When it comes to in-state recruiting for the 2013 class, Auburn is not taking a backseat to Alabama or any other school.
Liner is a disruptive d-lineman.
With the addition of athlete Jason Smith from McGill-Toolen in Mobile, Ala., Monday, the Tigers now have commitments from five of the 11 prospects ranked 4-stars or higher by 247Sports.
“Particularly with Alabama coming off the national championship and Nick Saban having that program on the level it is, it becomes that much more important to win some in-state battles and Auburn has done a fantastic job in this cycle of really getting some key in-state guys,” 247Sports national recruiting analyst Barton Simmons said.
“When you can get almost half of the 4-star guys in the Alabama as talented as that state is year in and year out, you’re doing something right and you really have the right emphasis and the right priorities.”
The Tigers also have commitments from the state’s No. 8 Smith, No. 9 4-star linebacker Cameron Toney from Huntsville High School, No. 10 4-star quarterback Jeremy Johnson from Carver in Montgomery, No. 11 4-star wide receiver Earnest Robinson from Pinson Valley High School and No. 16 3-star cornerback Kamryn Melton from Dothan High School.
And Auburn may not be done.
Two of Alabama’s five in-state commitments -- 5-star linebacker Reuben Foster from Auburn High School and 4-star tight end O.J. Howard from Autauga Academy in Prattville -- are still considering the Tigers and expected to continue visiting this summer and fall.
“To think that they’re been able to get half of the top players in the state and may be will be able to swing a couple more is a credit to what that staff has been able to do,” Simmons said. “It shows that as much as they’re recruiting nationally, they’re still very strong on the home base and have not slowed down within their own border.”
The commitment of Smith brought Auburn’s total commitments up to 15 and moved the Tigers up to No. 10 in the team recruiting rankings.
Simmons has scouted Smith in-person.
“Jason Smith is a kid we’ve known all along was one of the top players in the state,” he said. “With Jason, what you get is athleticism. He is a kid that is really exciting in space. He’s a kid that really accelerates well in pads, is creative with the ball in his hands and can find a way to make a big play out of nothing.”
Simmons said Smith’s versatility is one of his strong points.
“Auburn is recruiting him as a quarterback but I think there’s a very real possibility he ends up playing wide receiver or defensive back. I think that kind of versatility in itself adds to his value.”