Auburn's 2012 class has been a disappointment, but can National Signing Day save the day?
-by Braden Gall (@BradenGall on twitter)
The Auburn Tigers won the 2011 BCS National Championship. But you wouldn't be able to tell it from looking at the team recruiting rankings.
Rivals.com and Scout.com has the Tigers ranked No. 20 in the nation and 247Sports has Auburn ranked 21st in the nation. That is nothing to sneeze at and provides enough talent to any roster to compete for conference championships.
Yet, those rankings put the Tigers in the bottom third of the SEC. Eighth to be exact.
Certainly, having to replace two coordinators for the first time in years hasn't helped Gene Chizik maintain his astounding recruiting momentum from recent years. But with Scot Loeffler and Brian VanGorder, he has put together a fantastic new staff and could close the 2012 class with a flourish on National Signing Day.
Will Auburn land most of the names listed below? Probably not. But the Tigers need to pull a couple of upsets in order salvage a top-20 class — and keep up with that other in-state SEC school that currently owns the recruiting trail.
Here are the Athlon Consensus 100 targets Auburn has left on its board:
5. Stefon Diggs, ATH (6-0, 185)
Olney (Md.) Good Counsel
Announcement: Friday, Feb. 10
Diggs will not sign on Wednesday so don't hold your breath. He has a scheduled visit to Maryland coming in the near future and is slated to announce two Fridays from today on the 10th. The Florida Gators have long been the favorite but Ohio State has made a late push for the do-everything dynamo. Urban Meyer has promised to use the talented Diggs much like he did Percy Harvin. Randy Edsall and Mike Locklsey will make a strong push for the local product during the visit but it appears to be a rematch of the 2006 BCS title game for Diggs. Auburn is a heavy long-shot in the race for Diggs, but his inability to make up his mind only helps the upset cause. Prediction: Florida
9. Eddie Goldman, DT (6-4, 305)
Washington (D.C.) Friendship Collegiate
Announcement: NSD 10:05 a.m. ET
The star defensive tackle has taken four visits thus far to Alabama, Auburn, Florida State and Miami. It has appeared to be a two-team race between the Crimson Tide and Seminoles but Auburn has made a strong push. The Seminoles are still the top team to beat for his services as almost all experts are in agreement that Goldman will pick FSU on NSD. Auburn's class has to be consider a slight disappointment, so you can bet Gene Chizik's staff is working the phones hard for Mr. Goldman. Prediction: Florida State
34. Ronald Darby, DB (5-11, 175)
Oxon Hill (Md.) Potomac
Announcement: NSD 2:30 p.m. ET
The longtime Notre Dame commitment reopened his recruitment and has Arizona, Auburn, Clemson, Florida State, Maryland, Notre Dame listed as his finalists. Of those final choices, Darby visited Clemson, Maryland, Florida State and Auburn. Look for Auburn and Florida State to battle it out for this talented speedster's athletic ability. Prediction: Florida State
53. Avery Young, OL (6-5, 275)
Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) Palm Beach
Announcement: NSD at 2:00 p.m. ET
Young has trimmed his list to four: Auburn, Georgia, Florida and Miami. His mother is from Georgia and he will be announcing on TV in Atlanta on Signing Day. With Georgia and Auburn listed as his final two choices, his announcement time and location could this be a positive omen for Mark Richt and the Dawgs? Or will the new coordinator and sheer desire of the Auburn staff win out? Prediction: Auburn
68. Leonard Williams, DE (6-5, 255)
Daytona Beach (Fla.) Mainland
Announcement: NSD, TBD
Florida, USC, Auburn and Florida State will be the four teams holding their breath for Mr. Williams come NSD. He has visited all four but USC and Florida look like the two teams to beat. Lane Kiffin is all but assured of pulling at least one or two upsets and landing Williams could be considered one of them (Agholor would be the other). Where Kyle Murphy ends up could impact Williams decision. Prediction: USC
82. Kwon Alexander, LB (6-2, 210)
Oxford (Ala.) High
Announcement: NSD 11:05 a.m. ET
Alexander is down to three schools and the BCS Championship game could have played a large role in helping him to decide. The talented tackler has visited Auburn and LSU thus far but has interestingly enough not visited Alabama. He is currently rehabbing from a knee injury he suffered back in October and Auburn never backed down — and has new DC and strong recruiter Brian VanGorder working hard to land him. Prediction: Auburn
88. Jordan Diamond, OL (6-6, 290)
Chicago (Ill.) Simeon
Announcement: Feb. 3 at 8 p.m. ET
Diamond has tripped to all of his five finalists: Arkansas, Auburn, Michigan, Ohio State, Wisconsin. He has decided to postpone his decision to just beyond National Signing Day and will make his final call on Friday at 8 p.m. The Badgers got the all-important final visit and may be in the lead after losing a few offensive line prospects of late. Prediction: Michigan
Other Nationally Rated Names to Watch:
Alex Kozan, OL (6-4, 295)
Castle Rock (Colo.) Valor Christian
Finalists: Auburn, Iowa, Michigan
Cordarrelle Patterson, WR (6-4, 205)
Hutchinson (Kan.) C.C.
Finalists: Auburn, Georgia, LSU, Ole Miss, Tennessee
Ricardo Louis, WR (6-2, 190)
Miami Beach (Fla.) High
Finalists: Auburn, Florida State