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Monday, December 31, 2018

Looking Ahead

photo from Google archives

As I am writing this, I find myself looking into the future with both anxiety, and hope. Flushing with confidence that next season will be much better ( just like every other off-season). Yet, worried about which coaches will be poached by other teams, which players will declare early for the NFL Draft, recruiting and all of the unknowns associated with this time of year.

My confidence level is high that Jamel Dean isn't the only underclassmen declaring to enter the NFL Draft. I would expect Derrick Brown to declare his intentions soon. Who else might follow?

The early signing period went as well, maybe better, than most expected. I will restate my displeasure for the recruiting services, and their "star ratings."  Since it is the only metric we fans have to go by, I am left with that as a tool to use as a measuring stick, if you will.

By this metric, Auburn pulled off a Top 5 recruiting miracle amid a treacherous storm of  innuendo, and rumor about possible coaching changes that included Gus Malzahn possibly being fired. 

2019 Recruiting Rankings Top 10 (per player rating average 247comp.)

1. Bama (94.04) 2. UGA (93.71) 3. Ohio St (92.16) 4. Penn St (92.12) 5. Auburn (91.90) 6. LSU (91.39) 7. Oklahoma (91.13) 8. Texas A&M (91.09) 9. Oregon (90.97) 10. Texas (90.90)

Thanks to Skye Underwood for the chart. If you follow us on Twitter, please add Skye to your follow list. 

The second signing period should be a fun one to watch. Coach Malzahn is confident the massive blowout of Purdue will help strengthen that part of the recruiting cycle. 

I have rewatched the second half of the Bowl game trying to get a feel of  two players who will be closely watched this spring, and heading into next season. Malik Willis, and Joey Gatewood will be under a magnifying glass, and scrutinized in every way possible by fans, and media alike. None of that will compare to the test they will be put through by the coaches. 

Add Cord Sandberg, and freshly signed Bo Nix to the mix, and any one of them could be named the starter by the end of fall camp. In a perfect world, Nix would be redshirted, and given time to develop his body for the rigors of SEC play. 

Jatarvious "Boobee" Whitlow has the edge at being the starting tailback next season. Shaun Shivers delivered an impressive Freshman season as well, and looks to be in the rotation next season.

Barring a massive change defensively, the Tigers should enter next season with a chance at another very good defense. I'll explore that aspect of our team in another post. 

Here's hoping all of our players remain healthy, and safe during the next year.

War Eagle!

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