E.J. Williams

Recruits from across the country gathered in Auburn for the annual premier recruiting showcase — Big Cat Weekend. The event acts as Auburn’s biggest football recruiting weekend of the year with upwards of 30 recruits attending this year.

Before the weekend, the Tigers’ 2020 recruiting class featured six commits: two four-stars and four three-stars according to the 247Sports composite rankings.

Javion Cohen, a three-star offensive tackle out of Phenix City, became the seventh member of the Tigers' 2020 class when the 6-foot-5, 275-pound lineman committed to Auburn on Saturday.

In addition to some Auburn commitments, the Tigers hosted plenty of highly touted and sought-after recruits that included five-star running back and top recruit in the nation Zachary Evans, five-star tight end Darnell Washington, four-star cornerback Ethan Pouncey, four-star wide receiver E.J. Williams and many more.

According to multiple recruits in attendance, the event was a big success and should translate to future success in upcoming recruiting cycles. Many of the recruits have Auburn among their top schools, a good sign for head coach Gus Malzahn and the Tigers’ coaching staff

“I’d rate Auburn in my top three now, after today. This is one of the best experiences I’ve had at Auburn, out of all the times I’ve ever come here,” Williams said.

Williams, a 6-foot-3, 188-pound wide receiver who ranks as the No. 3 recruit in the state of Alabama, is scheduled to visit LSU next week, but says Auburn will get an official visit later in the month.

“It’s just a really raw place. They don’t really put on a face for nobody. They just come and they act the same every time I come here, and you can tell that they’re really genuinely nice people,” he said. “The coaches, they’re just unbelievable. I’ve got a great relationship with coach Gus Malzahn and just the whole staff.”

Not all recruits at Big Cat Weekend were uncommitted though. Four-star defensive tackle Nazir Stackhouse has been committed to rival UGA since 2017 and although the top 300 recruit says he is 100 percent to the Dawgs, he admits the Tigers aren’t far behind in a “tight race.”

“I’ve known coach (Rodney) Gardner and coach (Larry) Porter for two years already. They both came up to my school and visited to see how I’m doing in class and school and stuff,” he said. “Coach Malzahn, coach Porter, coach Gardner — those are the top three coaches that I would recommend any recruit talk to.”

Four-star offensive guard Chris Morris, four-star running back and Alabama commit Roydell Williams and three-star wide receiver Elijah Canion were among the other recruits to praise Auburn, the Big Cat Weekend experience and mention the Tigers among their top teams.

“I’ve always had high expectations of Auburn and they just keep setting them higher,” Canion said.

Five star tight end recruit Darnell Washington traveled all the way from Las Vegas to visit Auburn and although Alabama and Georgia are seen as the favorites for the big 6-foot-7 athlete, Washington’s unofficial visit to The Plains may suggest the race is closer than previously thought.

Other than Cohen, the Tigers have yet to receive any commitments from those who attended the recruiting weekend but as the recruiting cycle starts to pick up, Auburn should add to their solid 2020 class.

Pouncey, a four-star cornerback from Winter Park, Florida was one of the few defensive backs at Big Cat Weekend. Regardless, Pouncey, who has already visited Auburn three times, heavily praised the Tigers and cornerbacks coach Marcus Woodson.

Pouncey doesn’t have an official date set for his commitment but said that he definitely wants to return and take an official visit to Auburn before he makes his decision.

The Tigers’ 2020 class and its seven commitments currently rank No. 24 nationally and No. 9 in the SEC, according to 247Sports composite rankings.

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