Following a strong early signing period in December, the Auburn Tigers wrapped up their 2018 recruiting class with an additional nine recruits who signed on National Signing Day, bringing their total to 24 signees.
The Tigers landed five four-star recruits along with four three-stars. Throughout the recruiting cycle, coaches made a significant enough impact to land all eight of Auburn’s initial commitments. However, Gus Malzahn & Co. missed out on many other targets, signing only one non-commit.
“It was tougher this time than ever before to hold on to commitments,” Malzahn said in his press conference on Wednesday, “I think our staff did a great job with that.”
According to 247 Sports, Auburn currently ranks 12th with its 2018 recruiting class. This breaks Malzahn’s streak of five straight years of having a Top 10 recruiting class.
Auburn is currently ranked third in the SEC, behind Georgia and Alabama. The Tigers tied for third in the SEC for recruits landed, tied with Kentucky but behind Georgia and Missouri, who each had 26.
Having just wrapped up the 2018 recruiting cycle, Malzahn says he’s already focused on future recruiting classes.
“I would say right now early on tight end and offensive line as we go through this next class will definitely be our priorities,” Malzahn said.
Dates for next year’s signing days are unreleased, with the NCAA typically releasing the dates in the summer of the year’s recruiting cycle.
Auburn’s signees from National Signing Day are as follows:
Arryn Siposs: Former professional punter from Australia, Siposs attended the country’s Pro Kick program following his professional career. Siposs fills the punter role on special teams, which the Tigers struggled with this past season.
“He’s not just your average kicker,” Malzahn said, “he’s an athlete. He’s got a great leg, I think this guy’s gonna help us, I’m very excited about him.”
Matthew Hill: A four-star wideout from Georgia, Hill doesn’t have the biggest frame but he brings speed. With all of the Tiger’s top receiving targets from 2017 returning for next year, it’s possible Hill will redshirt or play mainly special teams.
“He’s a guy we’ve been recruiting for a long time,” Malzahn said. “We really feel like he’s one of the better just football players in all of the country. He’s a guy that can do it all”
Richard Jibunor: Having moved from Nigeria to America in 2014, Jibunor is still new to the game of football. Despite only playing for three years, he managed to become one of the nation’s top prospects, earning a four-star ranking as an edge rusher. With the Tigers already having lots of depth in the defensive side of the ball, it’s likely Jibunor will redshirt.
“When I think of [Jibunor] I think of speed,” Malzahn said, “I think of upside. He played offense, he played defense in high school. He can do a lot of different things.”
Harold Joiner: The four-star running back from Birmingham committed to Auburn last month, choosing Auburn over LSU. Joiner is one of three running back recruits for the Tigers, and with Kerryon Johnson and Kam Pettway declaring for NFL, there is a good chance all three backs compete for a starting role.
“He’s a guy that we really feel strong about,” Malzahn said, “a guy that can come out of the backfield and rush the field vertically, he can do a lot of different things with the ball in his hands.”
Roger McCreary: Formerly committed to South Alabama, McCreary joins Christian Tutt as the two cornerback recruits for 2018. However, they may find it difficult to find playing time, as many of the Tiger’s DB’s are returning for this season.
“He’s one of the fastest guys in our state,” Malzahn said, “we think his upside is very good.”
Anthony Schwartz: A four-star wide receiver from Florida, Schwarz posts an unbelievable time of 10.15 seconds on the 100 meter dash. A receiver of that speed will fit in well in Auburn’s offense, and Schwartz has a high chance of seeing the field early and often.
“The fastest guy in the country,” Malzahn said. “We really feel like this guy has a chance to be special.
Coynis Miller: A four-star recruit from Birmingham, Miller chose Auburn over instate rival Alabama. Miller has the tools to be a valuable player early, and possibly rotate in on Auburn’s formidable defensive line.
“He’s a guy that was a priority for us in this class,” Malzahn said, “he’s an incredible athlete.”
Caleb Johnson: Auburn’s lone non-commit recruit of the day, Johnson is a three-star defensive end, and an exceptional athlete, having played some wide receiver along with defensive end.
“He’s a guy that really stood out for us,” Malzahn said. “He’s a guy that played a lot of positions for his high school, really feel like he's going to give us a lot of flexibility to move him around.”
Kolbi Fuqua: A three-star athlete, Fuqua originally committed to the Tigers as a receiver, but plans to play safety once enrolled. Fuqua will find it hard to get on the field initially, but will bring talent once he fits into his role. Look for him to get more playing time in the 2019 season.
“We really feel like he can play both sides of the football,” Malzahn said. “He’s got great ball skills, we feel like he can do a lot of different things for us.