Auburn football recruiting notebook: RB Thomas continues to turn heads, flurry of official visits set for this weekend

rblack@ledger-enquirer.comJanuary 16, 2014 

Incoming freshman running back Racean Thomas will have an opportunity to win the starting job this fall. The same goes for fellow freshman Kamryn Pettway, according to offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee and running backs coach Tim Horton.

BILL WILSON — Anniston Star

AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn's winning ways this past season has carried over to its incoming freshman class.

Racean Thomas, a senior running back at Oxford (Ala.) High School, was named Alabama's Mr. Football on Wednesday, becoming the 32nd player to earn the award, which is voted on by the Alabama Sports Writers Association. An Auburn commit, Thomas is regarded as one of the top running backs in the country, earning five-star status from Rivals, Scout and 247Sports. In his final season as a Yellow Jacket, Thomas ran for 2,211 yards and 32 touchdowns.

He finished his career at Oxford with 6,169 rushing yards and 82 touchdowns.

It marks the second straight year Auburn has been able to get a commitment from the Mr. Football recipient, as quarterback Jeremy Johnson of Carver High School in Montgomery snagged the award last season. It's only the second time in history Auburn has signed the Mr. Football winner two years in a row, first done in 2000-01, with the commitments of Carnell Williams and Brandon Cox, respectively.

With Heisman Trophy finalist Tre Mason deciding to depart for the NFL, Thomas will have a better chance to get carries next fall as he battles returnees Corey Grant and Cameron Artis-Payne as well as fellow freshman Kamryn Pettway and Peyton Barber, who redshirted during the Tigers' run to the BCS championship game.

Thomas is set to be on campus for an official visit this weekend along with a handful of other prospects already committed to the Tigers. Another award winner in Auburn's sights is Rashaan Evans.

A local product who plays at Auburn High School, the linebacker was selected as Class 6A's Lineman of the Year after putting together a spectacular senior campaign. Evans collected 54 tackles (12 for loss), 17 sacks, 20 quarterback hurries and three forced fumbles as he helped the Tigers make the 6A state championship game, where they fell to Hoover 20-3.

Auburn is one of three schools still in the running for Evans, a consensus five-star prospect. He visited one of his finalists, UCLA, during the fall and take a visit to Alabama this weekend. Next weekend, he'll stay at home and visit with the Tigers.

Evans is going to take things down to the end, though, as he told AL.com he doesn't plan to announce where he'll go until national signing day on Feb. 5.

Tigers trying to flip Florida State commit

Auburn might not have been able to come out on top of the BCS title game on Jan. 6. That doesn't mean the same thing will happen on the recruiting trail.

According to Scout.com, Auburn is one of three schools Florida State commit Treon Harris plans to visit before signing day arrives.

Harris led Booker T. Washington High School in Miami to consecutive state championships as a quarterback, but is primarily being recruited as a cornerback. His athleticism would also translate to receiver if his future team wanted to go in that direction.

Harris' visit to Auburn on Jan. 24 is sandwiched between a trip to Florida this weekend and one to Miami the final weekend of the month.

Visits

Three players on hand for official visits on the Plains this weekend haven't pledged to play for the Tigers — not yet, anyway. The trio is headlined by Braden Smith, one of the top offensive lineman in the country.

A Kansas native, the Tigers are recruiting him as an offensive tackle, according to Scout.com.

The other two are four-star defensive ends.

One is Andrew Williams, who plays at Eagles Landing Christian Academy in McDonough. The other is LSU commit Davon Godchaux, a Louisiana native viewed as one of the state's top 10 players regardless of position.

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