The HABOTN Signee Bios® (Episode I)
You're wondering to yourself: Can't I get some legitimate assessments of these signees?
For a lot of fans, these kids are just names and numbers on a list. The good news is that I met most of them, saw film on most of them, had some in-depth conversations with a few. So here are my thoughts.
(I'll break this up into chunks of nine to avoid a spammy post.)
TB Dontae Aycock
5-10, 215, Chamberlain HS (Tampa, Fla.)
Aycock is a newcomer to the Auburn scene. He was committed to Georgia Tech for months and was expected to emerge as an option quarterback for the Yellow Jackets. Aycock played that position in high school. Auburn recently offered Aycock a scholarship with plans to use him at tailback, which changed everything. He won the Guy Toph Award as the top high-school player in the Tampa area last season.
•S Daren Bates
5-11, 195, Olive Branch HS (Olive Branch, Miss.)
Bates originally committed to Arkansas State before receiving sudden interest from Auburn and Alabama in mid-January. He's known as a hard hitter who will play safety in college. Smallish size kept many big-name programs away.
WR DeAngelo Benton
6-3, 205, Hargrave Military Academy (Bastrop, La.)
Benton may be the star of this class. He's a refined wideout with good hands, a thoughtful approach to route-running and toughness. He signed with LSU out of high school (2007) and again after a year at Hargrave Military Academy (2008), but more academic problems forced him out of football last fall. He's on track to gain academic qualification this summer and, at 21 years old, could provide immediate assistance at the Tigers' weakest position.
WR Emory Blake
6-1, 195, Stephen F. Austin HS (Austin, Texas)
Blake is a top-rated wideout who brings a variety of skills to Auburn. His father, Jeff Blake, spent 10 seasons as an NFL quarterback. The younger Blake has good straight-line speed and has learned how to be elusive in the open field. He thrived in a competitive league loaded with Bowl Subdivision signees. He chose Auburn over Texas Tech.
•DE Terrance Coleman
6-1, 245, Williamson HS (Mobile)
Coleman was Auburn's first commitment, but his allegiance was anything but solid. He stayed with the Tigers after Tommy Tuberville's resignation. Still, he seriously considered offers from Arkansas, Tennessee and Ole Miss. Coleman is the nephew of senior defensive end Antonio Coleman. He profiles as a quick tackle or weak-side end in college.
ATH Robert Cooper
6-4, 205, Daphne HS (Daphne)
Cooper is expected to "gray shirt," or delay his enrollment until January. He elected to go this route rather than accept scholarship offers from UAB or South Alabama. He played quarterback at Daphne and exibited plenty of athleticism in that role. The downside is that Cooper isn't all that fast and quarterback won't be his position. His skill set reminds me of Will Herring -- a former Opelika High quarterback who became a useful linebacker and safety at Auburn.
DE/DT Nosa Eguae
6-2, 235, Summit HS (Mansfield, Texas)
Eguae committed to Colorado initially. After feeling uncomfortable about what the Buffaloes had to offer, he backed off that allegiance in December. Auburn assistant Curtis Luper called a few days later. Eguae formed a tight relationship with another Auburn assistant, Tracy Rocker, and committed to the Tigers in late January. He profiles as a strong-side end or tackle in college.
LB Jonathan Evans
6-0, 205, Blount HS (Mobile)
Evans is a middle or weak-side linebacker with refined cover skills, which is a coveted property in the college world. That explains why he turned down offers from Tennessee and Oklahoma State to attend Auburn. Evans committed to the Tigers last summer and never wavered from that position, which kept his name out of the mainstream during the winter. He is the younger brother of former Auburn linebacker Chris Evans.
DT Nick Fairley
6-4, 295, Mobile (Copiah-Lincoln C.C.)
Fairley signed with Auburn for a third time Wednesday. He was expected to enroll in December out of a Mississippi junior college, but the 2007 Williamson High graduate was denied academic clearance. Auburn now believes Fairley will be ready for summer admission. He played tight end in high school and has enough quickness to cause problems along the line of scrimmage. Fairley has three years of eligibility remaining.