Auburn had a monumental shift on the recruiting trail last week.
The Tigers picked up four recruits in three days, doubling the size of its 2021 class, and picked up some much needed momentum for the summer. ESPN 300 quarterback Dematrius Davis headlined the group and was joined by a pair of offensive linemen, Caleb Johnson and Garner Langlo, as well as an athlete from Florida, Tar’varish Dawson.
Auburn now sits at No. 20 in ESPN’s Class Rankings with eight commitments, six of them being four-star prospects.
Who’s next for the Tigers? Here’s a list of players to keep an eye on in the weeks ahead. Now, this list always liable to change considering how fluid recruiting is, but these are a few of the players atop Auburn’s wish list.
DE – JEREMIAH WILLIAMS (4-STAR) – 6-3, 224 LBS. – BIRMINGHAM, AL
Auburn will lose both edge rushers Big Kat Bryant and T.D. Moultry after this season, so Williams is a guy that Malzahn and his staff will be pursuing relentlessly this summer.
Right now, the Tigers are in an ideal spot. They are in the top two or three of contenders to land a commitment for a number of reasons. Malzahn’s relationship with Williams is very strong, Williams is an in-state prospect only hours away from campus and having a guy like Rodney Garner oversee you, with the track record he has, never hurts. Now, that also means that Alabama will be a factor and something Auburn will have to deal with, but the Tigers have a real chance here.
Williams, a Ramsay High School product, is a long, athletic edge rusher that has the frame and versatility to play a number of position in Kevin Steele’s defense. He’s the 5th ranked prospect in the state and is the 6th-best weakside defensive end, but could also line up at outside linebacker.
CB – GA’QUINCY MCKINSTRY (5-STAR) – 5-11, 175 LBS. – PINSON, AL
McKinstry is obviously one of Auburn’s most wanted targets, being the No. 1 player in the state. Also, when you look at positions of need for the Tigers, the secondary is at the forefront of that conversation.
The five-star corner dropped his top-five schools this past weekend, naming Auburn, Georgia, Alabama, LSU and Clemson as his finalists. For now, I think Alabama, Auburn and LSU are the slight leaders but that could change over the next month or so. What bodes well for Auburn is the longstanding relationship it has with the two-sport athlete. He comes from Pinson Valley, where he played with Bo Nix, and also is entertaining the idea of playing both football and basketball at the next level so that could be a positive for the Tigers.
McKinstry is an elite two-way player, has excellent ball skills and is instinctive in coverage. He’s a guy that could come in and be an impact starter at the Power-Five level immediately.
LB – SMAEL MONDON (5-STAR) – 6-3, 220 LBS. – DALLAS, GA
Mondon is Auburn’s top linebacker target on the board.
However, most believe the Dawgs are the team to beat for the five-star from Paulding County. It will be a tall task for Auburn to go into Georgia for Mondon, but linebackers’ coach Travis Williams gives the Tigers a realistic shot. Mondon and Williams’ relationship is very strong, and Mondon has said that the former NFL linebacker keeps Auburn firmly in his group of possible destinations.
Mondon is just another example of the versatile, athletic linebackers that Auburn likes to recruit. He is the 2nd-best outside linebacker in the country and is the 3rd- best prospect overall in Georgia. Mondon has exceptional length and speed at his position, playing sideline-to-sideline and could also be very useful dropping back in coverage.
OG – DYLAN FAIRCHILD (4-STAR) – 6-5, 298 LBS. – CUMMING, GA
Fairchild listed his final six schools earlier this month and five of them are from the Southeastern Conference.
Auburn, Georgia, LSU, Tennessee and South Carolina all made the cut, as well as Penn State. Georgia is the clear leader for now, but Auburn is close behind and Jack Bicknell has developed a good relationship with the four-star prospect. The pitch for Auburn that Georgia can’t offer, is early playing time. If Fairchild wants to come in and realistically compete for a starting job as a freshman, there’s more of an opportunity at Auburn as opposed to Georgia.
Fairchild is the No. 7 offensive guard in the country and offers real strength, flexibility and athleticism for a big man that could translate into a multi-year starter in the SEC.
TE – LAKE MCREE (3-STAR) – 6-4, 217 LBS. – AUSTIN, TX
McRee could be the one most likely on this list to commit next.
He recently narrowed his list to Auburn, Penn State, Purdue, Washington, USC and LSU. And although he only visited Auburn virtually, the the coaching staff has made an early impression on him as has the idea of playing in Chad Morris’ offense. McRee is also from Texas and has been in contact with Auburn commit Dematrius Davis, so the Tigers are trending up for yet another tight end recruit from the Lone Star State.
McRee is the 18th-best tight end in the country and can be used in a variety of ways, whether it be in a traditional role or an unconventional one. He’s a capable blocker that Malzahn could use in the run game but also possesses the length and athleticism to line up out wide similar to a receiver.