It was the middle of last August when Springville center Chase Hughes, having not received much in the way of attention from Auburn over the summer, announced that Ole Miss led for his signature. With that news coming on the heels of Aubrey Phillips’ medical episode, it prompted a good old-fashioned freak-out by your humble Auburn Blogger, in which I noted that Auburn had only slightly more in the way of offensive line talent for 2011 than no offensive line talent at all. And what was worse, that they didn’t seem to be recruiting like it.
Things have changed juuuuuuuust a bit in the eight months between now and then. Since that point Auburn has added commitments and/or signings from eight different offensive linemen, five or six of which have been (or will be) rated four stars by at least one of the major services. The latest addition arrived via 790 The Zone late yesterday, as guard Thomas O’Reilly of Marietta made the announcement he was committing to Auburn. There will be still be worries about the offensive line next fall–you don’t replace four starters and not worry–but it won’t be for lack of available candidates any more, that’s for certain.
So if that what O’Reilly’s commitment means in the big picture, in the smaller picture it just means Auburn’s added another whip-smart, hard-working, high-potential offensive lineman. Pope head coach Matt Kemper:
“He’s a very gifted young man,” Kemper said. “He has a lot of natural tools. He’s big and strong and is almost unnaturally quick on his feet. He’s really got some explosiveness in his hips and he can knock people off the football.”
“They saw my film and I talked to them and they asked me how much I weighed and when I said 330, they were shocked,” O’Reilly said. “They said I moved pretty fast for a big boy. One of the things we talked about was maybe coming in around 300. They realize I can move at 330 so everything lighter than that is an added bonus.”
The 6-foot-3.5 O’Reilly actually got down to 285 pounds for wrestling season and is up to 290 now.
Yeah, he wrestles, too. He’s a 6-3, 300-pound guard who wrestles, is on the ESPN 150 Watch list, and had early offers from Florida St., Georgia Tech, and N.C. State. I think we’ll take him.
A few other offers worth noting: Vandy, Duke, Wake Forest. I don’t think he’s going to have any problem qualifying (or learning the playbook), and it’s no surprise he’s planning on graduating early and coming in next spring.
Watching college-grade offensive lineman crush unfortunate dudes half their size never, ever gets old.
A few more krootin’ notes for your humpday morning:
— Auburn came close to adding a pair of defensive backs to the 2011 class last weekend. Leeds corner Jonathan Rose:
“It went great,” Rose said. “I kind of feel at home with Auburn now. I’m coming down to a decision. Hopefully, it’s going to be the Auburn way” …
Rose, whose dad, Charles, and uncle, Courtney, both played at Auburn, has offers from Auburn, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida State and Southern Miss. He’s already visited Alabama and Florida State but wants to see both Georgia and Tennessee before making a final decision.
“(Auburn) is No. 1 on my list. I don’t think anyone will be able to match it,” Rose said. “I haven’t been everywhere yet. Once I visit everywhere, I’ll be able to compare. But no one right now is comparing to Auburn.”
Nothing’s set in stone yet, but the general feeling on Rose is that it’s a matter of when rather than if. Things aren’t all too different for Minor High DB Christion Jones:
“I’m really kind of thinking about committing here (at Auburn),” Jones said. “I don’t know when. I’m thinking possibly A-Day or sometime mid-June or July. I am thinking this is where I’m going to be.”
Both players are getting some early love from the gurus–Jones is on the Rivals 250 watch list, Rose on the ESPN watch list and the already-released Scout 300–and given that both would play, you know, defensive back, either one would be a huge commitment.
— There’s a bumper crop of visitors expected for this week’s A-Day game, headlined by All-Everything Valley safety Erique Florence and (potentially) returning Butler (N.C.) prospects QB Christian Lemay and ATH Kris Frost. Maybe the biggest name to keep an eye on, though, is Reese Dismukes–as I think I mentioned last week, Dismukes is announcing for either Auburn and Alabama next week and whichever school’s A-Day he attends is widely expected to be the school he’s planning on choosing. Auburn people are already feeling confident about Dismukes and an A-Day visit would, well, lead to an awful lot more confidence.
— Also visiting this week was Mobile DE JaBrian Niles, who has a “final four” of Alabama, Florida St., Southern Cal, and Auburn, all of which have offered. That’s a pretty substantial offer list you’ve got there, Mr. Niles.
Niles claims no leaders among the top group, but if you want to be optimistic, Niles apparently grew up an Auburn fan and has already visited the Plains three times this spring.
— I mentioned the Scout 300. I won’t run down every vaguely Auburn-related player on the list, but amongst those who have either already committed or who I think Chizik and Co. have a decent shot with, Florence is No. 55; Gabe Wright No. 93; Kiehl Frazier No. 104; Joe Morrow No. 152; Rose, No. 160; Jeff Driskel, No. 181; Dismukes No. 271; Dee Hart No. 233; Spencer Region No. 257.
— Filing under “Etc.”, Bryan Matthews thinks Kiehl Frazier is likely Auburn’s first (and quite possibly only) quarterback commit for this cycle; speaking of Frazier, he’s good and everyone knows it; Auburn Eagle has an interesting run-down of Auburn’s running back targets, though if a couple of those guys sign with Auburn I’ll be pleasantly stunned; Auburn’s (verbally) offered an Auburn sophomore.