High School Stars Headed To Auburn

A five-star safety, three four-star prospects including a Notre Dame commitment, and several other talented players are expected to be on hand this weekend in Auburn to check out the Tigers.

Auburn, Ala.—Auburn's need for help at the offensive skill positions takes center stage on the recruiting trail this weekend as Coach Gus Malzahn and the Tigers are expecting a star-studded group of official visitors to the Plains headlined by a trio of wide receivers and a running back from the Sunshine State.

Rated a four-star prospect and the number 42 wide receiver prospect in the country, 6-3, 195 Taj Williams plays both ways at Tallahassee, Fla., Lincoln High School, but will likely make the move to offense full time on the next level. Helping his team to the state finals before losing to St. Thomas Aquinas, Williams caught 34 passes for 608 yards and nine touchdowns as a senior.

"I'm just looking forward to building a bond with the coaches," Williams tells Inside The Auburn Tigers about his upcoming visit. "I want to talk to some of the players and go out and see how things are around town."

Good friends with Auburn junior defensive back Ryan White, a former Lincoln player himself, Williams says he's looking forward to spending time with him on his visit and getting a better feel for what the university and football program is all about.

"I'm not that familiar with Auburn, but I'm getting there," Williams says. "A teammate of mine Ryan White goes there and I have been there a couple of times on visits with some other teammates. I'm getting more familiar with Auburn.

"We have talked about Auburn some," he adds. "He came down to a basketball game and talked about how it is there. He heard they were looking at me and told me how about the place and how the team is."

Being recruited at Auburn by former Tigers' standout Dameyune Craig, Williams says the two have already built a strong relationship and he's looking forward to continuing that this weekend.

"Coach Craig is recruiting me and he's a pretty cool guy," Williams says. "I have known him since he was at Florida State. We go back to when he was at Florida State coaching the quarterbacks. I call him every now and then and we talk about school and about life."

Williams notes that he will have a teammate along on his Auburn visit this weekend in three-star linebacker and Florida commitment James Hearns. A physical linebacker, the 6-2, 230 Hearns finished his senior season with 73 tackles and two interceptions. Despite his commitment he has continued to look around with a visit to Ohio State and also showing interest in Louisville as well.

"It will be nice to have him on the visit as well," Williams says. "It will be a good experience for both of us to go up there and see Auburn."

James Hearns

Hoping to make his decision on or around signing day, Williams notes that he is currently looking at five schools. His list consists of Auburn, Louisville, Kentucky, Tennessee and Clemson.

A speed back who committed to Notre Dame just two weeks ago, Tarean Folston from Cocoa High is a four-star back and the number 24 rated running back in the country. Choosing the Fighting Irish over Oregon, Folston ran for 1,722 yards and 16 touchdowns as a senior. With Malzahn looking for a versatile back that could play Onterio McCalebb's role in his offense and catch the ball out of the backfield, Folston could be a perfect fit in that role.

Tarean Folston

Teammates and perhaps the most dangerous duo in Florida this past season, Tony Stevens and Dominic Walker are both standout receivers at Evans High in Orlando and are expected to visit Auburn this weekend. A commitment to Texas A&M, the 6-3, 185 Stevens is the most recent verbal to the Aggies and one of seven receivers on board at the moment. A Nebraska commitment, Walker was originally committed to Vanderbilt until choosing the Cornhuskers over Florida State. The 6-2, 185 speedster was one of the top players at the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl played at Houston in December.

Another position of need for Auburn is at safety with the Tigers playing a 4-2-5 defense under new coordinator Ellis Johnson. Ranked as the number three player at that position in the country, Antonio Conner from South Panola High in Batesville, Miss., is expected to visit and has the Tigers as one of his four finalists. After developing a strong bond with current defensive backs coach Melvin Smith, Conner is down to Auburn, Ole Miss, Alabama and Mississippi State.

Tony Conner

A commitment to Arkansas, Khari Harding from Santa Fe High in Edmond, Okla., will also visit Auburn this weekend and has the Tigers high on his list after visiting Arizona State last weekend. The 6-2, 205 Harding has a strong relationship with Malzahn after being recruited to Arkansas State. He's expected to make a final decision between Auburn, Arkansas and Arizona State before signing day. As a senior he made 115 tackles.

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