Just a quick handful of links for you:
It might be so good we’re going to call it the “Primary.” The offensive line and wide receiver are so 2010. What’s really “in” for Auburn recruiting these days is the secondary. They’ve already got a high-upside safety prospect committed in Anthony Swain, lead solidly for two more Rivals100 prospects in corner Jonathan Rose and safety Erique Florence, and have as good a shot as anyone at landing safety Chris Jones, who recently picked up a Tide offer to go with his Florida, Notre Dame, Tennessee, etc. offers. In short: Auburn’s got an excellent chance at putting together an outstanding class of defensive backs.
This fact has not been lost on Rose:
“Auburn is my top school. My mind isn’t made up, but I have an idea though. I’m gonna take some visits in early July and just make sure it’s right,” said Rose.
“I have everything I need from Auburn. I just want to compare them to the other schools and match them up” …
When Chris Jones comes into the picture, so does Erique Florence (DB, Valley HS). Those three comprise the top secondary prospects in the state. All three have Auburn at or near the top, and Rose knows how special that would be.
“I think it’s definitely a distinct possibility that we could play together. Those two guys are great. They’d be a big asset, and we’d have the best secondary like ever. I talk to Enrique a lot and try and stay in touch with him,” Rose said.
I don’t know about “best ever,” but it’d be pretty gosh-darned good. There’s plenty more from Rose at that link, including the tidbit that the three schools that Auburn have to fend off are apparently Georgia, Tennessee, and Memphis (?!?). Forgive me for feeling good about Chizik and Co.’s chances.
Speaking of Florence … last weekend he found himself at the center of the sort of minor controversy/freak-out that only occurs in the offseason, as Scout’s ‘Bama writer Andrew Bone tweeted that he’d been booted from Valley’s football team, giving Tide fans just the juicy opportunity they’d been waiting for to claim–everybody, say it with me!–“WE DIDN’T WANT HIM ANYWAY. Nevermind that the original report wound up refuted by Auburn’s recruiting writers within a matter of minutes, of course, or that the original tweet was deleted. (It would be nice, wouldn’t it, if Bone bothered to apologize or retract his statement? Sorry, broseph. Same goes for some kind of update and/or correction at RBR, but we’re still waiting there, too.)
1. Obviously there’s no reason for Auburn fans to worry that much about this incident, but that’s not to say there wasn’t some kind of friction between Florence and his coaches; OA-News preps writer David Morrison reported that Florence was in a “rough spot” last week and that Florence’s coach admitted there were “some problems.” Again, as long as Florence is good with Auburn’s coaches he’s good with me (and I have zero doubt a ton of recruits that aren’t on the Rivals100 radar have similar blowups we never find out about), but it’s something to, I dunno, “file away” nonetheless.
2. You think Bone would have gone ahead with his report or that Tide fans would be nearly so worried about Florence’s character if he was a Tide lean instead of an Auburn lean? Me neither.
RB watch. Free article on Mike Blakely from Rivals, and the news on a player that had previously isn’t good:
There’s been much talk that home state school Florida has taken over the lead for Blakely recently, but he maintains that any lead Florida, or any other school has at the moment, is minimal.
“Not really,” Blakely said about Florida. “They can be a leader, but Auburn, Florida, and South Carolina are so close to each other, it’s hard to say.”
While Blakely is having a hard time naming a true leader, he at least knows the three SEC schools that are atop his list right now.
“Auburn, Florida, and South Carolina are basically my schools,” Blakely said. “All three are real high up there, all neck and neck.”
Blakely says all three schools have appealing factors right now as well.
“Location is big,” Blakely said. “All of them are manageable to get to. I have a close, close friend going to South Carolina, so that’s nice. At Auburn, they treat you so nice up there, it’s crazy. It’s almost too good to be true how nice they treat you at Auburn. At Florida, they treat you the same way, I like them a lot.”
That’s not to say there aren’t positives: Blakely does finish out the article saying lots of nice things about Auburn and Jay Boulware. Chizik and Co. are still very clearly at or near the top of his list. But a couple of weeks ago Auburn looked like clear favorites to land him, and that’s no longer the case.
This is worrisome since running back is actually a position of need this go-round, but as you’d expect Chizik and Co. are covering their bases: Andrew Buie from Florida and Quan Bray from Georgia–both in Rivals’ top 120 nationally–both visited Auburn last week and both had nice things to say afterwards. Auburn will find someone who wants to play RB, and it remains extremely likely that person will be very, very good.
Photo via this February al.com piece on Rose, which is out-of-date of course as regards Rose’s recruitment but still very much worth a read.