Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Auburn Tigers football recruiting notebook with Auburn recruiting beat writer Benjamin Wolk. It’s Monday, and SEC Country previews Trey Hill‘s decision. Also, Auburn recruits shined on state championship weekend. Finally, a few official visit and ranking housekeeping items.
Top OL Trey Hill set to make commitment
The day that should get Auburn’s early signing day ball rolling is finally here. That’s not to say the Monday outcome will be what the Tigers want — it may be — but at the end of it, one of Auburn’s top targets will have his decision made, which will help determine the approach going forward with the Dec. 20 signing period on the horizon.
Trey Hill will announce his commitment Monday. He’s narrowed it down to four programs — Auburn, Georgia, Florida and Florida State. All four of those programs have been to see Hill in the last week in some fashion.
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My sources tell me this one comes down to Auburn and Georgia.
On the Georgia side, there is a great deal of confidence. Hill made it to Athens for his official visit this weekend despite the weather concerns from many other schools. The emphasis of the trip had less to do with the Athens atmosphere — something Hill is more than familiar with — and centered more around organizing the academic side of things.
It was by design for Georgia to host Hill on an official visit this closely to his decision.
Auburn hosted him on an official visit a few weeks ago, so the Tigers used a different method to get in Hill’s ear last. As Hill said a few weeks ago, Gus Malzahn wanted the last head coach in-home visit, and that’s exactly what happened. Malzahn went in-home Sunday night for the last sales pitch to Hill. My Auburn sources have doubts about Hill picking the Tigers — unlike my Georgia sources regarding him picking Georgia — but the visit went well enough Sunday night that they don’t want to rule themselves out.
Hill’s decision could come at any point Monday, but this evening is the most likely timeframe.
He’s the No. 2 offensive guard in the nation and the No. 38 overall prospect. For a while, he’s been the Tigers’ top offensive line target and arguably top overall prospect on the board. With Hill signing in December, this decision Monday will almost certainly be the end of the road for Hill’s recruitment.
The Crystal Ball suggests it’ll be either Auburn or Georgia, though 81 percent of it now reads Georgia. I placed my prediction for Georgia on Friday before his official visit to Athens, which should give you an indication of where I felt Auburn stood going into that weekend. Unless something unexpected happened, I doubt the visit changed anything.
If Hill does choose Auburn, it’ll be one of the most surprising recruiting wins in recent history. If he doesn’t pick the Tigers, they will get to work quickly on their new offensive line recruiting board.
Auburn’s top HS state championship performances
The future of the Auburn Tigers shined in Bryant-Denny Stadium on Thursday night when Shedrick Jackson and George Pickens put on a show in front of Gus Malzahn, Chip Lindsey and Kevin Steele.
Hoover’s wide receivers weren’t the only big-time performers.
The following Auburn commits/targets won state championships over the weekend: Jackson, Pickens, Shaun Shivers, Bo Nix, Anthony Schwartz and Kayode Oladele. On top of that, Joey Gatewood finished as a state runner-up.
Shivers capped off his sensational season with Auburn coaches in attendance. He carried the ball 30 times in the victory, rushing for 223 yards and 2 touchdowns. In the win, he eclipsed the 2,000-yard mark for the season.
Nix started his own Alabama state legacy. He entered the championship game with 2 interceptions on the season, but threw 2 more during the game. That didn’t stop him from putting up a championship-caliber performance. Nix threw a 23-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter that was the highlight of his night that ended 13-of-25 passing for 223 yards. He also rushed for 2 touchdowns in the title-game victory.
Schwartz continued doing what he’s done all season. The speedy wide receiver scored 2 key touchdowns to end the first half that made it virtually impossible for the opposing team to stay within reach. First, Schwartz blew past a defender to score on a 43-yard touchdown reception. Just before halftime, Schwartz took an end-around for a score that helped cause a running clock situation in the second half.
Gatewood’s team didn’t win the game, but he still put on a respectable performance. Bartram Trail (Fla.) fell behind big early, but Gatewood helped the fight. He threw a 12-yard touchdown pass on fourth down and rushed for a 5-yard score to narrow the gap, but it wasn’t enough. Gatewood finished the championship with a 12 of 18 night, passing for 129 yards and 1 touchdown. He also rushed for 77 yards and caught a 39-yard pass.
No official visits to Auburn because of weather
The bad news: Auburn wasn’t able to host any official visitors over the weekend.
The good news: That was the Tigers’ choice (sort of).
Auburn’s recruiting staff had a tough decision on deck when the snowy weather hit the east coast Friday. Out-of-state prospects were going to have trouble flying into Atlanta. Recruits from Georgia or north Alabama were going to have a tough time driving in because of the road conditions.
As a result, Auburn elected to reschedule all of those official visits for this upcoming weekend.
It took an official visit weekend off Auburn’s calendar (the Tigers weren’t the only ones affected, of course), so there’s a chance that could hurt. But as Auburn weighed its options, postponing the official visits of Noah Banks, Zakoby McClain and unspecified others seemed to be the smart move overall.
With that said, keep an eye out for a busy weekend ahead. It’ll be the last official visit weekend before the December signing period begins. By the look of things, it’ll be more action-packed than previously expected.
Latest evaluation helps Auburn in team rankings
Here’s a short little tidbit I wanted to bring to Auburn fans’ attention. The primary recruiting services have done their first set of postseason re-ranking. That tends to cause some shifting among the player and team rankings because the end-of-year evaluations are slightly different.
That helped Auburn this time around.
As it stands, the Tigers have moved up to No. 8 in the team rankings, just shy of Notre Dame at No. 7. There remains a lot to shake out over the next couple weeks. A few guys will choose Auburn, which will help, but a few others will pick other top-10 schools, which will hurt.
It’s still too hard to guess exactly where Auburn will end up, but the point is, the Tigers have solidified themselves among the top group of programs nationally. Nothing new there.
Miss a previous Auburn recruiting notebook? Find every daily recap of Auburn Tigers recruiting right here.
The post Top OL target Trey Hill set to make decision between Auburn, Georgia, Florida and Florida State appeared first on SEC Country.
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