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The Jimmy’s & Joe’s: What’s next for Auburn a

The running back position is a high priority for Auburn in the 2011 class, with the Tigers needing to sign two tailbacks that have the potential to step in and play right away next year.

Auburn and Florida lead for Mike Blakely.

Just a quick glance at Auburn’s current depth chart at the running back position shows how glaring the need is, with freshman Mike Dyer and sophomore Onterio McCalebb the only experienced tailbacks expected back next season.

One top target, , Dee Hart from Dr. Phillips in Orlando, eliminated Auburn on Monday and will choose between Michigan and Alabama on Friday. Should Auburn fans be concerned?

Not at all, and it’s certainly way too early for any hand-wringing.

Hart was one of just several top targets on Auburn’s board. In fact, both Mike Blakely from Manatee in Bradenton, Fla., and Buck Allen from Lincoln in Tallahassee, Fla., may have higher upsides. And both have the Tigers among their top two or three schools.

Auburn is also among the favorites for two more standout running backs in Andrew Buie from Trinity Christian in Jacksonville, Fla., and Rodney Coe from Edwardsville (Ill.) High. Both are planning to officially visit Auburn in the next few months.

The Tigers are continuing to actively recruit Isaiah Crowell from Carver in Columbus, Ga., who is ranked by 247Sports.com as the nation’s No. 1 tailback. Crowell currently lists Alabama and Georgia as his leaders.

Auburn is also recruiting Marlin Lane form Mainland in Daytona Beach, Fla., who is committed to Clemson, and Shon Carson from Lake City (S.C.) High.

Blakely, Allen, Buie, Coe, Crowell, Lane and Carson all have offers from Auburn.

But the Tigers haven’t stopped there.

At least a half dozen more running backs are still being recruited and could receive an offer at any time. They include DeVondrick Nealy from Jefferson County in Monticello, Fla., Jeremiah Bryson from Smyrna (Tenn.) High, who is committed to Pittsburgh, Brendon Bigelow from Central East in Fresno, Ca., who is committed to Washington, Quartterio Morgan from Mount Zion in Jonesboro, Ga., and DaMarcus James from Demopolis (Ala.) High, who is committed to Washington State.

That’s 12 potential running back prospects -- all highly recruited and capable of being difference-makers on the next level.

With Auburn’s need at the position and a coaching staff that can close with the best of them, there’s absolutely no need for panic from Auburn fans. In fact, there’s plenty more reasons for anticipation of which high school star could become the next in a very long line of great running backs at Auburn.

Until next time…

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“It’s the Jimmy’s and Joe’s, not the X’s and O’s.” -- former Auburn offensive coordinator Al Borges.

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