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Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Recruit and return: Auburn

By Derek Tyson

Auburn's magical season ended with a tough 34-31 loss to Florida State on Monday night. The top two teams in the country certainly played like it in the VIZIO BCS National Championship Game. On the recruiting front, both schools are in the top 10 of the recruiting rankings. With less than a month until national signing day here's a closer look where Auburn stands.
Key losses: Running back Tre Mason, who rushed for 195 yards and a touchdown in the BCS championship game, will likely enter the NFL draft. Defensive end Dee Ford, cornerback Chris Davis (also team's punt returner) and safeties Ryan Smith and Ryan White will graduate. Smith and White aren’t huge losses but their departure does create depth issues at safety next season.

Instant impact freshman: Should Mason decide to turn pro, freshman Racean “Roc” Thomas (Oxford, Ala./Oxford) will likely see significant playing time early in his career. The Under Amour All-American is a versatile athlete, who not only runs well between the tackles but also is an excellent receiver out of the backfield.

Top 2014 recruits: Wide receiver D'haquille Williams (Laplace, La./Mississippi Gulf Coast CC), the No. 1-ranked junior college prospect in the country, is expected to make a significant impact from Day 1. Under Armour All-American linebacker Tre' Williams (Mobile, Ala./St. Paul's Episcopal) could start as a true freshman. Defensive back Stephen Roberts (Opelika, Ala./Opelika) and outside linebacker Derrick Moncrief (Prattville, Ala./Mississippi Gulf Coast CC) both have a chance to see significant playing time early on.

Question for signing day: Will Auburn be able to beat Georgia, Alabama and UCLA for the services of ESPN 300 outside linebacker Rashaan Evans (Auburn, Ala./Auburn)? Evans likes the idea of rushing the passer in a 3-4 defense and his skills might be a better fit at one of the other three schools, but the pressure to stay at home and the family ties to Auburn might be too much for the other schools to overcome. Evans’ recruitment will come down to the wire.