The Auburn signing day blog

rblack@ledger-enquirer.comFebruary 5, 2014 

(2:26 p.m. ET) — Auburn ends the day with a 67 percent (2 of 3) conversion rate snagging uncommitted targets, getting both Braden Smith and Andrew Williams but missing out on Rashaan Evans.

Williams was the last of the trio to make his announcement. Auburn was neck-and-neck with Clemson for almost the duration of his recruitment, and in the end, the four-star defensive end decided to cast his lot with Plainsmen. After spending the weekend with new Georgia defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt as well as coach Mark Richt, the Bulldogs were a late entrant to the Williams sweepstakes.

But in a short ceremony at Eagles Landing Christian Academy in McDonough, Ga., Williams decided his longstanding relationship with Auburn was what took precedence.

"Everything was right," he said when asked why he picked the Tigers.

(12:25 p.m. ET) — Make that 1-for-2.

Auburn High School's Rashaan Evans spurned his hometown school in favor of its arch-rival, Alabama. The five-star linebacker prospect chose the Crimson Tide over the Tigers and his other finalist, UCLA.

"I had to pick the best decision for me," he said during a press conference at Auburn High that was broadcast on ESPNU. "With that being said ... I will be attending the University of Alabama."

While the Tigers missed out on Evans, they didn't stay down long, as they received Markell Boston's letter-of-intent. Boston was the final player committed to the Tigers entering Wednesday to fax his signature.

The three-star safety from East Coweta (Ga.) High School originally committed to East Carolina before flipping to Auburn on Monday.

Auburn now awaits the decision of its final remaining target: Andrew Williams of Eagles Landing Christian Academy in McDonough, Ga. The four-star defensive end will make his announcement just after 2 p.m. ET, picking between Auburn, Clemson and Georgia.

(11:32 a.m. ET) — Auburn is 1-for-1 on its top targets today.

Braden Smith, the nation's top uncommitted offensive line prospect, announced on ESPNU that he would play for the Tigers. Though he played guard during his time at Olathe (Kan.) High School, Auburn will reportedly move him to tackle.

Smith's announcement came mere moments after linebacker Deshaun Davis finally sent over his letter-of-intent. Davis had to sit out his senior season at Vigor High School in Prichard, Ala., to recuperate from an ACL injury. He and Justin Thornton are both Vigor High School products.

(11:15 a.m. ET) — We're still 30 minutes away from Rashaan Evans' announcement, but there is one interesting thing to note beforehand: Auburn signees Jakell Mitchell and Stephen Roberts (both of Opelika High School) are in attendance.

Could that be an indicator of which way Evans is leaning?

We'll see.

(10:10 a.m. ET) — Make it back-to-back five-star commitments for Auburn.

Approximately half an hour after Tre Williams came on board, Oxford (Ala.) running back Racean Thomas faxed over his letter, making him signee No. 13. Regardless of whether Alabama's Mr. Football wins the starting running back job, it is expected that he'll see significant carries this fall.

About 10 minutes after 10 a.m., Dontavius Russell joined the fray. A four-star defensive tackle out of Carrollton, Ga., his uncle played at Auburn alongside defensive line coach Rodney Garner in the 1980s.

(9:25 a.m. ET) — Auburn's 2014 class has officially reached a dozen signees.

At 9:19 a.m., Peachtree Ridge (Ga.) receiver Myron Burton sent his signature over; however, he "scooped" himself by tweeting that he faxed it before Auburn confirmed it had been received.

Minutes later, Malzahn tweeted out his first "BOOM!" of the day once the Tigers got word that Tre Williams was officially on board. And it's easy to see why Auburn's coach was so excited: Williams is a consensus five-star prospect at linebacker.

He collected 119 tackles, sack, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery this past season at St. Paul's Episcopal School in Mobile, Ala.

(9:05 a.m. ET) — The Georgia Military College-to-Auburn defensive linemen pipeline is complete. Defensive tackle Devaroe Lawrence faxed in his letter-of-intent just after 9 a.m., joining teammate DaVonte Lambert.

Lawrence is the Tigers' 10th signee of the morning.

(8:55 a.m. ET)Stephen Roberts and Jakell Mitchell didn't waste any time getting their faxes sent over to Auburn's athletic complex. The teammates at nearby Opelika High School became signees No. 8 and 9, respectively.

Roberts is a four-star defensive back who will compete for one of Auburn's starting safety jobs following the graduation of seniors Ryan Smith and Ryan White.

Mitchell, on the other hand, is still recovering from an ACL injury that wiped out his entire senior season. The tight end is versatile weapon when healthy, as he combined for almost 800 yards rushing and receiving as a junior in 2012.

(8:37 a.m. ET) — Commit No. 6 is in — and as Gus Malzahn noted in his celebratory tweet, it's the first player from the state of Alabama. Justin Thornton, a consensus four-star defensive end from Vigor High School in Prichard, Ala., is the third player at his position to officially fax over his letter-of-intent.

His teammate at Vigor, linebacker Deshaun Davis, is set to send his own fax to the Tigers later today.

(8:16 a.m. ET) — It was almost 30 minutes between faxes, but once again, when they arrive, they seem to come in bunches.

At 8:09, Georgia Military College defensive lineman DaVonte Lambert officially became a member of the Tigers. He originally committed back on junior college signing day in December, but he won't arrive on campus until later this year.

A few minutes later, Nick Ruffin sent in his fax. The four-star defensive back from St. Pius X should be able to come in and compete for a starting job immediately.

(7:46 a.m. ET) — Auburn's only signal-caller committed for the 2014 class has officially become a Tiger. At exactly 7:45 a.m. ET, Gus Malzahn tweeted that quarterback Sean White had faxed over his letter-of-intent.

White plays for the University School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where he completed 63.6 percent of his passes (138-for-217) for 2,239 yards and 29 touchdowns last fall.

(7:40 a.m. ET) — Within five minutes of each other, Auburn received its first two faxes of the day. The first came from Camden County (Ga.) cornerback Kalvaraz Bessent at 7:34 a.m.

Four minutes later, Raashed Kennion sent in his letter-of-intent. Kennion is considered a three-star defensive end prospect by Rivals, Scout and 247Sports.

AUBURN, Ala.(7:30 a.m. ET) Greetings from the Auburn athletic complex. As you should probably know by now, it's national signing day. Entering this morning, the Tigers have one of the top 10 classes in the country according to all three major recruiting services. (For those wondering: 247Sports has it at No. 7 while Rivals and Scout have it at No. 9.)

Considering that the Tigers are in the running for three of the top uncommitted players in the country (linebacker Rashaan Evans, offensive lineman Braden Smith and defensive end Andrew Williams), they could make a run for the top five before the day is done.

So please join me as I provide updates throughout the rest of day. It should be quite a ride.

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