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Bryan Matthews’ Recruiting Insider

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All signs point to Mike Blakely choosing Auburn or Florida sometime in the next couple of months as he plans to finish Manatee High School in December and enroll in college in January.

Sources close to the Florida program have remained very confident in their chances. So have folks in the know at Auburn. Florida is closer to home and has won two National Championships in the last four years.

Auburn’s offense can better feature an elite running back like Blakely and it’s clear he has a tight relationship with the Auburn staff.

Blakely will likely officially visit South Carolina too but the Gamecocks are well behind both the Tigers and Gators.

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Running back Dee Hart from Dr. Phillip’s in Orlando, Fla., hinted at a commitment following his official visit to Auburn for the weekend of the Clemson game. It looks like that decision could finally be coming next week.

Hart officially visited Michigan a few weeks ago, Arkansas last weekend and will be at Alabama this weekend on what is expected to be his final official visit.

Hart has had a number of leaders throughout the recruiting process but it was Auburn following his visit and that hasn’t changed since his trip to Fayetteville. What will happen this weekend at Alabama will be interesting.

Hart’s teammate, safety Hasean Clinton-Dix, has already committed to Alabama and will be with him on the visit.

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Alabama will be hosting another top running back on an official visit this weekend in running back Buck Allen from Lincoln High School in Tallahassee, Fla. Allen was an unofficial visitor to Auburn for the Clemson game and plans to return later this fall.

Other schools are still in the mix for Allen but many expect his final decision to come down to Auburn or Alabama.

The Tide is probably the leader over Georgia for another elite running back, Isaiah Crowell, from Carver High School in Columbus, Ga. Where each running back sits on Alabama’s board and how many they will sign is a big question.

Right now, Auburn feels pretty good about its chances with Allen and Hart.

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Auburn also feels really good about its chances with elite cornerback Marcus Roberson from St. Thomas Aquinas in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Roberson and his mother both had a great time during their visit last weekend and the Tigers’ have a big lead heading into October.

Roberson still has a couple of more official visits left, likely to Florida, Florida State and Texas Tech, but Auburn remains in great shape to land the nation’s top-ranked corner.

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Wetumpka (Ala.) High athlete Jamal Golden is having a great senior year. He’s been to a couple of Auburn games this fall and the AU staff is showing increasing interest in Golden, who likely projects as a defensive back or wide receiver on the next level.

The biggest issue with Auburn at this time with Golden and a number of other prospects out there is how tight the numbers are in the 2011 class. Auburn is sitting on 15 commitments and still needs to add two running backs, one tight end, three offensive linemen, two defensive linemen and two defensive backs.

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Those tight numbers are more than evident at one of Auburn’s biggest need positions -- the defensive line. Auburn already has commitments from Angelo Blackson, JaBrian Niles and Keymiya Harrell with plans to take at least two more.

Auburn remains in good shape with several top targets still on the board in Gabe Wright, Ray Drew, Johnathan Jenkins and Devaunte Sigler.

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It looked like Sigler would be Auburn’s next commitment but, for now, he’s decided to hold off on a decision. He’s added several more SEC offers lately including Tennessee and currently wants to enjoy the recruiting process. He could stretch it out a few more months or he could decide to commit at anytime. Sigler is a bit of a mystery and I think he likes that.

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Gene Chizik was out on the road again last Friday, this time to see five-star defensive lineman Ray Drew from Thomas County Central in Thomasville, Ga.

Chizik has now been out on the road every Friday during football season. He was at Carver-Columbus the first week to see Crowell, defensive tackle Gabe Wright and several big-time juniors, at Manatee the next week to see Blakely, then at Valley (Ala.) High to see safety Erique Florence.

Chizik and the coaches will be out again this Friday. Auburn had originally planned to send most of its assistants out this week but with an 11 am kickoff to the ULM game, they’ll be limited in how many and how far they can go Friday.

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Some quick thoughts from the Opelika-Prattville game last Friday…

First of all, it was a terrific game on both sides. Both teams laid it on the line. I thought Opelika junior defensive end Torey Agee had a great game and spent a lot of time in the Prattville backfield.

I was a little surprised at how good Justin Thomas is. I thought going in he may be more of a track guy playing football but he made some great throws and runs. He’s a terrific athlete that will probably be a slot receiver on the next level but could also be a standout Wildcat quarterback and return specialist.

Of course, Prattville has a number of 2012 prospects. I thought defensive lineman Justin Shanks and safety Derrick Moncrief stood out the most during last Friday’s game.

This Friday, I’m planning to be at the Carver-Heard County game, which will feature a number of top 2011 and 2012 prospects including Gabe Wright.

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