ESPN Top 50 center commits to Auburn

By May 7, 2020ESPN 106.7 News

After whiffing on five-star prospects Jalen Green and Greg Brown in consecutive weeks—one opting for the NBA’s G-League and the other heading to Texas—the Tigers have finally landed their fifth commitment of the 2020 class.

Dylan Cardwell, a 6-foot-10, 220-pound center from Powder Springs, Georgia, announced his intentions to play college ball for Auburn and head coach Bruce Pearl via Twitter Thursday afternoon.

The growing consensus after the Tigers officially offered Cardwell a scholarship this week was that he would choose Auburn over previous frontrunner Georgia.

The three-star big man transferred to McEachern High from Oak Hill Academy where he was teammates with five-star Auburn signee Sharife Cooper, although he was forced to sit out his senior season due to the transfer rules in the state of Georgia. Cardwell also has family ties on the Plains, being the nephew of Auburn football’s defensive line coach Rodney Garner.

Cardwell was a must-have for Pearl’s 2020 class with seniors Austin Wiley and Anfernee McLemore departing, leaving Babatunde Akingbola as the lone true center on the roster.

Cardwell already has a center’s frame and is physical enough down low to bolster the Tigers’ inside presence, and develop into a Power-5 starter in the Southeastern Conference right away. He plays with a relentless motor and is exceptional following shots, rebounding and protecting the rim on the defensive end. Offensively, his repertoire is more limited but he has nice touch around the rim and can be utilized effectively when screening and rolling to the basket.

Cardwell is ranked as the No. 33 center, according to ESPN’s Player Rankings, and earned a scout grade of 79 as the 14th best prospect in his state. He joins five-star combo guard Sharife Cooper, four-stars J.T. Thor and Justin Powell, and three-star Chris Moore in Auburn’s class, which as of now is the highest rated class in the program’s history.

Pearl has one scholarship spot left after adding Cardwell, with Jonathan Kuminga’s decision still to come. Kuminga, the nation’s No. 1 player in the 2021 class is considering reclassifying and has garnered a lot of attention from Auburn’s staff to fill its final spot.

Auburn is currently No. 6 in ESPN’s 2020 Class Rankings, fourth best in the SEC behind Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas. Kentucky lays claim to the nation’s No.1 class, Tennessee No. 4 and Arkansas one in front of the Tigers at No. 5.