Auburn's 2020 signing class wrapped up Wednesday afternoon, and the Tigers have brought in 26 newcomers.
The pomp of national signing day is reduced by the early signing period, where most of the commits sign, but 2020 NSD still yielded a few key pieces for Auburn's roster. Tight end Brandon Frazier, and junior college defensive linemen Dre Butler and Marquis Burks also came on board.
Here's how they, along with the rest of the class, could fit in next season.
Cartavious “Tank” Bigbsy, RB (4-star by Rivals and 247)
Even with one of the most crowded running back rooms in the country, expect the true freshman to be a factor in the offense. Bigbsy was an early enrollee, and before arriving on campus head coach Gus Malzahn called him a “one-play drive type of guy.”
While Bigbsy will deal with splitting carries his freshman year, he looks likely to be the future of the running back position at Auburn.
Zykeivous Walker, DE (4-star by Rivals and 247)
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Another early enrollee who will at least be a rotational player in Kevin Steele’s defense, Walker is a dominating presence off the edge and had 11 sacks his senior year of high school. Early in his career he may not be able to replicate the production of guys like Marlon Davidson, but as he continues to grow and develop don’t be surprised to see him surpassing the accomplishments of the players before him.
Kobe Hudson, WR (4-star by Rivals and 247)
Kobe Hudson is one of four new wide receivers Auburn brought in. Hudson is the highest rated of the bunch and is also an early enrollee unlike the others. The role of Hudson, and the three other wide receivers remains somewhat uncertain with so many veteran receivers on the roster.
Hudson and all the other receivers remain as options to redshirt, and expect one or two to end up redshirting, it just comes down to who impresses in practice leading up to the season.
Ladarius Tennison, DB (4-star by Rivals and 247)
After Auburn saw Noah Igbinoghene declare early for the NFL draft and Javaris Davis, Daniel Thomas and Jeremiah Dinson all graduate from the secondary, there’s a very good chance Tennison receives a lot of early playing time.
Tennison is already on campus and will be participating in spring practice, further bolstering his case to be a part of the starting rotation.
Chris Thompson Jr., DB (4-star by Rivals and 247)
Similar to Tennison, Chris Thompson Jr. is a defensive back that is already on campus and a guy who will have a chance to contribute right away. Thompson will play behind safeties Smoke Monday and Jamien Sherwood but that doesn’t mean he won’t receive playing time early.
Listed at 6-foot-2 and 199 pounds, Thompson’s big frame makes him a potential candidate to become a "money-backer," playing a mixture of outside linebacker and safety.
Wesley Steiner, LB (4-star by Rivals and 247)
Linebacker Wesley Steiner is the highest rated linebacker in the class and a candidate to break into the linebacker rotation. While Auburn returns K.J. Britt, Owen Pappoe, Zakoby McClain and Chandler Wooten, Steele loves to rotate players and Steiner will try and work his way into that rotation.
Steiner is not an early enrollee, which may hurt his chances of playing early, but that doesn’t mean he won’t work his way into the rotation.
Jay Hardy, DT (4-star by Rivals and 247)
The Tennessee native was a big target with the departure of Derrick Brown looming, and Jay Hardy will receive early playing time because of it.
Hardy may not be an instant starter as he’s not an early enrollee and Tyrone Truesdell and Jaren “Stone” Handy return to the team, but Hardy will see his fair share of playing time during his freshman season.
Ze’Vian Capers, WR (4-star by Rivals and 247)
While Hudson is the highest rated of the four, Ze’Vian Capers is the biggest target at 6-foot-4, 195 pounds.
If Capers sees the field his freshman year he could end up being a big red-zone threat for the Tigers.
Just like all four freshman wide receivers, Capers remains a possible redshirt depending on how practice plays out.
J.J. Evans, WR (4-star by Rivals and 247)
While J.J. Evans isn’t as big as some of his fellow wide receivers, Evans brings experienced route-running to the Tigers, something that could allow him to see the field early.
Evans is listed at 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds, which is plenty big for a wide receiver, just not quite the same as fellow freshman Capers and Elijah Canion.
Eric Reed Jr., S (4-star by Rivals and 247)
Just like Thompson, Eric Reed Jr. could come in and instantly receive a rotational safety role by Monday and Sherwood.
With some time to grow and develop, Reed and Thompson could become the future starting safety duo for Auburn.
Jeremiah Pegues, TE (4-star by Rivals and 247)
The 6-foot-3, 290-pound tight end might be one of the most intriguing signing of the entire class. Jeremiah Pegues can be dominant in the receiving game and blocking game, not to mention Malzahn already brought up the idea of using him at Wildcat quarterback, like he did in high school.
With the addition of offensive coordinator Chad Morris and his usage of tight ends, Pegues could see the field a lot his freshman season.
He’ll have to battle with John Samuel Shenker, Tyler Fromm and Luke Deal, who are already on the roster along with fellow signee Brandon Frazier, but Pegues will see the field one way or the other.
Marco Domio, DB (4-star by Rivals and 247)
The JUCO prospect out of Blinn College is a potential candidate to start immediately. With the losses in the secondary combined with the lack of depth at the position previously, Domio will compete with Devan Barrett and Nehemiah Pritchett for the second cornerback behind Roger McCreary.
Domio didn’t join Auburn as an early enrollee but his JUCO experience should help make up for that when he arrives in the summer.
Deandre Butler, DE (4-star by Rivals and 247)
Another JUCO player who can come into Auburn and make an immediate impact, Butler looks to fill a rotational defensive end role like Walker.
Just like Domio, Butler isn’t going to be in Auburn until the summer but his JUCO experience will help him.
Butler and fellow signee Walker will both be competing to play rotational snaps in the fall.
Desmond Tisdol, LB (3-star by Rivals and 4-star by 247)
Sometimes there’s only so many snaps to go around and that might be the case for some of the linebackers this season. Auburn returns four starters and brings in Steiner, Desmond Tisdol, Cameron Riley and Romello Height for the 2020 season.
While all players are talented enough to play, some are going to have to redshirt.
The only one already on campus is Height, and he’ll likely play buck linebacker, so Steiner, Tisdol and Riley will all arrive in the summer to fight for rotational snaps.
Cameron Riley, LB (3-star by Rivals and 4-star by 247)
As previously mentioned, there’s only so many snaps to go around for the linebackers. With four impact players returning, Riley may not see the field much his freshman year, but he could easily become a starter his second or third year at Auburn.
Riley does have a size advantage over his fellow signees, listed at 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds.
Romello Height, LB/DE (3-star by Rivals and 247)
Height made the surprise decision to flip from Miami on early signing day and opted to become an early enrollee.
With already being on campus and being thin at buck, Height will receive at least receive some rotational snaps at the position in the fall.
Killian Zierer, OT (3-star by Rivals and 247)
Coming from a JUCO in Germany, Killian Zierer will have to recover from an ACL injury before finding his way to the field.
If healthy, Zierer could push Austin Troxell or Brodarious Hamm for the starting job, but expect those two to keep it.
The coaches will likely stick with players that have been around awhile with knowledge of the system, while allowing Zierer to fully heal his torn ACL.
Avery Jernigan, C (3-star by Rivals and 247)
Avery Jernigan is getting moved to center by Auburn and will likely have to sit for two years behind Nick Brahms unless he moves back to guard.
Jernigan is a talented player and will be a contributor once players above him graduate.
Barring an injury, Jernigan should redshirt his freshman year.
Tate Johnson, OG (3-star by Rivals and 247)
Just like Jernigan, don’t expect to see Tate Johnson much during his freshman year. The guard is blocked by some talented upperclassmen ahead of him, but Johnson’s time will come.
Chayil Garnett, DUAL QB (3-star by Rivals and 247)
The dual-threat Chayil Garnett comes into Auburn as a raw prospect with a couple years to learn as Bo Nix and Cord Sandberg are ahead of him.
If Garnett can develop with Morris, similar to Tajh Boyd at Clemson, don’t count him out to replace Nix in a couple years.
For the time being, Garnett will redshirt his first year at Auburn and potentially play in mop-up duty against some of the lower ranked teams on Auburn’s schedule.
Brenden Coffey, OT (3-star by Rivals and 247)
Brenden Coffey is in a similar position to all the other offensive line signees. While talented, there’s players above him that’ll he’ll have to sit behind and learn from.
Like Zierer, Coffey is coming from a JUCO so he will have that experience already when he arrives at Auburn.
Daniel Foster-Allen, DE (3-star by Rivals and 247)
Daniel Foster-Allen is overshadowed by Walker and Butler, but don’t count him out to be an impactful player in the future for Auburn.
Like Butler, Foster-Allen will not participate in spring practice, but unlike Butler he doesn’t have JUCO experience.
Foster-Allen is a redshirt candidate for his freshman season, but he’ll get some playing time.
Elijah Canion, WR (3-star by Rivals and 247)
Back to the wide receiver room, where anything could happen. Canion is almost as big as Capers but possesses great speed.
Canion isn’t on campus yet, putting him behind Hudson but on par with Capers and Evans.
Jeremiah Wright, OG (3-star by Rivals and 247)
Listed at 6-foot-5 and 340 pounds, Wright profiles more as a tackle than a guard. However, he signed with Auburn as a guard.
Either way, Wright will redshirt his first year at Auburn with the players ahead of him.
Brandon Frazier, TE (3-star by Rivals and 4-star by 247)
Had Brandon Frazier not signed, Pegues might have been the most intriguing player Auburn brought in.
However, when a 6-foot-7, 250-pound tight end signs, it’s impossible to not imagine the possibilities.
Morris is known for consistently using tight ends and Frazier should at least see some red zone targets.
Marquis Burks, DT (3-star by Rivals and 247)
The final addition to the 2020 recruiting class is defensive tackle Marquis Burks, coming from a JUCO in Iowa.
Burks may not be the highest rated recruit, but defensive line coach Rodney Garner saw something in him and chose to bring him in.
With so much depth on the defensive line, Burks will mostly see rotational snaps before looking to secure a starting role in a year or two.
Evan McGuire, K/P (Preferred walk-on)
After Arryn Siposs chose to declare for the NFL draft, punter became an immediate need for Auburn.
Out of Alabaster, Evan McGuire was brought in as a preferred walk-on and could potentially fight for the starting punter position.
Sawyer Pate, PRO QB (Preferred walk-on)
Auburn brings in another Alabaster product in Sawyer Pate to provide much-needed depth in the quarterback room.
Pate will probably sit fourth on the depth chart but will have time to learn from Nix and Sandberg in the next few seasons.
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