Bryan Harsin’s coaching staff landed its first high-profile in-state prospect when Handley High’s Dylan Brooks flipped from Tennessee to Auburn. AU’s in-state football signee class came up very short in the transition with the coaching change, but adding the four-star defensive end from Roanoke helps.
Brooks signed with the Vols in December, but was granted a release, very reluctantly and under public pressure, after Tennessee fired head coach Jeremy Pruitt and his staff. Rated a four-star prospect, Brooks has good size at 6-4, 250 pounds and he runs well.
After leading Handley to the Class 4A state championship, he is ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the 2021 signee class for the state of Alabama, according to ESPN, so this is an early recruiting win for Harsin and the new Auburn coaching staff.
On the subject of high school seniors in the state, closer to home Harsin’s Tigers picked up a commitment from Class 7A All-State center Cort Bradley. He was a key player in Auburn High’s terrific season, which included a near miss in the state championship game.
At 6-4, 295 pounds, Bradley is a strong and physical football player who turned down multiple Division I scholarship offers to play for the Tigers as an invited walk-on. My take is that he is plenty good enough to eventually push for a starting spot in college.
Harsin and his staff are looking for transfers to bolster the 2021 roster and picked up one this week from 6-1, 192 Dreshun Miller, who was one of the top cornerbacks in the Big 12 while playing for West Virginia. He is expected to arrive at Auburn in May and be eligible to play this season. Prior to going to West Virginia the cornerback played juco ball at Eastern Arizona College and before that attended Sprayberry High in Marietta, Ga.
From the notebook
• After just missing against the Gators last year at Gainesville, the Auburn women’s tennis team made program history with a 4-2 victory this week vs. Florida. The teams began playing dual matches in 1982. The Tigers were 0-44 all-time vs. the Gators prior to winning a home match at Yarbrough Tennis Center.
Coach Caroline Lilley’s team is 7-1 this season and 2-0 in the SEC with both wins vs. Top 25 opponents. The next home match is at noon on March 6th vs. Alabama. Admission is free and there are no restrictions on attending the matches other than to wear a mask. The best way to watch the action is to bring a lawn chair, something to drink and sunglasses.
• Help is on the way for the AU men’s basketball team. Although he probably won’t play again this year, freshman guard Justin Powell is making major strides on recovering from a blow to the head in a game on Jan. 2 at Texas A&M. Powell, who hasn’t been cleared to play since then, was off to a great start and he has been missed.
Coach Bruce Pearl’s two early signees are under consideration to be named to the 2021 McDonald’s All-American Team. Four-star guard Trey Alexander from Heritage Hall High in Oklahoma City and five-star power forward Jabari Smith from Sandy Creek High in Tyrone, Ga., are each having strong senior seasons.
• The Auburn women’s basketball team is having the historically worst season in program history. The women’s swimming team is struggling, too. The Tigers finished ninth at last week’s SEC Championships, their worst showing ever.
This year the league is holding the men’s swimming championships a week later and Auburn went into the competition that ends on Saturday as the seventh ranked team in the SEC. Auburn’s men’s and women’s teams have a long history of producing SEC and NCAA championship swimmers and teams, but both have a long, long way to go to get back to those levels.
Mark Murphy is the editor of Inside the Auburn Tigers magazine and newsletter