Where is Auburn after the first national signing day
By Wil Crews
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The first period of the Auburn Tigers’ national signing day ended on a high note when number one junior college defensive lineman Jeffrey M’ba announced his signing on Sunday, but there is still a long way to go.
The 6-foot-6, 305-pound French native’s engagement immediately fills a need inside the defensive line and crowns a winning trifecta for Auburn – signing the defensive lineman, cornerback and safety them. top rated from JUCO.
At the start of last week, Auburn found himself outside the top 35 recruiting rankings by 247 Composite. The overthrow of two “blue chip” rookies from Alabama and LSU and the final addition of M’ba raised the Tigers’ 2022 class to No. 13 in the country – No. 6 in the SEC.
The majority of Auburn’s class signed last week, but some notable names are still on the 2022 target list – most notably local engagement Cadel Story of Lanett, which postponed signing until February for ambiguous reasons.
In addition, the transfer portal is more active than ever and Auburn did not sufficiently meet its offensive line needs on the first day of national signing. The big players up front will be a priority for Harsin and his team over the next month or so.
Taking into account outgoing transfers, Auburn could have between 10 and 14 additional places available this cycle. The Tigers have had a successful week; but none of that matters if they don’t land a few offensive linemen and a few others by transfer. What follows isn’t an exhaustive list, of course, but here’s a look at where the Tigers might focus as the schedule rocks to 2022 and Auburn builds his roster for the second year under Harsin.
OUTLOOK REMAINING FOR 2022:
RB Tre Citizen 4 stars: Auburn had hoped Citizen would sign last week. The Tigers have already signed 4-star running back Damari Alston, but the 9th-ranked RB Citizen are still a prime target for the Tigers. The Lake Charles, Louisiana prospect will have to give up LSU and Florida’s attention to stay with Auburn. We’ll see if Auburn’s running back coach Cadillac Williams is worth his weight in gold on this one.
History of DL Caden 4 stars: Another headache for Auburn, Story’s dad said he pushed back on the engagement due to logistical issues. The story has been committed to the Tigers since August, so this may be a non-story. However, this one is one to watch out for.
4 stars OL / DL Tae Woody: Academic concerns pushed Woody’s engagement back to February. Lafayette’s versatile engagement in Alabama has included official visits to the plains and the state of Florida – so it appears to be a two-horse race. The nation’s No. 15 offensive lineman would be a huge win for Auburn.
LB EJ Lightsey 3 stars: Dropping his Florida engagement after Dan Mullen’s sacking, Lightsey, the nation’s No.49 linebacker according to 247 Composite, is a target for Auburn.
OL Jalen Farmer 3 stars: Another guy from Florida, Farmer has an official visit next month.
OL Anez Cooper 3 stars: The commitment to the state of 6 feet 6 inches and 352 pounds has a lot of potential with this body.
Security Laquan Robinson 3 stars: The Greenville, Ala. Prospect is ranked 42nd in his job nationwide and is “hot” on the 247 recruiting database for Auburn and Ole Miss.
TARGETS OF THE TRANSFER PORTAL:
Offensive linemen: There are a number of names to watch out for. Auburn’s offensive line risks becoming one of the last three in the group in 2022, if not the last. With questions surrounding the quarterback also present, the need to solidify the line is imperative. Keep an eye out for transfers from Virginia Ryan Swoboda and Bobby Haskins, Mason Brooks of Western Kentucky, Spencer Rolland of Harvard and Hunter Nourzad of Cornell, among others.
QB Kedon Slovis: AuburnLive’s Justin Hokanson reported, shortly after hiring Austin Davis as Auburn’s offensive coordinator, that Davis was already working on the former USC star. Three years ago, Slovis ran a first year small group campaign. He’s since calmed down – in part thanks to injuries and the mess that has been on USC’s schedule – and lost his starting job last season.
Quarter QB Cameron: Another QB to watch out for, Ward won the Jerry Rice Award in 2020 as the FCS best freshman. Last year, he threw for 4,600 yards, 47 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He still has three years of eligibility left, but made his only official visit to see Lane Kiffin and Ole Miss.
WR Jacob Copeland: Auburn was in contention for Copeland when he was graduating from high school. The former top 100 rookie chose Florida instead, but after a checkered career so far, Copeland has entered the portal following the sacking of Dan Mullen.
WR Trey Palmer: A member of the Class of 2019, Palmer entered the transfer portal after Ed Orgeron was sacked by LSU. The advantage is there, with proven punt and kick return abilities. Despite improving towards the second half of the season, the Tigers’ receiving core may need reinforcements.
LB Mahomoud Diabaté: An Auburn High School alumnus, Diabate recorded 89 tackles and 2.5 tackles for a 2021 loss to the Florida Gators. With the departure of linebackers Zakoby McClain and Chandler Wooten, Diabate could well team up with Owen Pappoe in 2022.
LB Eugene Asante: If the Tigers can’t get Diabate’s hometown, Asante – the only transfer to be confirmed as a visitor to Auburn so far – could be a target the Tigers are pushing hard for. Asante was a rotation guy for the North Carolina Tar Heels, but would still have two years of eligibility to improve on The Plains.
DL Jayson Jones: Originally engaged in Alabama, Jones opted for Eugene, Oregon as the Ducks allowed him to play his preferred position among the defensive line. Coming out of Calera High School in Alabama, Auburn could bring Jones – who would still have four years of eligibility – back to his home country and insert him into the rotation in the first year.
CB DJ James: A strong Spanish, a prospect in Alabama and another duck from Oregon, James secured a starting role last season and could be another target Auburn would benefit from adding. With Roger McCreary heading to the NFL, Auburn could use immediate reinforcement on the job.