Monday, July 21, 2014
Early commitment: No. 6 Craig to Auburn
By Gerry Hamilton
The Auburn Tigers are carrying as much recruiting momentum as any program in the country, save archrival Alabama. With one ESPNJr300 prospect already in the fold in tight end Landon Rice, (No. 299), Gus Malzahn and staff hit a four bagger with the bases loaded July 21 receiving a pledge from one of 2016's very best: No. 6-overall recruit Nate Craig.
Significance of impact: This is a huge early win for Auburn. Not only did the Tigers beat every top Southeast region program for the 2016 Under Armour All-America Game selection, they beat arch rival Alabama following Craig's visits to the Crimson Tide on July 14. Craig is not just a top national win for Auburn, but a win in the Sunshine State with Florida State, Florida and Miami (FL) having all verbally offered. This is also a big win for Auburn over Ohio State, who recruits Florida very hard and was giving Craig their full attention.
What he brings: Craig already possesses the strength and ability to snatch the ball out of the air in traffic. He also is quick for his size and is a playmaker after the catch in traffic or in space. His ability to maximize yards after the catch, as well as go get the ball at it's highest point, places him atop the wide receiver prospects in the 2016 class.
Strength of commitment: This is a prospect that the Florida schools, Alabama and many others will continue to recruit for the next 18 months until February 3, 2016. While Craig is in the fold, it's hard to imagine this recruitment being completely over. Craig has a strong relationship with former Auburn and Tampa Catholic wide receiver Jeris McIntyre, which makes the task for others even tougher.
Percent chance of the commit holding: 85 percent
Biggest threat: Alabama and Ohio State. It’s tough to pin down just one threat with both the Crimson Tide and Buckeyes not walking away. The Florida schools will only turn up the heat now that Craig is in the fold for Auburn.
For those who fell short, who is next on their board? For Alabama and Ohio State, the targets remaining are plenty with the understanding that Craig was at the top of a few boards in the class at receiver. For Ohio State, No. 15 Devin Duvernay is a scheme fit that is similar as a playmaker in space to Dontre Wilson.