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Meet Auburn’s Class of 2016

Michael Niziolek

mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

Meet Auburn's 2016 recruiting featuring a pair of 5-star defensive tackles and three of the nation's top 100 wide receivers.

* early enrollees

Woody Barrett

Pos: Quarterback

Hometown: Winter Garden, FL (West Orange)

You need to know: Barrett reminds his high school coach of a young Cam Newton. Auburn fans hope the comparison’s continue when the 6-foot-2, 230-pound dual threat quarterback this summer. West Orange’s offense averaged more than 36 points per game in the fall with Barrett throwing for 2,000-plus yards and 20 touchdowns and adding more than 1,400 yards and 23 touchdowns on the ground.

John Broussard*

Pos: Defensive back

Hometown: Phenix City, Ala. (Central)

You need to know: Decorated defensive back out of Central High School was a lockdown corner for the team on its run to the Class 7A state semifinals. One of the top Alabama prospects was only had six pass breakups and one interception but only because opposing teams avoided challenging the defensive back at all costs.

Derrick Brown

Pos: Defensive line

Hometown: Surger Hill, GA (Lanier)

You need to know: Monster numbers — 106 tackles, 42 for a loss and 12 sacks — helped the senior capture U.S. Army All-American Bowl defensive player of the year honors. Brown was the top rated recruit in the state of Georgia and the final 5-star prospect to announce his commitment. Brown was the fifth defensive lineman to join Auburn’s 2016 class, but he might be the most important.

Marlon Character

Pos: Defensive back

Hometown: Atlanta, GA (Grady)

You need to know: Former Auburn coaches now at South Carolina charged hard at Character, but the defensive back stayed loyal to the Tigers. Coach Gus Malzahn sees Character’s size and ball skills translating well to the Division 1 level.

Nick Coe

Pos: Defensive line

Hometown: Asheboro, NC (Asheboro)

You need to know: Coe walked through the doors at Asheboro at 6-foot-3 and right onto the football field. The talented pass rusher dealt with injuries his senior season, but was a game-changer every time he lined up. Coe’s background as a state champion wrestler helped shape him into one of the most talented pass rushers in North Carolina.

Nate Craig-Myers

Pos: Wide receiver

Hometown: Dade City, FL (Tampa Catholic)

You need to know: Auburn’s most significant ‘get’ on national signing day picking the Tigers over the University of North Carolina. The Florida native gives the Tigers two of the top 10 receivers in the country.  As a senior, Craig-Myers caught 63 passes for 1,018 yards with 16 touchdowns.

Marlon Davidson*

Pos: Defensive line

Hometown: Greenville, Ala. (Greenville)

You need to know: The Auburn legacy spurned advances from Alabama and many other power five schools to follow in his brother Ken Carter’s footsteps. Carter was a defensive lineman with Auburn from 2010-13. Coach Gus Malzahn called the early enrollee an “impact player” every chance het got on Wednesday.

Kyle Davis *

Pos: Wide receiver

Hometown: Loganville, GA (Archer)

You need to know: The highly rated prospect was at one time the top rated receiver in the country. He finished his high school career one yard shy of 1,500 yards and scored 18 touchdowns. Malzahn said Davis will get a shot at competing for a spot in the rotation this fall.

John Franklin III*

Pos: Quarterback

Hometown: Ft. Lauderdale, Fl (East Mississippi CC)

You need to know: Junior college transfer expected to compete this spring for the starting quarterback spot. As a freshman at Florida State, Franklin played the Nick Marshall role on the Seminoles’ scout team during bowl practices leading up to the 2014 BCS National Championship. He now hopes to follow fellow JUCO transfer Marshall’s path of success under coach Malzahn.

Brodarious Hamm

Pos: Offensive line

Hometown: Griffin, GA (Spalding)

You need to know: Hamm was the first player to fax in his letter of intent Wednesday. The offensive lineman is a physically imposing presence at 6-foot-5, 300-plus pounds. Spalding coach Nick Davis believes Auburn landed an under-rated prospect in Hamm, who he said will excel in coach Malzahn’s offense.

Antwuan Jackson*

Pos: Defensive line

Hometown: Ellenwood, GA (Cedar Grove)

You need to know: Antwuan Jackson rarely left the field in his four years at Cedar Grove. The two-way starter dominated on both sides of the ball and helped his team reach the semifinals this past season with more than 50 tackles for a loss and 10.5 sacks. Coach Jermaine Smith sees Jackson locking up a spot in Auburn’s rotation up front this fall.

Paul James III*

Pos: Defensive line

Hometown: Miami, Fl (Copiah-Lincoln CC)

You need to know: The lone junior college transfer on the defensive side of the ball flourished as a starter at Copiah-Lincoln. He was an NJCAA First Team All-American ranking fifth in the country with 14 sacks.

Tashawn Manning

Pos: Defensive line

Hometown: Apopka, FL (Wekiva)

You need to know: Manning signed a letter of intent despite going through a battle with cancer. Auburn intends to honor the agreement when Manning is physically able to play. Malzahn called it a “Shon Coleman story” in the making, referring to the Tigers’ former offensive lineman’s own battle with the disease.

Marquis McClain

Pos: Wide receiver

Hometown: Crestview, FL (Crestview)

You need to know: McClain jumped on Auburn’s radar when he performed well at one of the team’s summer camps. His lower rating shouldn’t give Tigers’ fans any cause for concern. Coach Gus Malzahn said each receiver in the class was handpicked years ago.

Malik Miller *

Pos: Running back

Hometown: Madison, Al. (Madison Academy)

You need to know: Miller rejoins his former high school teammate Kerryon Johnson in Auburn’s backfield. The two powered Madison Academy to back-to-back titles and could prove to be a devastating one-two punch. Miller injured his MCL during the season, but is “ready to roll” according to his high school coach Eric Cohu.

Jayvaughn Myers

Pos: Defensive back

Hometown: Dade City, FL (Pasco)

You need to know: Florida proved to be fertile recruiting grounds for Auburn. It landed Myers and his half-brother Nate from the sunshine state. New defensive backs coach Wesley McGriff is eager to see what the 6-foot-1, 185-pounder can do on the field.  

Landon Rice *

Pos: Tight end

Hometown: Rome, GA (Calhoun)

You need to know: Rice was the first verbal commit for Auburn’s Class of 2016 as a sophomore in high school back in November of 2013. The tight end never waivered in his decision and arrived on campus as one of nine early enrollees. Auburn’s coaching staff has told Rice he has an inside track to playing time thanks to his ability to block, line up out wide and in the backfield.

Prince Micheal Sammons

Pos: Offensive line

Hometown: Clarksville, OH (Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy)

You need to know: Sammons hasn’t been playing football for very long, but his size at 6-foot-8 makes him an intriguing prospect. Teams heavily recruited Sammons as a defensive player, but he decided to join Auburn as an offensive tackle.

Eli Stove

Pos: Wide receiver

Hometown: Niceville, FL (Niceville)

You need to know: A versatile receiver that Niceville used “all over the field.” Auburn held off a late charge from Florida and Miami to lock up the speedy wide out. Stove has the potential to be in the discussion on special teams as a returner as well.

Tre Threat*

Pos: Linebacker

Hometown: Geneva, Ala. (Spanish Fort)

You need to know: Threat arrives at Auburn with three state titles under his belt from his time as a starter at Spanish Fort. The talented defender has all the tools to be a contributor at a thin linebacker position.

Daniel Thomas

Pos: Defensive back

Hometown: Montgomery, Al (Robert E. Lee)

You need to know: Thomas didn’t receive an offer from Auburn until Wednesday morning, but didn’t need much time in deciding he wanted to stay home. Thomas had strong numbers with 87 tackles, seven interceptions and three punt return touchdowns last year.

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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