Top defensive line target Nathan Pickering expects to be back at Auburn soon

Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Auburn Tigers  football recruiting notebook with Auburn recruiting beat writer Benjamin Wolk. It’s Monday, and SEC Country has the latest on a few prospects expected to make visits to the Plains in the near future.

Nathan Pickering expects to be back at Auburn ‘soon’

Nathan Pickering was expected to be at Auburn earlier this month, but he had to rearrange his plans.

Still, as I mentioned earlier in March, Pickering planned to reschedule for later in the month. The 4-star defensive end from Seminary, Miss., hasn’t returned yet, but he plans to in the near future.

“Soon,” he told SEC Country on Monday evening.

Pickering originally hoped to reschedule for March 24-25, which is this weekend. As of Monday night, he wasn’t 100 percent certain whether he’d come this weekend versus wait a week, or until the spring game. But one thing is certain: Auburn is on his mind and has been the entire spring.

“They obviously will be a factor. When I put my top schools out, Auburn will be high on it. I loved it.  …  I’ll definitely be back. Anytime I get a chance to come, I’m coming,” Pickering said. “[Rodney Garner], he’s cool. He’s like a father figure to me. He seems like someone who I would love to be coached by.”

Auburn plans to host a solid contingent of prospects (more below) this weekend. It won’t be a junior day, per se, but it will be a star-studded group on campus nonetheless. Many of Auburn’s top Mississippi prospects will head to Atlanta this weekend for the Nike Opening Regional at Buford High School. It’s a convenient time to swing by the Plains.

Pickering, however, won’t participate in a Nike regional until the Dallas event in April.

Pickering, the nation’s No. 50 overall prospect, is Auburn’s No. 1 defensive line priority in the 2019 class. He last visited Auburn on Feb. 12 with his close friend and fellow 2019 target Dannis Jackson, a wide receiver.

3 big visits on deck for this week — maybe more

With spring break out of the way, Auburn will return to hosting its regular recruiting visits.

I mentioned above that the Tigers hope to host several top targets this weekend in a semi-junior day, of sorts. Many of those names aren’t finalized and will emerge throughout the week. But a few other top targets are already good to go.

Two, in particular, will be of premium interest.

  • CB Kaiir Elam
  • LB Donte Starks

Luke Stampini of 247Sports first reported Elam’s intent to visit. Auburn will be one of a few stops on Elam’s trek around some of the Southeast’s top programs. Elam is the No. 12-ranked cornerback in the 2019 class and a priority Auburn target. He’s the son of former NFL player Abe Elam, who has a few NFL links to Tigers defensive backs coach Greg Brown.

As for Starks, I wrote in more detail about his visit plan last week. Starks already has been to Auburn once this spring, so the return visit is telling — and pivotal. Starks is up there among linebackers coach Travis Williams’ top linebacker targets in the 2019 class.

He’s right up there with 5-star Nakobe Dean, another potential weekend visitor.

Dean visited last month with his high school teammate Raydarious Jones, a cornerback who picked up an offer. According to Dean, who will be at the Nike Opening regional in Atlanta, he’s undecided on his plans to visit Auburn this weekend. With the proximity to The Opening regional, however, he’s not ruling out the possibility.

Auburn has 2 fastest prep track athletes this year

It’s time to bring back #AuburnFast.

When Gus Malzahn spoke about the 2018 recruiting class, he made it clear what element of the class impressed him most.

“Big-picture, this whole class, we really wanted to focus on speed, too, as we feel like we did that,” Malzahn said on National Signing Day.

It’s true — all the way down to the defensive linemen.

But the two prospects to exhibit it the most are wide receiver Anthony Schwartz and running back Shaun Shivers. Future Auburn football players, yes, but they’re making their names much more known this spring as two of the fastest sprinters in the entire country.

Correction: as  the two fastest sprinters in the entire country.

Schwartz has been the top sprinter in the nation for more than a year. In fact, as it currently stands, he holds the fastest time in the nation in the 55-meter dash, 60-meter dash, 100-meter dash and 200-meter dash. That’s the No. 1 time in the U.S. in four different sprinting events, some truly awe-inspiring stuff.

He isn’t alone in the class, however.

Shivers posted his personal-best 100-time last weekend with a sprint of 10.29 seconds. That’s the second-fastest 100-time of the spring track season.

Auburn fast, indeed.

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

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