By Greg Ostendorf
AUBURN, Ala. – The ink is dry on Auburn’s 2018 recruiting class. Fifteen of the 24 players signed with the Tigers back in December during the early signing period, which meant there were much fewer spots to fill on National Signing Day.
However, the coaching staff feels good about the nine players that were added Wednesday, and maybe more importantly, they held on to the players that were already committed coming into the day. With a smaller pool of players available because of the early signing period, it was more difficult to keep other schools away, but for the second year in a row, not player decommitted from Auburn.
“I would bet there are very few teams around the country that can say that,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. “That’s really big, and that’s a tribute to the kids we’re recruiting. The relationships that we’re building are long-term, and I think that’s definitely a tribute to our staff.”
The staff continued to make Alabama, Georgia and Florida a priority with eight of the nine players who signed Wednesday hailing from one of those three states. In fact, all but one player in the class – Australian punter Arryn Siposs – came from one of those three states. All three have been a priority since Malzahn has been at Auburn.
Here’s a breakdown from Malzahn on the nine players who signed Wednesday.
Kolbi Fuqua, ATH, 6-1, 210 (Cordova, AL): “He’s an athlete that’s been committed to us for a long time. We really feel like he can play both sides of the football. He’s got great ball skills, and he can just do a lot of different things for us.”
Matthew Hill, WR, 6-2, 185 (Snellville, GA): “He’s a guy that came to our junior camp three years in a row. He’s a guy that we’ve recruited for a long period of time. We really feel like he’s one of the better just football players in all the country. This guy can do it all. We’re very excited about him. He’s going to play wide receiver for us. He’s the type of guy that you just want to get the ball in his hands.”
Richard Jibunor, Buck, 6-3, 215 (Athens, GA): “When I think of him, I think of speed. I think of speed. I think of upside. For his high school team, he played offense, he played defense, he played wide receiver. He can do a lot of different things. I think this guy’s got a chance to be a dynamic player. I really expect him to be a very good pass-rusher.”
Caleb Johnson, DL, 6-3, 260 (Columbus, GA): “He’s a guy that really stood out to us. He came to our camp, and he ran a 4.7. He plays a lot of different positions for his high school. We really feel like he’s going to give us a lot of flexibility to move him around. He was a very good athlete for his high school. He also played some wide receiver and tight end and made some great catches.”
Harold Joiner, RB, 6-3, 210 (Birmingham, AL): “When I think of Harold, I think of versatile. I got a chance to coach a guy named Charles Clay a few years back, and I think they’re from that same mold. I’m talking about a guy that we really feel strong about that can come out of the backfield and stretch the field vertically. He can do a lot of different things with the ball in his hands.”
Roger McCreary, DB, 5-11, 180 (Mobile, AL): “We thought that we really needed to focus on speed, and he’s one of the fastest guys in our state. We think his upside is very good. He’s a super young man, high character, makes very good grades, too.”
Coynis Miller Jr., DL, 6-2, 300 (Birmingham, AL): “He’s a guy that was a priority for us in this class, a guy that everybody in the country came after late, and he hung in there with us. This guy is a very good athlete. He plays Wildcat quarterback. He can windmill dunk it and he’s 300 pounds, so we’re very excited about this guy.”
Anthony Schwartz, WR, 6-0, 180 (Fort Lauderdale, FL): “He’s the fastest guy in the country. He is also going to run track for our track team. I’m very excited about that. But he’s a football player. I really believe this guy has a chance to be special from the standpoint that he got better and better throughout his high school career, and he’s got that drive to make him special.”
Arryn Siposs, P, 6-2, 200 (Melbourne, Australia): “He’s a guy that played Australian rules football. He’s not your average kicker. He’s an athlete. He’s got a great leg. I think this guy’s really going to help us.”
Greg Ostendorf is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: