Auburn’s plan for recruiting wide receivers could change after losing Kyle Davis

Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Auburn Tigers  football recruiting notebook with Auburn recruiting beat writer Benjamin Wolk. It’s Friday, and SEC Country dives into wide receiver recruiting changes due to Kyle Davis’ departure. Also, Auburn coaches hit the recruiting trail Thursday night.

How Kyle Davis departure should change recruiting

Let’s take a look back at something wide receivers coach Kodi Burns said during assistant coach media day at the start of fall camp. The second-year coach was asked about the team’s recruiting plan at wide receiver in the Class of 2018.

Burns had his answer ready to go.

“I think right now the number we’re looking at is three, maybe four if it’s the right guy,” Burns said.

That number made a lot of sense, considering the mostly young depth on the team. Auburn doesn’t expect to lose any wide receivers to the draft this year (I’m not a scout, but Will Hastings and Ryan Davis — the only upperclassmen — don’t strike me as early entry types), so this isn’t desperation mode.

With that said, the Tigers took four receivers two cycles ago and only one a year ago, though a running back signee switched to receiver. Staggering the classes is something Burns hinted at back in the spring.

“I expect a really big class this year. We did a good job two years ago of signing probably the best class Auburn’s ever had at receiver. We signed four guys who came in here and were big-time players. That’s always a little bit of a struggle where guys see that the next year like, ‘Oh you just signed this class so why would I go to Auburn,'” Burns said. “Now we’ve created some separation a little bit and by signing three guys that are good players, that are going to come in and add some depth and I think this year are going to be a big time class for us, and I’m excited. I’m really excited.”

Among those four guys in the 2016 class was Kyle Davis, who was recently dismissed from the program. That hurt receiver, as well as when John Franklin III departed, though that one had zero effect on recruiting.

Davis’ dismissal would appear to be a difference maker, just from depth purposes. Check out what the projected classification of wide receivers would be next year, assuming JaTarvious Whitlow redshirts and no one else leaves early, transfers or gets dismissed.

  • Seniors (2)
    • Will Hastings
    • Ryan Davis
  • Juniors (5)
    • Nate Craig-Myers
    • Eli Stove
    • Darius Slayton
    • Sal Cannella
    • Griffin King
  • Sophomores (2)
    • Noah Igbinoghene
    • Marquis McClain
  • Freshmen (3)
    • JaTarvious Whitlow
    • Matthew Hill
    • Shedrick Jackson

For next season, Auburn would be OK missing on its top remaining targets in the 2018 class, which include Justyn Ross, Seth Williams, Anthony Schwartz, Tommy Bush and presumably other prospects who, for lack of a better term, serve as backup plans.

But look toward the 2019 season, Hastings and Davis would be gone, and there’s a chance of attrition among the other 10 receivers. On top of that, the only receivers listed at 6-foot-2 or taller — Craig-Myers, Slayton and Cannella — could leave early for the draft. The Tigers run the risk of turning into a small receiver unit rather quickly.

The Davis dismissal does two things. One, it forces the “maybe four” receivers into a “definitely four” receivers, just to be safe for depth. But it also places an emphasis on landing, for certain, at least one of Ross, Williams and Bush who are all 6-4 or taller. Schwartz, a smaller, shiftier receiver, would be a nice complement.

But with the loss of the presumed big-slot starter for the 2018 season, Auburn needs to secure as much depth as possible.

Auburn hits road to see Jalil Irvin

Members of the Auburn coaching staff were at Stephenson High (Stone Mountain, Ga.) to see Jalil Irvin play  Thursday night.

Irvin originally thought the staff might hold off until the end of the season when Stephenson plays Tucker (Ga.), which includes commit Michael Harris and target Dylan Wonnum. Instead, they hit the metro Atlanta area on Thursday night prior to the Arkansas game to see one of their two committed offensive linemen.

Stephenson also has a few underclassmen for coaches to keep an eye on, namely 2020 corner Javier Morton who already holds an Auburn offer.

Miss a previous Auburn recruiting notebook? Find every daily recap of Auburn Tigers recruiting  right here.

The post Auburn’s plan for recruiting wide receivers could change after losing Kyle Davis appeared first on SEC Country.

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