Auburn Signing Day

Auburn coach Bryan Harsin speaks to the media on early Signing Day

A couple of months ago the Auburn football recruiting effort was not going well. The Tigers were ranked at the bottom of the SEC (yes, even behind Vandy) and behind about 60 other teams around the country. However, that changed in a major way very late in the process with eight more prospects committing to and signing with the Tigers in the course of one week, sort of an early Christmas present for Coach Bryan Harsin and his staff.

Currently up to sixth in the SEC and 13th nationally in the 247Sports team rankings, a dumpster fire scenario has been avoided, but there is still work to do for the Tigers on the recruiting front in addition to preparing for their Birmingham Bowl game on December 28th vs. Houston.

First, and foremost, the Tigers need to sign more offensive linemen. The only one who came on board during the early signing period in December is Auburn High’s Eston Harris, Jr., who is certainly a promising player. However, the Tigers need to add around four or five more guys like Harris.

The Tigers have 17 players signed and to finish the class in the February signing period, as well as through the transfer portal whenever they come on board, they have a need for a talented linebacker, another pass rusher, a difference-maker at wide receiver and a big guy who can help right away on the defensive front.

With just three scholarship quarterbacks for the 2022 roster with Bo Nix transferring way, way out of the program–all of the way to Oregon–only rising junior T.J. Finley and Dematrius Davis, a freshman in 2021, return at the position. Fortunately for the Tigers their early quarterback commitment, 6-3, 206 Holden Geriner from Benedictine Military in Savannah, blossomed as a senior and led his team to the Georgia Class AAAA state championship.

I asked Auburn’s head coach if the Tigers will be looking for another quarterback before the start of the 2022 season and he did not rule out the possibility.

It looks like the strength of the class so far is the five defensive backs the Tigers signed. Keionte Scott, who is 6-0, 185 from San Diego, is transferring in from Snow College in Utah where he is rated as No 1 junior college cornerback in the 2022 class. The Tigers also signed the No. 1 ranked juco safety, 6-2, 180 Marquise Gilbert from Palm Harbor, Fla., and Hutchinson Community College in Kansas.

From the high school ranks the Tigers signed a pair of four-star cornerbacks, 6-0, 195 Austin Ausberry from University Lab in Baton Rouge, La., and 6-1, 170 Jadarian “J.D.” Rhym from Valdosta, Ga., High. Both are very nice additions to the class. 

The Tigers came up big again on the juco circuit by signing the No. 1 overall prospect, 6-6, 305 defensive tackle Joseph M’ba, who is from France via Independence Community College in Kansas. He waited until four days after the others signed before announcing on a French television show that he had signed with the Tigers and is headed to Auburn where he plans to enroll next month.

Closer to home, the Tigers signed the No. 1 ranked kicker in the 2022 class, Alex McPherson from Fort Payne High, who set an Alabama high school record with his 61-yard field goal. Even still closer to home, in addition to Harris from Auburn High, talented 6-3, 210 pass rusher Powell Gordon signed with the Tigers.

With plenty of key players to replace from the 2021 roster, Auburn couldn’t afford a substandard 2022 recruiting class and when it is finally wrapped up sometime in the new year it has a chance to be a good one.

Mark Murphy is the editor of Inside the Auburn Tigers magazine and newsletter. 

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