10 prospects ranked inside top 100 most likely to commit to Auburn

Much like Justin Ferguson does on the Auburn team side, recruiting reporter Benjamin Wolk  will answer the Recruiting Question of the Day. You can ask him questions on Twitter or Facebook. Look for our  Question of the Day each weekday. Go  here  to see our previous answers.

This is a slight variation on an Auburn recruiting question of the day that I answered a few weeks ago. That version honed in on how Auburn’s top-100 recruiting presence compared to previous recruiting cycles. In this edition, let’s take a look at who among the top-100 prospects has a chance of landing with the Tigers.

Auburn already has one top-100 prospect committed, quarterback Bo Nix.

Could more follow?

Here are the likely candidates:

No. 7 Owen Pappoe, outside linebacker

Owen Pappoe (Loganville, Ga.) told SEC Country following his last Auburn visit that the Tigers had emerged as his No. 2 school behind Georgia. Even more significant, the nation’s top linebacker said he planned to make his college decision in the near future between Auburn and Georgia. The Tigers have made up a lot of ground. Pappoe is set to make his decision on May 5. His relationship with linebackers coach Travis Williams will be the big factor playing in Auburn’s favor.

Biggest threat: Georgia

No. 11 Clay Webb, offensive lineman

The top prospect in the state of Alabama generally chooses between the two in-state schools. Last year, Justyn Ross went against the trend and picked Clemson. Expect the 2019 class to revert back to tradition. Tennessee and Georgia will make pushes for Clay Webb. Georgia probably has a better chance of the two. But this has been — and will continue to be — an Iron Bowl recruiting battle. Webb has visited both in-state programs countless times in the last two years. He grew up a Crimson Tide fan, so many believe it’s only a matter of time before he chooses Alabama. Auburn won’t give up until he does — and likely won’t even stop then.

Biggest threat: Alabama

No. 24 Nakobe Dean, inside linebacker

Nakobe Dean (Horn Lake, Miss.) has already visited Auburn once this spring and is slated to make another trip this weekend. He is being recruited heavily by LSU, Georgia and Alabama, as well as the two in-state programs. Dean’s second trip to Auburn in as many months signals a growing interest in the Tigers given that his first trip to the Plains came this spring. When he returns, he’ll be alongside his high school teammate, Raydarious Jones, who accompanied him — and picked up an offer — on their initial visit. The fact they’re returning together for a second time indicates their growing interest to play together. Several other top programs, including Georgia most recently, have followed Auburn’s lead by offering Jones.

Biggest threat: Alabama

No. 41 Wanya Morris, tackle

Wanya Morris is high school teammates with Pappoe, and the tandem will likely make their decisions around the same time. The Grayson High (Loganville, Ga.) tackle narrowed it two a month ago, Auburn and Tennessee. Morris created his top 2 shortly after taking a visit to Knoxville, Tenn.,  with Pappoe, so it’s understandable why there is growing buzz around the Volunteers in this recruitment. But Auburn’s need for tackles is documented and Morris is the highest-ranked tackle the Tigers are recruiting.

Biggest threat: Tennessee

No. 49 Nathan Pickering, defensive end

Nathan Pickering (Seminary, Miss.) is being recruited heavily by all the big schools in the southeast. He has taken several visits this spring. Pickering expects to be back at Auburn in the near future. He’s not sure it’ll be this weekend, but it’s possible. Even if he has to alter his visit plans, Pickering wants to make it back to the Plains as soon as possible. His relationship with Marcus Woodson and the laid-back way Auburn coaches treated him on his first visit made a major impression. It’s never easy to pull Mississippi prospects out of Mississippi, but Auburn is making a serious effort with Pickering.

Biggest threat: Mississippi State

No. 72 John Emery Jr., running back

John Emery is one of Auburn’s top-2 running back targets in the 2019 class. Noah Cain is the other. Emery visited Auburn earlier this month for junior day and was accompanied by his entire family. The 4-star running back from Destrehan, La. didn’t know much about the Tigers when he arrived but he left calling them a major contender. Emery will be a top running back target for Georgia, Alabama and LSU, as well. In fact, those schools likely have Cain and Emery at the top of their wish list. In Emery’s case, Auburn is most mindful of the home-state program.

Biggest threat: LSU

No. 75 Jaylen McCollough, safety

Jaylen McCollough (Powder Springs, Ga.) made a mid-week visit to Auburn last month that stood out. He isn’t crazy about junior days because it doesn’t allow for much 1-on-1 time with coaches. McCollough got plenty of that when he made his weekday visit to the Plains, however. The 4-safety sat down with defensive backs coach Greg Brown to talk in-depth about what his role would be in the Tigers defensive backfield. McCollough liked what he heard from the veteran safeties coach. He also likes what he’s been hearing out of Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Columbia, S.C. It wouldn’t be shocking to see the Georgia Bulldogs become a factor either.

Biggest threat: Alabama or South Carolina

No. 84 Charles Moore, defensive end

Charles Moore (Louisville, Miss.) is committed to Mississippi State and has been since August. But that isn’t stopping him from taking other college visits or showing interest in other programs. Moore has been in communication with defensive line coach Rodney Garner and others for a while now. He’ll make a visit to the Plains this weekend. Moore remains a solid commitment to Mississippi State. With the said, the more Moore visits, the more you have to wonder how solid that commitment is.

Biggest threat: Mississippi State

No. 95 Jaren Handy, defensive end

Jaren Handy (New Augusta, Miss.) recently committed and de-committed from LSU, so I wouldn’t expect to see him make any immediate decisions. He reopened his recruitment to make sure he took a proper amount of time to make the decision. However, Auburn’s communication with Handy was a big reason for his decision to step off his LSU commitment. The Tigers weren’t the only ones trying to convince him to reconsider his commitment, but they were a key reason. Handy will now make his first visit since his de-commitment to Auburn, which has to be a positive sign for the Tigers.

Biggest threat: Alabama or LSU

No. 98 Xavier Truss, offensive tackle

Xavier Truss’ name hasn’t been mentioned much, but that’ll likely change whenever he sets up his return visit. The tackle from Rhode Island made a southeast-wide tour last month that went to Clemson, Georgia, Auburn and Alabama. When he left, Truss told SEC Country that Auburn made the biggest impression on him over the course of the weekend, which actually surprised him given his impressions going in. Penn State holds a slight edge because of his familiarity with the program, thanks to its proximity to home. Truss wants to make it back to Auburn soon, though. And when he does, he thinks Auburn has a chance to become a top contender.

Biggest threat: Penn State

Honorable mention: ATH Mark Anthony-Richards, LB De’Gabriel Floyd, CB Christian Williams, CB  Andrew Booth, RB Noah Cain

To see all the answers to prior Auburn questions, click here.

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