What you need to know about Auburn's 2020 recruiting class
Momentum. That is a huge thing when it comes to recruiting and, right now, it seems like Auburn has 5-star running back Cartavious “Tank” Bigsby announced that he is shutting down his recruitment and confirmed he will become a Tiger.
Add that to a victory over Alabama in the Iron Bowl in front of a bunch of top recruits, and Gus Malzahn’s Twitter account will become even more full with “BOOM!” over the next couple of weeks leading up to the Early Signing Period on Dec. 18-20.
Here’s what you need to know about the Tigers’ recruiting class:
- National rank: 8th
- SEC rank: 5th
- 5-star: 1
- 4-star: 11
- 3-star: 9
Best player: 5-star RB Cartavious “Tank” Bigsby
Recently picking up that elusive 5th star, Bigsby committed to the Tigers on Aug. 9 and Malzahn has held off many suitors including Alabama and LSU. The Callaway High School (Hogansville, Ga.) product lives up to his nickname with a big lower body and a frame that stands at 6-foot and 210 pounds.
Clocked at a 4.55 in the 40-yard dash, Bigsby, the No. 3-ranked back in the 2020 class, will ultimately get faster (and a little bit bigger) when he gets in a college conditioning program, but the bulk and skills are there.
He was named the Class AA Georgia Player of the Year by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution last season as a junior after rushing for 2,221 yards and 22 touchdowns.
Assessing the QBs
There’s only 1 in the class thus far, which is understandable considering Bo Nix already is entrenched as the starter as a freshman. As you would expect with Malzahn, he went out and found a dual-threat quarterback in Chayil Garnett from Lakeland. Fla. A 3-star who committed on April 9, Garnett stands 6-1 and weight 205 pounds. As a junior in 2018, he threw for 2,028 yards and 18 touchdowns to just 4 interceptions and rushed for 4 more scores.
With Nix firmly slated as the starter for the foreseeable future, Garnett won’t be able to compete for the starting position but, with Joey Gatewood transferring halfway through the season, the chance to work his way up the depth chart will be there.
Biggest need filled
With all 5 starters on the offensive line graduating this season, there will be some need for new depth, so it comes as no surprise that the Tigers got quality big hogs up front. Leading the top is Javion Cohen, a 4-star offensive tackle from nearby Central High School in Phenix City, Ala. At 6-5 and 295 pounds, he already has the frame to start competing for playing time immediately but will need to put some weight on to withstand the brutality of a full college season. Cohen is athletic and can be mixed and matched between tackle and guard.
JUCO Killian Zierer (6-7, 293) is expected to be ready. He’s the No. 2 JUCO tackle in the country.
Guards Avery Jernigan and Tate Johnson are 3-stars but ranked among the top 30 nationally at their position.
Biggest need that needs to be filled
No one can replace Derrick Brown and Marlon Davidson, but the Tigers will have to try in 2020. In comes Jay Hardy (6-4, 290 pounds) and Zykevious Walker (6-foot-4, 260 pounds), both 4-star recruits who will have a chance to make an impact early.
Hardy, the nation’s No. 3-ranked strong-side defensive end in the 2020 class, is athletic for his size, starring also on his high school’s basketball team. Walker (No. 8-ranked SDE) will need to put on some weight early and often to catch up with his frame.
Best position group
Auburn is bringing in several talented WRs and DEs. Even though it might just be one guy, Bigsby is enough of a difference-maker that his commitment alone makes the RB haul the best group of the bunch. There won’t be many teams that will be able to put out quality like him, Boobie Whitlow and D.J. Williams in the backfield next season.
Best player still chasing
I wouldn’t blame Kevin Steele if he was licking his chops wanting to get 6-7 Jason Harris out of Gilbert, Ariz. on The Plains. Just 220 pounds, the weak-side defensive end will obviously have to put some major time in the weight room but, as they always say, you can’t teach height.