With the SEC season less than three months away, here’s a look at the potential impact freshmen for each team. Recruiting rankings are based on the 247Sports Composite which calculates the average of all four major recruiting websites (247Sports, Rivals, ESPN and Scout.)
8-5 (4-4 SEC); 4th SEC West
2015 Team Ranking
National Rank No. 10
SEC Rank: No. 5
Top Incoming Prospects
- SDE Byron Cowart- 5-star,
- ATH Kerryon Johnson- 4-star, Madison Academy (Madison, AL), 6-0, 200 lb, No. 2 ATH, No. 42 overall
- SDE Prince Tega Wanogho Jr.- 4-star, Edgewood Academy (Elmore, AL), 6-8, 250 lb, No. 8 SDE, No. 110
- OLB Jeffery Holland- 4-star, Trinity Christian Academy (Jacksonville, FL), 6-2, 230 lb, No. 8 OLB, No. 116 overall
- WR Darius Slayton- 4-star, Greater Atlanta Christian School (Norcross, GA), 6-1, 182 lb, No. 15, No. 141 overall
Auburn finished with its second consecutive top-10 recruiting class. The Tigers’ biggest recruit was Cowart, a Florida native who developed strong ties with new defensive coordinator and former Gators Will Muschamp during his recruitment.
The five-star pass rusher narrowed his choices down to Auburn and Florida prior to Muschamp’s early dismissal. His decision was a huge win for the Tigers, who landed their lone five-star prospect in a talented 2015 class.
Auburn’s other prized pass rusher, Wanogho, is the only player yet to enroll. His recruitment was unique in that the Nigerian native only played one year of football and is still recovering from a broken left fibula and tibia.
Though he’s expected to redshirt, Wanogho will play a major role for Auburn in the future lining up alongside Cowart as one of the SEC’s top pass rush duos. He had enough raw talent to earn a four-star ranking and has a high ceiling for potential.
The Tigers also have a pair of top prospects at wide receiver. Slayton and Ryan Davis both enter as four-star prospects. With the departures of Sammie Coates and Quan Bray, Auburn has openings in Gus Malzahn’s uptempo offense. One, if not both prospects could see playing time as a true freshman alongside D’Haquille Williams and Ricardo Louis.
Auburn may also see a freshman in the vacant SAM linebacker spot next to Cassanova McKinzy. The Tigers auditioned inside linebackers Justin Garrett and Cameron Toney in spring practice, but freshman Jeff Holland is also in consideration according to linebackers coach Lance Thompson.
“At the SAM position, it’s really kind of up in the air,” Thompson told Al.com. “We’re going to really count on some of these young guys coming in. Jeff Holland, talk to him every day, he’s a guy we’re really excited about, we want to get him in here and give him an opportunity.”
Auburn is a strong contender for the SEC Championship with an improved defensive scheme and back-to-back top-10 recruiting classes. The Tigers class should see a long-term impact for a program that remains in the upper-tier of SEC teams.