Auburn finishes signing day strong

Auburn went down to the wire on some of the nation's top recruits, finishing strong on a signing day that began with a few misses.

Now, the Tigers are hoping for more good news in coming days with unsigned top prospects.

Auburn beat out Georgia and Florida for highly touted offensive lineman Avery Young Wednesday afternoon and landed wide receiver Ricardo Louis, an earlier commitment who had briefly switched to Florida State.

"We feel really, really good about the new student-athletes that we have coming to Auburn," Auburn coach Gene Chizik said. "They're what we consider to be really, really good football players and really, really good citizens and good people."

Chizik couldn't pull off a third consecutive Top-5 class, but did move up in the rankings after landing Young and Louis.

Rivals.com had Auburn's class No. 11 as of Wednesday afternoon, Scout.com 13th and ESPNU 17th and still hopes to be in the mix for at least two-high-profile recruits.

Auburn's 20-player class includes running back Jovon Robinson, wide receiver JaQuay Williams and in-state linebacker Cassanova McKinzy. Chizik said all the signees received four-year scholarships.

Young was the biggest catch according to recruiting services. The 6-foot-6, 292-pounder from Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., was rated the nation's fifth-best offensive tackle and No. 22 prospect overall by Scout.com.

The Tigers are still hoping to land two 5-star prospects who are announcing their plans later. Chizik noted that the class is "hopefully not complete."

Maryland wide receiver Stefon Diggs is expected to pick his school on Feb. 10 while offensive lineman Jordan Diamond has said he'll announce his college choice Friday night.

"I don't think there's any question we're heading in the right direction," Chizik said. "There's a couple of others out there we'd love to see become Auburn Tigers."

The Tigers were among the finalists for the nation's top defensive tackle Eddie Goldman (Florida State), linebacker Kwon Alexander (LSU) and defensive end Leonard Williams (Southern California). The day started on a down note when all three chose other schools.

Chizik said you have to play some "Russian Roulette" in chasing such high-profile prospects, who wait for the final day to announce but the potential reward outweighs the risks.

"Even down to the last minute today, we were in some battles," he said. "Some we won, some we lost.

"It was a very unique year in that regard. As we tallied it up (Tuesday) night, there were so many guys that could have gone both ways."

Young was one of five offensive linemen the Tigers signed. Two of Auburn's top 2011 signees, linemen Christian Westerman and Greg Robinson, redshirted to give the Tigers a wealth of young talent on the line.

Will Adams, a high school teammate of Williams in Tyrone, Ga., switched from Georgia Tech on signing day.

"Offensive line was something we felt like we needed to numbers-wise shore up," Chizik said. "That was one obvious need for us.

"After that, because of the past couple of years of recruiting, it wasn't like we needed to have a great number of any other position. It's kind of spread out. It was kind of one of those classes where we were going to go out and recruit the best guys for a lot of different positions."

The Tigers went 8-5 last season, a year after winning the national title, and had to replace both coordinators. Auburn had a void to fill when suspended tailback Mike Dyer transferred to Arkansas State, now coached by ex-offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn.

Top tailback recruit T.J. Yeldon, Alabama's Mr. Football, had been a longtime commit but switched to Alabama in December and is already enrolled in Tuscaloosa.

Robinson is rated the nation's 10th-best tailback by Rivals.com.

Former Illinois fullback Jay Prosch is already enrolled after transferring.

Quarterback Jonathan Wallace of nearby Phoenix City, Ala., switched his commitment from Central Florida on Wednesday, joining the already-enrolled Zeke Pike.

Kiehl Frazier and Clint Moseley are also returning.

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