Meet Auburn football's (early) 2021 recruiting class
Auburn does not have a permanent head coach after Gus Malzahn was fired Sunday. But the early signing period waits for no program.
And by all accounts, the Tigers handled things well under interim coach Kevin Steele on Wednesday.
They signed 12 players, including two who committed on signing day despite not knowing which head coach they would play for. Steele said a 13th will join them Friday. And Auburn lost only one player to a decommitment, though three others did decide to hold off on signing until February.
UPDATE: Oklahoma transfer tight end Grant Calcaterra, who signed in December, decided not to play for Auburn and has transferred to SMU instead.
That class ranked 40th nationally (and 12th in the SEC) at the time, per the 247Sports Composite, but jumped to 19th (seventh) if you sort it by average player rating.
Meet Auburn's (early) 2021 recruiting class:
QB Dematrius Davis (6-0, 195)
North Shore (Houston)
247Sports composite: 4-star, No. 8 dual-threat QB
Commit date: May 17
Twitter handle: @Dematrius09
The final word: He's not the highest-rated player in the class, but he's arguably the most important. A proven winner at the quarterback position – 42-1 over his past three seasons as a starter with two Class 6A state titles in Texas – who has put up video-game numbers, completing 72.6% of his passes for 2,453 yards and 30 touchdowns (to one interception) to go along with 570 rushing yards and 14 more scores so far this season. Has the talent to immediately threaten Bo Nix's starting job.
CB A.D. Diamond (5-11, 170)
247Sports composite: 3-star, No. 114
Commit date: Dec. 16
Twitter handle: @ad_diamond
The final word: Diamond was committed to Louisiana Tech until recently but was reportedly one of the star performers of last week's Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game in Montgomery. He is high school teammates with Auburn's top-rated signee, Lee Hunter. Played cornerback, wide receiver and returned punts for Blount, totaling 25 tackles, 21 pass breakups and seven interceptions and 38 catches for 759 yards and six touchdowns. Auburn has had a ton of recent history turning three-star defensive back recruits into key contributors in the secondary – Roger McCreary, Nehemiah Pritchett, Daniel Thomas and Jeremiah Dinson, among others – and Diamond could be next.
CB Kamal Hadden (6-1, 185)
Independence (Mich.) Community College
247Sports composite: 3-star, No. 5 JUCO cornerback
Commit date: Aug. 17
Twitter handle: @KamalHadden9
The final word: Lanky, physical cornerback who flashed playmaking ability during his freshman season, totaling 21 tackles, one tackle for loss, three forced fumbles, one interception and eight pass breakups. Marks the second straight year Auburn has signed a player from Independence (defensive lineman Dre Butler) and second straight year it has added a junior college cornerback (Marco Domio). He would be just the fourth letterman in program history from Michigan.
S Ahmari Harvey (6-0, 175)
247Sports composite: 4-star, No. 14 safety
Commit date: Aug. 21, 2020
Twitter handle: @Ahmari_saucy
The final word: Undersized, but tremendous athlete (he also competed in the long jump in high school) who totaled 94 tackles, six tackles for loss, one sack, six interceptions (three of which were returned for touchdowns), 10 pass breakups, four forced fumbles and a fumble recovery as a junior. Auburn could use the depth at safety with senior Jordyn Peters' career likely over and starters Jamien Sherwood and Smoke Monday potentially not far behind him.
DT Lee Hunter (6-5, 300)
247Sports composite: 4-star, No. 6 defensive tackle
Commit date: Dec. 3, 2019
Twitter handle: @The_Fridge7
The final word: There was some worry that his commitment could waver after Malzahn was fired, so this signing is huge. Top-rated player in the class an top-100 recruit in the country. Playmaking defensive tackle who is athletic enough to play all across the line and even as a tight end on the other side of the ball. Has drawn comparisons to Montravius Adams, a former standout playing for Rodney Garner at Auburn. Hunter finished his senior season with 54 tackles, 20 tackles for loss and 4 1/2 sacks and could challenge for playing time immediately given that Auburn may lose two seniors (Daquan Newkirk and Tyrone Truesdell) at tackle next year.
TE Landen King (6-5, 220)
Atascocita (Beaumont, Texas)
247Sports composite: 3-star, No. 27 tight end
Commit date: June 15
Twitter handle: @Landen_King3
The final word: Long and versatile athlete. Listed at tight end but also lined up in the backfield and split out wide. Caught 39 passes for 471 yards and five TDs as a senior. Continues Auburn's recent influx of talent at that position, joining rising senior John Samuel Shenker and sophomores Luke Deal, Brandon Frazier and J.J. Pegues.
OG Garner Langlo (6-7, 280)
Trinity Catholic (Ocala, Fla.)
247Sports composite: 3-star, No. 33 guard
Commit date: May 15
Twitter handle: @LangloGarner
The final word: Big, powerful interior offensive lineman who could be athletic enough to shift out to tackle if he can add a little more strength. Auburn may need him more at that position anyway. It has very few true tackles on the roster and none committed in this class after Langlo's high school teammate, Caleb Johnson, flipped to Notre Dame last month.
DL Ian Mathews (6-5, 270)
St. Anne-Pacelli Catholic (Columbus, Ga.)
247Sports composite: 3-star, No. 43 defensive tackle
Commit date: Dec. 16
Twitter handle: @Ian24Mathews
The final word: One of Auburn's two new additions during the early signing period, choosing the Tigers over Georgia Tech. He's got the size of a defensive tackle but may be athletic enough to play end, too – he also plays basketball for Pacelli. Totaled 61 tackles, 18½ tackles for loss, seven sacks, two pass breakups and two forced fumbles as a senior. Also caught eight passes for 150 yards and a touchdown, threw a 32-yard touchdown pass and served as the team's punter.
DE Tobechi Okoli (6-5, 255)
Lincoln (Mo.) College Prep
247Sports composite: 3-star, No. 33 strongside defensive end
Commit date: Aug. 1
Twitter handle: @OkoliTobechi
The final word: Okoli started playing organized football only a few years ago but has flashed some serious upside. He has all the size, strength and athleticism coaches look for in a defensive lineman. He recorded 41½ tackles, 18½ tackles for loss and seven sacks as a senior. What he lacks is some of the finer points of technique, but defensive line coach Rodney Garner is capable of teaching him what he needs to know. Once he learns that, he could develop into a stud.
WR Hal Presley (6-3, 197)
Summit (Mansfield, Texas)
247Sports composite: 3-star, No. 74 wide receiver
Commit date: Nov. 11
Twitter handle: @hal_presley
The final word: Presley has the size and speed to be a prototypical outside deep threat in Auburn's offense regardless of what it ends up looking like under the new coach. He had 755 receiving yards on 32 catches so far in his senior season, 13 of which have gone for touchdowns. He'll join a receiving corps that could potentially be losing some top end talent to graduation or the NFL Draft but has plenty of young prospects waiting behind them.
DT Marquis Robinson (6-4, 300)
247Sports composite: 4-star, No. 22 defensive tackle
Commit date: Aug. 2
Twitter handle: @koolkid_quisy
The final word: A classic space-eater and run-stuffer on the interior of the defensive line, cut from the same mold as Tyrone Truesdell and Dontavius Russell. Strong enough to take on double teams but also explosive enough to bring pressure and disrupt offenses up the middle. Totaled 39 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and three sacks as a senior.