The Robertson Report

[Premium article] This week we'll examine the recruiting results for SEC West foes Auburn and Arkansas.

Auburn has a distinct advantage over most schools in the conference, their arch-rival in recruiting is in the proverbial toilet. With sanctions at Bama, Tubby has his pick of in-state talent. The only real problem is the fact that it wasn't a banner year in the state of Alabama. Auburn had 14 out of state signees. That's over half the class. That in itself should tell you what kind of year it was in the Pine tree state.

With the loss of speedster Tim Carter, their only true offensive weapon last year, the Tigers needed some speedy WRs. The name most fans will be remembering, if they can pronounce it, is Devin Aromashodu from Miami Springs, FL. Devin has star potential. He is listed at 6-2, 185, and that's probably a bit generous, but he should develop. Ben Obomanu 6-3, 185, from Selma, AL joins the squad as well. These two should keep opposing defenses as well as TV and radio announcers guessing. The sleeper of the class may be Courtney Taylor( 6-3, 185) out of Carrollton, AL. He reportedly has good hands and runs crisp routes.

Tubberville only signed one RB in this class and he is Tre Smith out of Venice, FL. Smith will probably need to redshirt, but depth may not allow it. The Cadillac came on strong down the stretch for the War Eagles, but he was pretty nicked up. Butler and Moore helped provide support, but neither are star caliber. Unless TT has a card up his sleeve, this could prove costly.

The strength of the class, in my opinion, was in the 11 lineman that were inked. Depth has been a problem for everyone in the SEC when it comes to quality linemen. I believe Auburn is set for a year or two. They must replace a few starters and regulars, but they should be at least 2 deep, maybe even 3, with good talent. Unfortunately, Tim Duckworth from Taylorsville, MS decided to join former classmate Jason Campbell at Auburn. Duckworth has the makings of a good one. Just when Auburn graduates a stud lineman from the state of Mississippi we have another one to deal with.

The Auburn class was hit extremely hard last year with non-qualifiers, that may be a problem again this year. It's just too early to tell for sure who will make it and who won't. The stud of last year's class LaMarcus Rowell didn't make the grade last season, so it'll be at least a year before we have to contend with him. Hey, as good as we recruit Juco's maybe we'll get him.

This is not a very well-rounded class in my estimation. Very few skill position players signed and it's difficult to say if any of these kids can step right in and contribute significantly in the SEC. The depth issue was addressed in the trenches. A good offensive line can make an average RB a pretty good one. We'll see, but I think it will be easier to analyze these Tigers on reporting day than on signing day.

Arkansas had a strong second half which usually bodes well in recruiting. Their QB problems have been addressed with the emergence of Matt Jones. They still have a stable of tailbacks led by Cedric Cobbs, but they will have to show better production from that spot if they expect to improve last year's showing.

One of the problems with the running game last year was the lack of a true fullback. Converted DL Sascha Lancaster gave it a shot, but he never looked comfortable. He liked hitting people, but he just wasn't athletic enough to pull off the transition. Brandon Kennedy from Tyler, Texas appears to be the replacement. He has a big frame and a year in the weight room wouldn't hurt him, but we'll probably see him this year.

The Hogs needed a big play WR. They had a few bright spots, but no one as steady as ole' Boo Williams. Desmond Sims from Lilbourn, MO could be the next of Houston's BIG WRs. At 6-4, 190, with good leaping ability Sims seems poised to make an impact early. David Thompson (6-3, 175) from Memphis may even kick some. He is extremely athletic and did some double duty in high school.

The strength of this class is in its linebackers. Nutt, or should we say the recently departed John Thompson, brought in a bumper crop. Lucas Jackson from West Monroe, LA could be a monster. He comes from a strong high school program that challenges for the state title every year. Wes Murphy is big at 6-4 and has a nose for the ball and loves to hit people. Sam Olajubutu is listed at 5-10, 205, but unless he is moving to strong safety may need to redshirt before taking on the likes of the SEC.

Nutt shored up the trenches on both sides of the ball with signees like DL Reggie Banks (6-5, 270) and I'm sure that's legit and not program weight. He can be an instant plug in. Zac Tubbs at 6-6, 320, should play tackle and be a star before he is done. Starkville's own Gene Perry snuck out of town to sign with the Razorbacks. And Gene we wish you nothing but success against all your non-conference opponents.

The Hogs have a very balanced class with at least one signee at each position who has star potential. They have a very athletic class that could see some playing time as early as this season. I like what they've done and if they can get everybody in school this class could be one Hog fans look back on very fondly. They've addressed their needs and provided depth at key positions.

Until next week,

Steve Robertson
John 3:14


Steve Robertson is a free-lance correspondent who writes The Robertson Report for the premium site portion of Gene's Page. Steve's email address is therobertsonreport@hotmail.com.

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