AuburnSports – Recruiting hot board: Offense

Early signing day is in a couple of days, the transfer portal is as hot as ever and Auburn is working to finish 2022 strong and kick off next year with charging momentum. Hugh Freeze picked up three commits this weekend, including a couple of flips and a transfer tight end.

What’s left on the recruiting trail? Where does Auburn stand with those goals? Let’s break it down.

Devin Leary, the No. 1 quarterback in the transfer portal, visited Auburn this weekend. (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)

QUARTERBACK

Committed: Keone Jenkins

Class of 2023: Hank Brown

Transfers: Devin Leary, Grayson McCall

Auburn’s quarterback room isn’t losing anybody major next season. It lost Zach Calzada, who didn’t play a game, and Trey Lindsey, who played a snap or two on senior day.

Other than that, it appears that Robby Ashford is the leading candidate to be QB1 next season, unless the Tigers pick up a better option in the transfer portal.

That’s where Devin Leary has his calling card. Leary is rated as the No. 1 quarterback in the transfer portal and visited Auburn over the weekend. Throughout his career at North Carolina State, Leary held a completion percentage of just over 60%. He threw for over 6,800 yards, had 78 touchdowns and only eight passes intercepted.

Leary is likely the No. 1 target right now and getting him on campus over the weekend was a big step forward in closing the deal. He visited Kentucky last week and it appears right now that the two big-cat programs are the frontrunners.

Another transfer option that was slated to visit before hitting an academic snag was Coastal Carolina transfer Grayson McCall.

One of the elite passers in college football over the last few seasons, McCall has the ability to be the starter day one like Leary. In his career at Coastal, McCall threw for over 8,000 yards, had 78 touchdowns and only eight of his passes were intercepted in 780 attempts.

It seems that Hank Brown is the last quarterback in the 2023 class that Auburn might consider adding to its class. Brown was committed to Freeze at Liberty, but the Tigers may wait to see what happens in the transfer portal before going after Brown with more aggression.

RUNNING BACK

Committed: Jeremiah Cobb

Class of 2023: Jamarion Wilcox

Transfer: Dillon Johnson

With Tank Bigsby departing for the NFL, it appears as if Jarquez Hunter will assume the role of RB1 next season. That leaves Damari Alston and Cobb as the two likely to back up Hunter — unless Auburn adds another all-purpose back to the lineup.

Like Hunter, Dillon Johnson is a Mississippi native. He entered the transfer portal after three seasons at Mississippi State and visited Auburn this weekend.

The 6-foot-1 running back enjoyed his time on the Plains and is looking to make his decision in early January. It’s between Auburn, Louisville, South Carolina and Washington.

Auburn could add another running back to its 2023 class with Jamarion Wilcox, but the Tigers didn’t offer until recently. Nevertheless, Auburn, Kentucky, Ohio State and Clemson are the final four for Wilcox.

WIDE RECEIVER

Committed: Daquayvious Sorey

Class of 2023: Lamar Seymore, Eric Singleton Jr.

Transfers: Rara Thomas, Dont’e Thornton

Auburn once had several receivers committed, but de-commitments from Karmello English and Adam Hopkins have left Daquayvious Sorey all alone. Pittsburgh commit Lamar Seymore and Western Kentucky commit Eric Singleton are viable options at the high school level; Singleton is the more likely flip candidate out of the two.

Meanwhile, the Tigers have targeted Oregon transfer Dont’e Thornton and Mississippi State transfer Rara Thomas from the portal. Both have visited Auburn.

TIGHT END

Committed: Rivaldo Fairweather (Transfer)

Class of 2023: Jelani Thurman

Transfer: Rivaldo Fairweather

Auburn needed to add at least one tight end to its room and Fairweather’s Sunday commitment was a big addition. He had 28 receptions for 426 yards receiving at FIU this past season. He also scored three touchdowns.

An instant-impact player, Fairweather could find himself at No. 1 or No. 2 on the depth chart at tight end next season.

Jelani Thurman from Langston Hughes High School in Fairburn, Ga., is the big name to watch at the high school level. He’s committed to Ohio State right now, but the Tigers have done a good job in getting him on campus for several weekends throughout the fall.

Still, it’ll take a lot to pull him away from the Buckeyes.

OFFENSIVE LINE

Committed: Bradyn Joiner, Clay Wedin, Tyler Johnson, Connor Lew,

Class of 2023: Isaiah Jatta (JUCO), Izavion Miller (JUCO)

Transfers: Amari Kight, Dillon Wade, Jordan Brown, Ben Scott, Walter Rouse

Auburn needs offensive linemen that can play SEC-caliber football immediately — or at least be molded into an SEC lineman fast enough to play during Week 1. With that in mind, it comes as no surprise that the Tigers are working hard in the portal and with JUCO players.

Several players have emerged as viable targets. Tulsa transfer Dillon Wade played under new offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery when he was the head coach at Tulsa. Following Wade’s visit to Auburn, it’s between the Tigers and USC.

Ben Scott has Auburn in his top five after his weekend visit — along with UCLA, Nebraska, Florida State and Miami. The Arizona State transfer has three years of starting experience and Auburn likes him as a center, where he played last season for the Sun Devils.

Walter Rouse is a decorated player with a list of accolades from his time at Stanford, where he was a four-year starter. He entered the transfer portal recently and within 48 hours was on Auburn’s campus.

It’s early in his process and there are many schools talking with him, but getting him on campus so quickly gives Auburn a leg up.

Other targets like Alabama transfer Amari Kight and Charlotte transfer Jordan Brown are also on the board as potential guys that Auburn could sign. Both visited last week.

Meanwhile, two JUCO players are intriguing. Izavion Miller is making his final decision soon and it’s between Auburn and Mississippi State. Isaiah Jatta, who played JUCO ball with current Auburn player Keionte Scott, de-committed from South Carolina shortly after his visits to Auburn and BYU.

There’s potential for Auburn to land a pair of JUCO tackles in the class. That would be a big-time development if the Tigers make it happen.

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