Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Auburn Tigers football recruiting notebook with Auburn recruiting beat writer Benjamin Wolk. It’s Monday, and we set the stage for Asa Martin Week. Also, check out a strong relationship between two key Auburn targets.
Decision week for state’s No. 1 RB
By the end of the week, the No. 1 running back in the state will choose either Alabama or Auburn.
Asa Martin has a Thursday decision date set at his high school. It has been set for quite some time as Martin narrows in on his selection from the choices of Alabama, Auburn, Florida and Clemson. As I’ve written before, while the latter two will have hats on the table, so to speak, it will come down to an Iron Bowl battle.
— Asa (@TheAsaMartin_) August 20, 2017
I once viewed Florida as a legitimate threat. The Gators were the first of the four to offer. Earlier this summer, Martin told SEC Country he’d only felt ready to commit to a school one other time. That’s when he was on an unofficial visit to Gainesville, Fla. His strongest coaching relationship was with Gators running backs coach JuJuan Seider.
But when Florida took Dameon Pierce‘s commitment earlier in the month, it was a sign of where the Gators — now with two running backs committed — stood with Martin.
As for Clemson, the Tigers likely offered too late to become a major factor. Martin himself hasn’t publicly ruled out any of the four, but Clemson’s staff doesn’t have a long-standing relationship with the No. 1 running back in Alabama, which is the main reason why I believe it’ll come down to Auburn or Alabama. Those two programs both feel like they’re in solid position with Martin.
Alabama has been the perceived public leader since the Crimson Tide offered, and most of the Crystal Ball projections favor Martin heading to Tuscaloosa.
But there is a level of confidence at Auburn that has grown over the last couple weeks. Much of that stems from Martin’s most recent trip to the Plains. He left the Alabama cookout after spending the day there and arrived in Auburn a day before its cookout. He stayed for the cookout and spent the night yet again to make it a three-day experience.
Martin has several strong friendships with Auburn players and commits. While he wasn’t in my projection last week, this one will come down to the wire. I believe this could go either way. SEC Country will keep you posted on developments throughout the week.
Strong relationship between two defensive targets
He kept going back to the same name, however: Channing Tindall.
Tindall and Jibunor have been on a few visits together. They’ve also participated in camps, including The Opening regional in Atlanta and the Rivals 5-star Challenge in Indianapolis. Package deals aren’t always feasible, and they may not be in this case either, but it’s clear that the defensive duo has spoken to one another about joining forces in college.
Tindall matched Jibunor’s sentiment.
“I felt like, on these recruiting trips and camps, I’ve really bonded with Richard Jibunor,” Tindall told SEC Country’s Hale McGranahan. “We partnered up for that first time [at The Opening in Atlanta]. We just kept on working with each other, working with each other and we kept in touch. We’ve been to almost every single other camp, besides The Opening.”
Here’s how Tindall describes Jibunor.
“Very aggressive. He’s fast, like agile, everything,” Tindall said. “Other linebackers, we work well, but with him, we’ve got a better connection. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s just there.”
Like Jibunor, Tindall has one more visit he needs to take before he commits, which will come next month. Tindall wants to join Jibunor on a trip to Gainesville to check out the Gators. Each has a growing interest in Florida, which will be something to track.
Still, I expect Jibunor to end up at Auburn or Tennessee unless Florida blows him away. Similarly with Tindall, it’s tough to see Tindall choosing anywhere other than South Carolina, but Florida could be a threat.
Georgia and South Carolina also likely will receive one more visit from Tindall, he told McGranahan. Tindall didn’t mention another Auburn visit, but if he does, the Tigers would be wise to get him on campus with Jibunor.
Miss a previous Auburn recruiting notebook? Find every daily recap of Auburn Tigers recruiting right here.
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