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THURSDAY, JANUARY 19, 2006
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BRADLEY HANDWERGER

Auburn looking for some keepers to finish its class

AUBURN — For Auburn football coaches and hangers-on to the program, the Feb. 1 signing day can't come quick enough.

With 17 players already committed, Auburn is only awaiting the decisions of a precious few recruits who could help vault the class into the nation's top 10 or leave it standing in the middle of the pack.

Head coach Tommy Tuberville and his staff took a hit Wednesday when Aram Olson, a fullback from Columbia, S.C., whose recruitment picked up late in the game, committed to Ohio State.

Still, there are others out there still being recruited by Auburn.

The Tigers want linemen, and of the players the coaching staff is waiting on pins and needles to hear from, eight play on either the offensive or defensive front.

Byron Isom, Mike Blanc and Mike Berry — all offensive linemen — have not made an announcement.

Isom (6-foot-2, 252 pounds) is expected to pick soon between South Carolina and Auburn.

Blanc (6-4, 265) is being recruited by Arizona State, Auburn, Michigan State, Rutgers and Miami and hasn't tipped his hand.

Berry (6-4, 296) is deciding between Auburn and South Carolina. He's the highest rated lineman left on Auburn's board at four stars by national recruiting services.

Bryant Miller (6-3, 233) and Deantwan Whitehead (6-6, 245), both defensive ends, are high on Auburn.

Whitehead, who attends Birmingham's West End High, is deciding between Auburn and Alabama, while Miller reportedly is still interested in Miami, if the Hurricanes offer a scholarship.

Auburn also has its eyes on linemen Charles Deas (6-4, 315) of Dillard High in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Colbert County's Jermarcus Ricks (6-3, 288) and Geno Atkins (6-1, 270) of St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale.

With three receivers graduating from the 2005 squad, Auburn also needs a pass-catcher or two.

Homewood's Tim Hawthorne has narrowed his choices to Auburn and Alabama. He's been that way for weeks, and the longer it takes to make a decision, the harder it becomes to figure out where he wants to go.

Hawthorne, at 6-2, 199 pounds, goes to Louisville on Jan. 27 for his final official visit.

As for defense, Auburn is still high on four-star linebacker Craig Stevens from Tallahassee, Fla.

The 6-3, 210-pounder runs the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds and has one more official visit to take — to Clemson on Friday. His decision should come soon after that.

Auburn commitments

  • Neil Caudle, quarterback, 6-foot-2, 191 pounds, Spain Park
  • Zach Clayton, defensive tackle, 6-3, 250, Opelika
  • Kareem Crowell, defensive tackle, 6-4, 290, Tallahassee, Fla.
  • Bart Eddins, defensive tackle, 6-4, 262, Trinity
  • Steven Ensminger, quarterback, 6-2, 182, West Monroe, La.
  • Zaccheus Etheridge, defensive back, 6-0, 174, Charles Henderson
  • Mario Fannin, athlete, 5-10, 204, Lovejoy, Ga.
  • Raven Gray, defensive end, 6-3, 235, Enterprise
  • Hendrick Leverette, linebacker, 6-0, 205, Hattiesburg, Miss.
  • Alex Rose, wide receiver, 6-2, 177, Jacksonville, Fla.
  • Darrell Roseman, defensive end, 6-3, 235, Clearwater, Fla.
  • Chris Slaughter, wide receiver, 6-3, 170, Fort Valley, Ga.
  • Greg Smith, defensive tackle, 6-3, 315, Booneville, Md.
  • Benjamin Tate, running back, 5-10, 204, Newark, Md.
  • Lee Tilley, offensive lineman, 6-5, 317, Columbus, Ohio
  • Terrell Zachery, wide receiver, 6-1, 185, Wadley
  • Ryan Shoemaker, kicker, 6-foot, 190, Oak Mountain
  • Bradley Handwerger Bradley Handwerger
    DAILY Sports Writer

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