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Krootin’: Luke Cothron commits, etc.

Better late than never. By which I mean both my commentary on Luke Cothron’s commitment to Auburn, now two days behind us, and Tony Barbee’s thunderous arrival on the AU recruiting scene. He’d already signed the top player in the state of Alabama in Josh Langford, one with offers from the likes of West Virginia, Cincy, etc., but Cothron’s commitment might be even bigger. Cothron:

— is Rivals‘ No. 11 power forward and No. 45 player overall.

— has offers from UConn, Louisville, Tennessee, multiple other SEC programs, etc.; decommitted from N.C. State

— measures 6-8, 205 and put up a 30 and 13 (!) his senior year of high school

— is by all accounts a dynamic scorer in the post, both face-up and with his back-to-the-basket.

Hey, remember when Auburn had a go-to scorer in the low block who we could toss the ball to 10-15 times a game and watch him go to work? Really? Because it’s been so long that I kind of don’t*.

The knock on Cothron has been that as gifted a basketball player as he might be, his grades meant that he might not be available until after a JUCO stint. His coach, however, says that’s not the case:

Bond expects Cothron to be a full qualifier.

“He should be there,” Bond said. “He’s working hard to close out the year. I anticipate him being there and I anticipate him being a contributor from day one.”

If Cothron does indeed make it, it will be a huge coup for Barbee–players ranked in the country’s top 50 have barely looked at Auburn the last couple of seasons, much less signed on the Plains. Times are good.

FUN FACT: Auburn has six signees in its class of 2010, and all six of them are 6-6 or taller. Between Armstrong and Shawn Kemp Jr. at center and Kenny Gabriel, Langford, Cothron et al at the two forward positions, the frontcourt really shouldn’t be an issue going forward. Neither should shooting guard–between Frankie, Earnest Ross, and Andre Malone, the 2 should be covered. As for point guard … well …

“We’ve got to find some more depth at the point guard position as well with (walk-on) Josh (Wallace) really being the only true point guard we have on the roster,’ Barbee said.

While the pickings are slim for available 2010 point guards, it’s a position that could be filled by a transfer.

Mmmmmm, transfer. Fingers are crossed.

On the football side of things, things are only a little less exciting:

Leader-ship. Auburn’s had two major players declare the Tigers their leader in the past few days.

One of them is massive D.C.-area tackle Jamar Lewter. Check out the free (?!) Rivals story:

Lewter has a top five right now, but one team stands atop that list.

That team is Auburn.

“They are at the top, my No. 1”, said the highly-recruited lineman.

Although Lewter hasn’t visited Auburn yet, the coaching staff, in particular offensive line coach Jeff Grimes, have made an impact on the D.C. standout.

“Talking to their coaches, they seem pretty decent”, Lewter said. “They want to get me down there to see the campus” …

Lewter said he wants to go to a school where he can get a good education. Grimes has emphasized he can do that at Auburn.

“I want to major in engineering”, Lewter said. “Auburn is one of the top engineering schools in the country.”

Aw man, Auburn’s in the lead and he hasn’t even visited yet? I like where this is going.

Not least because Lewter appears to be, as they say, the real deal: he’s on the Rivals 250 Watch List, he’s a four-star at Scout, he’s got a ton of offers up and down the East coast and one from Kiffykins and USC. Fun.

But Auburn is also out in front for a player a bit closer to home in Joe Morrow, a wideout from Ocean Springs, Miss., with offers from LSU, Arkansas, and both SEC Mississippi schools. It’s a slim lead, but still:

“I’m really liking them right now,” Morrow said. “I’m still doing my research on them, but they’re definitely at the top. My parents and I are just talking now and trying to weigh my options.”

Long, long way to go in both Lewter’s and Morrow’s cases, but you have to like the work Auburn’s done so far.

Uzomah. With Auburn’s field of prospective QBs narrowed the last couple of weeks, Kiehl Frazier and C.J. Uzomah are going to be arguably the most closely-followed recruits amongst Auburn fans until (hopefully) one or the other commits. Uzomah was at the U.S. Army All-American game banquet in Georgia recently and spoke a bit about Christian Lemay’s de facto commitment to Georgia:

“As far as LeMay committing, he is a great quarterback and everything. As far as affecting my decision, it might a little bit,” said Uzomah, one of 22 Georgia players who earned U.S. Army All-America nominations on Monday at the Fox Sports Grill at Atlantic Station. “But I highly doubt it because football is all about competition, especially at quarterback. Playing quarterback, not everybody in the nation can do it. As my dad says, if it was easy everybody would do it. Competition breeds athletes. So I don’t think it will be that big of a factor for me” …

“I don’t have a top-whatever right now,” Uzomah said. “But I do plan to have one hopefully soon, maybe by the end of spring practice. I’d like to narrow it down to three or a little bit more manageable number. I would like to make a commitment before the season because I want to focus on my senior season. That’s where I am right now.”

Emphasis there is mine, because if Uzomah sticks to his plan of committing by the end of the summer, even a “little bit” of doubt could play a big role. But Uzomah seems like a bright kid who’s going to think long and hard about his decision, so we’ll see. Auburn should be well-positioned to make that final three, at the least.

Change of Hart. Michigan fans have been expecting Dee Hart to commit at their Big Cat-esque BBQ event in late May, but NSFMF:

“If I had to say today, it would be Michigan,” Hart said. “But right now it’s Michigan, Auburn and Alabama, in no specific order.”

There’s that Auburn name again. Hart has been through a period this spring where Auburn was his top team. Michigan was up there shortly after last season when Hart said if he were committing back then it would be Michigan.

But then Clinton-Dix got him on the Crimson Tide train and it was Alabama for a while.

“Me and my auntie and my mom went up to Michigan and we liked it … it was fun,” Hart said. “We plan on going to Auburn sometime this summer or spring, and we’re going to go see Alabama this summer” …

“I could make a decision anytime soon,” Hart said. “I was thinking May 22, but that might not work out … so we’ll just see where it goes. I’m not in any rush anyway. I’m graduating early, but I’m really not in a rush.”

You get the feeling Hart is one of those recruits who has a blast on each of his visits and comes away thinking that’s the school for him, until he takes his next visit. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It happens.

The point: Auburn’s not out of the running with Hart by any means, maybe even if he does commit to the Wolverines, but any praise he might have after any future visits may also need to be taken gently. (HT: MGoBlog.)

Etc. Keymiya Harrell is planning on being in town for Big Cat and likes Rocker and Boulware, but he’s not naming any leaders … Auburn is in the final three for Georgia DE Xzavier Dickson, but it sounds like the Tide have a big, big lead … Fellow Peach State DE Stephon Tuitt was supposedly on campus for Auburn’s A-Day, but it must not have made an impression: Auburn’s not among what sounds like his final five schools.

*Brendon Knox probably could have been this kind of player, but, you know, Auburn had people to see, contested threes to shoot, etc.

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