If Auburn’s new football coaching staff was hoping for a positive recruiting bump this summer regarding potential excitement with a new head coach leading the program, it hasn’t happened. Bryan Harsin’s staff began this week with the lowest ranked 2022 class of any of the 14 Southeastern Conference teams, according to 247Sports.
Nationally, the Tigers began the week ranked 71st despite doubling their number of commitments from three to six last week by adding kicker Alex McPherson from Fort Payne High, safety Caleb Wooden from Archer High in Lawrenceville, Ga., and tight end Micah Riley-Ducker from Bellevue West High in Nebraska.
The three additions from last week are ranked as three-star recruits. Of the first six commitments, five are rated three-stars with Holden Geringer the highest of the bunch. The quarterback from Benedictine Military School in Savannah is ranked four stars and listed as the 12th-rated QB in the 2022 class and the 20th-ranked prospect in Georgia.
One of the new commitments, Wooden, is the brother of redshirt sophomore defensive end Colby Wooden, who finished 2020 tied for the Auburn team lead in quarterback sacks with four.
From the notebook
• Bruce Pearl’s basketball team can have limited full squad workouts over the summer and last week all of the 2021-22 players were present and participating with Zep Jasper arriving as a graduate transfer from College of Charleston.
Jasper and another transfer, Wendell Green Jr., from Eastern Kentucky, are expected to have a good competition to be Auburn’s starting point guard. Both players have excellent quickness.
• On the subject of quick Auburn point guards, most of the mock drafts prior to the NBA’s 2021 draft scheduled for July 29th are forecasting that Sharife Cooper will be selected in the second half of the opening round.
Another Auburn player who decided to enter the draft after his freshman season, forward JT Thor, is showing up in some of the mock drafts as a potential second round pick and has even shown up as a potential late first-rounder.
• Former AU point guard Jared Cooper was in town last week where he put on a three-day youth camp at Lee-Scott Academy. The event went well and the New York Knicks player said he plans to do it again next summer.
• Former Auburn high jumper Donald Thomas is scheduled to make the trip to Tokyo, Japan to compete in the Olympics for a fourth time while representing The Bahamas. Thomas, who turned 37 years old on July 1st, finished seventh in the event in 2016 at Rio de Janeiro and also competed in the 2012 and 2008 Olympics.
He will be competing in the country where he won a gold medal at the 2007 World Championships. Thomas has a personal best of 2.37 meters, which is 7 feet and 9.31 inches. The world record of 2.45 meters by Javier Sotomayor of 2.45 meters (8 feet, 1/4 inch) was set in 1983. The Olympic record of 2.39 meters has been on the books since 1996 when that mark was reached by Charles Austin of the United States. Thomas holds the Auburn record at 2.29 meters (seven feet, 6.16 inches), a mark he cleared in 2007.
Mark Murphy is the editor of Inside the Auburn Tigers magazine and newsletter.