, Fla. visited the Auburn campus on Saturday including several top 2015 prospects and one 2016 standout.

Jacksonville, Fla.—Trinity Christian School has been a recruiting hotbed in recent years and the 2013 season is going to be no different. On Saturday seven players from the program were on the Auburn campus to visit the Tigers including a pair of 2014 Louisville commitments and a commitment to LSU for the 2015 class.

One of the most important visitors on Saturday was 2015 safety Ben Edwards. Saying Auburn was his leader before the trip, the 6-1, 195 physical junior-to-be says that everything about the trip exceeded his expectations.

"Auburn is still my leader," Edwards says. "The school is great. I love the facilities. The coaches are down-to-earth. They are real with you. I love it.

"The coaches stood out to me," he adds. "Coach Cheese (Charlie Harbison) was real cool. He talked to me about the scheme and where I would be. I like it. I would be at the field safety spot. That's where I like playing, to the field. I think it would be a good fit."

Rated a three-star prospect by Scout.com, Isaiah Ford is a talented receiver that is committed to Coach Charlie Strong at Louisville. Taking a visit and sitting down with the Auburn staff, he says he really likes what he sees from the Tigers and he plans to keep an eye on them down the road.

"It was amazing," Ford says. "The facilities and the campus is top of the line. It's right there with the best in the nation. The coaching staff was real nice. I enjoyed it. I got to watch some film with Coach (Dameyune) Craig."

Kavaris Harkless, a six-foot-five offensive tackle, was another Trinity player who made the visit to Auburn.

"I love the trip being able to get out there and see different campuses and talk to a lot of different coaches," Harkless said. "Not a lot of players are blessed to be able to do this."

An early commitment to Louisville, the rising senior is a two-year starter who has played on both sides of the ball. "During my ninth and 10th grade year I was playing quite a bit on defense, but last season I just played offensive tackle," he said.

Seventeen years old, he currently weighs 278 pounds and has the frame to get bigger, something he believes will happen. He also plays small forward on the Trinity Christian Academy basketball team.

Expected to be one of the top safety prospects in the 2015 class, 6-2, 180 Kevin Toliver is already pledged to LSU and has offers from schools all over the country. Getting his first taste of what Auburn is all about, Toliver says he enjoyed getting to see the campus and talking with Coach Charlie Harbison.

"It went really well," Toliver says. "I got to meet the coaches and learned more about Auburn. I learned the kind of defenses they run and the cornerbacks that are leaving. I saw what the depth chart is going to look like in a couple of years. I really liked the stadium and facilities. The facilities really stood out from all of the other colleges I have visited."

A physical linebacker at 6-3, 230, Jeffery Holland has 55 offers from just about every powerhouse school in the country even though he'll just be a junior. Having already visited Alabama, Louisville North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, and Ohio State and planning to trip to LSU on Sunday, Holland says Auburn is definitely standing out for him at the moment along with the Buckeyes.

"I really don't have any favorites, but Auburn and Ohio State are recruiting me pretty hard," Holland says. "Now that I'm thinking about leaving Florida and seeing new things, that's big for me.

"The coaches (at Auburn) really stood out to me," he adds. "They talked to me about where I would play and they talked about their Christian faith. That's really big for me in what school I go to."

Jeffrey Holland

Another position that is always a priority is at defensive tackle where big Kendrick Norton is a standout in the 2015 class. At 6-2, 280, Norton already has offers from Auburn, Florida, Georgia Tech, Penn State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and several other schools.

Kendrick Norton, a 6-2, 285 defensive tackle who will be a junior this fall at Trinity Christian Academy, said he enjoyed his day in Auburn.

"I like the coaching staff and their facilities," he said. "I like the chemistry with the coaching staff and I also like the fact that they are Christian coaches."

Norton, who played guard and defensive tackle last season as a sophomore on Trinity's state championship team, has scholarship offers from Auburn and a load of other colleges.

"I think I currently have currently have 19 or 20 offers," said Norton, a 16-year-old who said he prefers playing defense to offense.

Even though he'll just be a sophomore in high school, speedy running back Jalin Buie is already up to four SEC offers including Auburn, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vanderbilt and has 12 offers overall. The younger brother of former Auburn recruit and current West Virginia standout Andrew Buie, he says that he enjoyed being on the Plains once again.

"It was pretty exciting," Buie says. "They have a new indoor and new weight room. That's pretty exciting. I spent time with Coach (Rhett) Lashlee today. I think I would fit in good in their offense. It's pretty fluent and Coach's offense is going to work. I think I would be a perfect fit."

A fast-riser in the recruiting world was also on hand for the trip in defensive back Lamont Simmons from Raines High. A 6-2 cornerback, Simmons was without an offer from a BCS school in early May but that's no longer the case. Already with offers from several big-time programs before his visit, Simmons got the news on Saturday that Auburn has joined the race for him.

"It's very exciting," Simmons says about the Auburn offer. "I never thought I would have so many offers, especially an offer from Auburn. That's just crazy.

"Right now Auburn is in my Top Six," he adds. "The rest are Georgia, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, and Vanderbilt."

The group will head to LSU for a Sunday visit and is also expected to drop by Florida State on Monday before returning home to Jacksonville.

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