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National signing day surprise as Auburn reels in 5-star DL Derrick Brown

Michael Niziolek

mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

Lanier senior Derrick Brown receives his jersey for the Army All-American Bowl game. (Courtesy of Army All-American Bowl)
Lanier senior Derrick Brown receives his jersey for the Army All-American Bowl game. (Courtesy of Army All-American Bowl)

Auburn took a major step forward in establishing a dominant defensive front on national signing day.

The Tigers closed out national signing day by adding 5-star defensive lineman Derrick Brown to its Class of 2016.

Despite losing defensive coordinator Will Muschamp in the offseason, Auburn managed to land two 5-star recruits on the line with Brown joining Marlon Davidson, 4-star linemen Antwuan Jackson and Nick Coe as well as junior college transfer Paul James III.

Signee Tashawn Manning is also a defensive lineman, but he will sit out 2016 as he recovers from battling Leukemia.

Brown picked Auburn over heavy competition from four other SEC schools. The 6-foot-3, 315-pound tackle had Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi State in his final five.

The Lanier senior’s final official visit was to Knoxville the weekend before signing day.

Brown announced his decision on ESPN2, he was the final 5-star player in the country to decide.

"My relationship I developed with the coaching staff is excellent," Brown said. "In just sitting around talking to my parents last night I realized it was the place for me."

Brown point to his bond with coach Gus Malzahn and defensive line coach Rodney Garner as the driving factors in his decision.

He admitted he didn't know Auburn's new defensive cordinator Kevin Steele, but is excited to learn more about what he has planned for the defense. 

The addition of Brown to Auburn’s 2016 class could be enough to push the Tigers into the top 10 nationally. 

"For the next three to four years its' going to be great to watch Auburn football," Brown said.

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Michael Niziolek covers Auburn football for the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. Email him at mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com or follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+

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