Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Auburn Tigers football recruiting notebook with Auburn recruiting beat writer Benjamin Wolk. It’s Tuesday, and SEC Country spoke with a Michigan cornerback transfer who Auburn is evaluating. Also, a 2019 prospect told us his leader.
Michigan transfer intrigued by Auburn as Tigers evaluate
Whenever a Power 5 transfer pops up on recruiting radar, it grabs the interest of a fan base.
Keith Washington was no different.
The former Michigan cornerback — originally from Prattville, Ala. — announced his decision to leave the Wolverines right before the season started. Formerly a 3-star recruit from Alabama, Washington played mostly in a special teams role during the 2016 season. He received time at both cornerback and safety in the offseason.
With a preference to play cornerback only, the 6-foot-2, 180-pound athlete decided to head to Copiah-Lincoln Community College (Wesson, Miss.) and pursue other Power 5 options.
So far this season, he’s recorded 16 tackles, 2 interceptions and 1 fumble recovery, which has attracted offers from West Virginia, Alabama at Birmingham and Middle Tennessee State. But several other programs are on the verge of entering the picture.
Auburn’s relationship is in much earlier stages, but it’s getting there. Washington, who happens to be Kamryn Pettway’s cousin, began communicating with the Tigers’ staff last week. That led to his visit for the Mississippi State game.
“They just wanted me to get back in the environment and see how things are going. It felt good to come back and watch my cousins play and things like that, so that’s pretty much it,” Washington said. “I had a little communication, but this is probably the first week that I actually really started talking to Auburn.”
For now, this is in evaluation stage.
If Auburn sees Washington as cornerback more than a safety (differently from how Michigan was trending), I think there could be a lot of traction here. The Tigers have had some uncertainty with what to do at the cornerback position in the 2018 class. Auburn has already started to look ahead to 2019 for that position group, so a JUCO option could make sense this cycle.
Washington would have serious interest in Auburn if an offer were to be extended. He’ll be a January enrollee.
“I just want to go to a place that I’m wanted and to get out there and play and feel like [it’s] home,” Washington said. “[An Auburn offer], that’s huge. This is like home to me. Family is right down the road. I would love to have that offer from Auburn. We’re going to stay in touch throughout the season.”
Top 2019 cornerback target: ‘Auburn is the leader’
For the second time this season, Jalen Alexander attended an Auburn game. The 2019 cornerback target from Grayson, Ga., visited for the Georgia Southern game and issued rave reviews for the Tigers defense. Alexander called Auburn among his favorites.
He took those comments a step further after his most recent visit.
“I could say Auburn is the leader right now, but I am still exploring my options,” Alexander said. “I like how the coaches really treat their players like family. I like how they push them real hard.”
Alexander communicates with linebackers coach and area recruiter Travis Williams on an almost daily basis. He also has revved up conversations with secondary coach Greg Brown, who now reaches out nearly every day.
South Carolina, Michigan State and Mississippi State are programs in contention, as are any other top program that could offer in the near future.
But as his first offer, Auburn will always have a major edge — especially with the Tigers defense performing at such a high level.
“That means a lot to me. With my team, I’m a part of a great defense. It’s awesome to see a great defensive unit playing together, playing strong,” Alexander said. “The defense looked real good. They played shutdown the whole game. It was live.”
So far in his junior season, Alexander has 21 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 5 passes deflected and an interception returned 28 yards for a touchdown.
Joey Gatewood receives All-American jersey
Joey Gatewood received his Under Armour All-American Game jersey Monday afternoon. That’s not really news considering he committed to the game a while ago. But the jersey ceremony day is always a nice moment and official seal that you’re a nationally acclaimed prospect.
Gatewood earned the title well before the 2017 season started, and his senior season has only solidified it. Through five games — yet splitting possessions — Gatewood has completed 69 percent of his passes for 695 yards and a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 6-to-1. On top of that, he’s rushed for 317 yards and 4 touchdowns.
The jersey ceremony was a nice little kicker to the strong start.
“It feels good,” Gatewood said. “I couldn’t have done it without my family, teammates and coaches.”
If you need further proof of Gatewood’s exceptional play, here are highlights from the last few days of Twitter that show some of his impressive ability:
— Overtime (@overtime) October 2, 2017
— Overtime (@overtime) September 30, 2017
— Overtime (@overtime) September 27, 2017
Miss a previous Auburn recruiting notebook? Find every daily recap of Auburn Tigers recruiting right here.
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