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CFB Recruiting

5-star Calvin Ashley’s commitment is a big-deal for Auburn

Photo Credit: 247Sports

Auburn commit Calvin Ashley is a big-time recruit, and he’s bringing some big-time expectations to the Plains with him once he joins up with the Tigers. Ashley is Auburn’s top-rated 2017 recruit.

In fact, he’s one of the highest-rated recruits in the nation. According to the industry generated 247Sports Composite, he’s the No. 5 offensive tackle nationally and one of the top recruits from the state of Florida.

Florida is among the top states in the nation when it comes to producing elite recruiting talent on a yearly basis. Need proof? Just look at the rankings. Ashley is one of six five-star recruits from the sunshine state, joining linebacker Dylan Moses (uncommitted), offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood (Alabama), wide receiver Trevon Grimes (Ohio State), cornerback Shaun Wade (Ohio State) and cornerback Stanford Samuels (Florida State).

Not only do some of the top recruits in the country hail from Florida every year, but many of the top programs in the country find themselves recruiting in the state on a regular basis.

That makes Auburn’s foray into Florida impressive, but the state has been good to the Tigers on more than one occasion this recruiting cycle. Ashley is one of three state of Florida recruits currently verbally committed to play for Gus Malzahn. He joins four-star guard Nick Brahms from Navarre, Fla. (Navarre) and four-star running back Devan Barrett from Tampa, Fla. (Tampa Catholic)

Ashley, who’s from Orlando, Fla. (St. John’s College HS), is without a doubt the headliner of the group, though. Nationally speaking, he’s ranked as the No. 25 overall recruit in America. The 247Sports-only rankings are even higher on him, ranking him No. 22 overall.

Ashley committed to Auburn back on May 30, 2015, at the time becoming the Tigers’ first 2017 commitment — helping Malzahn start off the class right. He was a huge commitment then and he still is a big commitment Auburn needs to work on keeping connected now. Just about every major college football school in the country is after him, and he hasn’t stopped taking visits since his pledge to Auburn.

Still, when he did commit, he made it seem as if the pressure to decide was off — and he was clearly excited about the Tigers.

“It’s so much relief that I can now stick to one school and be very happy,” Ashley told Keith Niebuhr of 247Sports back in late May. ”

“The whole school, they treat you like family,” he said when asked why he picked the Tigers.With 20 offers to his name, Ashley’s lofty rankings certainly match up with his offer list. Schools such as Florida State and Florida were apparently players in his recruitment, and he boasts other offers from the likes of Alabama, Clemson, Louisville, Miami, Michigan, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Texas and USC as well. Perhaps that’s what makes his recruitment so interesting.

Read through Ashley’s 247Sports profile and you’ll notice multiple VIP reports stating that other big-time programs are still coming after the five-star despite his commitment to Auburn. That’s not a surprise, because it happens all the time on the recruiting trail, but what may be a bit concerning to the Tigers is that the offensive tackle hasn’t been shy about checking other schools out, either. Since committing to Auburn, he’s taken visits to Florida three times, Florida State twice and Maryland twice. With that said, he has visited Auburn five times since his commitment, so maybe it’s just a case of no harm no foul for the Tigers.

 

Either way, it’s imperative for Malzahn and his staff to hold on to Ashley’s commitment all the way until national signing day 2017. That’s still months away at this point.

Ashley is 6-foot-8 and 330 pounds, according to his HUDL account, which is absolutely elite as far as measurables are concerned. He has the size of a NFL lineman right now, let alone a high school senior.

For comparison’s sake, consider this: Cleveland Browns star tackle Joe Thomas is 6-foot-6 and 312 pounds. Alabama star offensive tackle Cam Robinson is 6-foot-6 and 327 pounds.

So while Ashley does have more weight, he is two inches taller than both players — which evenly distributes it.

He’s built like a house on film, though his game isn’t 100-percent predicated on size. Ashley has good footwork, plays with great leverage for such a tall player and he comes across as relatively athletic for his size. Of course, he can still fire off the ball and blow a defender off the line and halfway across the field, so at first glance his five-star tag seems well deserved.

If he sticks around with Auburn, he’s going to be a star lineman for the Tigers.

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