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Auburn Football: Meet the Tigers' 2014 Recruiting Class

Justin LeeContributor IFebruary 5, 2014

Auburn Football: Meet the Tigers' 2014 Recruiting Class

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    RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

    It's been a big day for the Auburn Tigers, as Gus Malzahn and his staff have brought in another consensus top-10 recruiting class.

    The future looks bright for the Tigers—and it begins with the new boon of talent set to step on campus this fall.

    At the end of the day, Auburn has brought 23 new talents to the Plains, including 18 signees to go along with five early enrollees.

    Here is a look at each and every one of the newcomers—and how they will fit with the Tigers moving forward.

    All recruiting rankings and information via AuburnUndercover.com and 247Sports.com. All quotes obtained firsthand.

Braden Smith

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Braden Smith

    6'6", 290 lbs

    4-Star Offensive Guard, No. 122 Overall, No. 7 OG

    Olathe South (Olathe, Kan.)

    Stats: N/A

    Other Finalists: TCU, Texas A&M

    Commit Date: 2/5/14

     

    Analysis

    Smith can bring immediate depth to the Tigers offensive line—and he could compete for playing time or a starting spot as early as his freshman year. He can play at guard, where the Tigers are solid but young, or he could move outside to tackle and try to help replace NFL-bound former left tackle Greg Robinson.

     

    Malzahn's Words

    "We kind of got on him late, when Greg Robinson declared for the draft. Coach (J.B.) Grimes did a great job developing a relationship in a short period of time. He came on a visit and just hit it off. Auburn's his type of place. He's very athletic. One of the strongest guys in the entire country. He'll fit in very good for us. I think he'll give us the ability to help us early."

D'haquille Williams

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    Credit: 247Sports

    D'haquille Williams

    6'3", 213 lbs

    5-Star Wide Receiver, No. 1 Overall (JUCO)

    Mississippi Gulf Coast CC (Reserve, La.)

    JUCO Stats: 51 receptions, 733 yards, nine touchdowns

    Other Finalists: LSU

    Commit Date: 7/21/13—Enrolled 1/8/14

     

    Analysis

    The nation's No. 1 junior college player is already on campus in Auburn, and he's poised to be a big playmaker in the offense this fall. Williams was one of the coaching staff's signature signees of this class.

     

    Malzahn's Words

    "The No. 1-rated junior college player in the entire country, receiver. He's got unbelievable skills. I got a chance to get to know him back in his high school days, and I really do think he'll have a chance to be an impact player right off the bat."

Roc Thomas

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Roc Thomas

    5'11", 196 lbs

    4-Star Running Back, No. 60 Overall, No. 7 RB

    Oxford (Oxford, Ala.)

    Stats: 226 rushes, 2,211 yards, 32 touchdowns

    Other Finalists: Alabama, Arkansas

    Commit Date: 8/2/13

     

    Analysis

    One of the best running backs in Auburn program history—Tre Mason—has left campus, riding off into the sunset and bound for the NFL after a record-breaking season in 2013. Somehow, Malzahn and the Tigers will have to find a way to replace his production in 2014 and moving forward. Thomas can potentially become a big part of that as early as his freshman year.

     

    Malzahn's Words

    "He was the top running back on our guys' board. Our offensive staff identified him early, they recruited him extremely hard. Once again, a key to this class, he was very loyal to us, could have went anywhere and chose to not. He stayed with us. We really feel like he's got the ability to come in immediately and make a huge impact."

Tre' Williams

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Tre' Williams

    6'3", 237 lbs

    5-Star Inside Linebacker, No. 22 Overall, No. 1 ILB

    St. Paul's Episcopal (Mobile, Ala.)

    Stats: 119 tackles, one sack, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery

    Other Finalists: Alabama

    Commit Date: 5/8/13

     

    Analysis

    Inside linebacker is a key position in Ellis Johnson's 4-2-5 defense, and the Tigers picked up a big talent there when Williams committed to Auburn last May. He can help out the defense as part of the Tigers two-deep rotation—if nothing else—this fall.

     

    Malzahn's Words

    "Really one of the keys to this class. We really felt like he was the top linebacker in the class, a guy that has been with us, committed to us, had opportunities to go anywhere he wanted, he chose to stay loyal. He was really a big key to this signing class and just a great person. He's got great potential and he'll make an immediate impact."

Derrick Moncrief

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Derrick Moncrief

    6'3", 226 lbs

    4-Star Safety, No. 13 Overall (JUCO)

    Mississippi Gulf Coast CC (Prattville, Ala.)

    JUCO Stats: 20 tackles

    Other Finalists: Oklahoma State, Kentucky

    Commit Date: 5/10/13—Enrolled 1/8/14

     

    Analysis

    D'haquille Williams won't be coming from Mississippi Gulf Coast CC to Auburn alone, as Moncrief has joined Williams on the Plains as an early enrollee. He should also bring some immediate depth to the Tigers as a ready-made talent in the defensive backfield.

     

    Malzahn's Words

    "We needed some safety help. He's a big, rangy guy. Very good ball skills, very good tackler. We think he can be an impact."

Sean White

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Sean White

    6'2", 204 lbs

    4-Star Quarterback, No. 91 Overall, No. 6 Pro-Style QB

    University School (Hollywood, Fla.)

    Stats: 159-of-259 for 2,656 yards, 30 touchdowns, five interceptions

    Other Finalists: Boston College, Wisconsin

    Commit Date: 1/16/13

     

    Analysis

    White's stock continued to rise all the way up to signing day—and now he's officially an Auburn Tiger. He made big news in early January when he earned MVP honors at the Under Armour All-America Game.

     

    Malzahn's Words

    "A guy that Coach Lashlee has loved since Day 1. You're talking about a guy who's just a winner. He won the Elite 11 competition, he was the MVP of the Under Armour Game, he just has the 'It' Factor. Got a chance to throw for us during the summer, been committed to us a long time. A guy that could have taken other trips, could have opened it up, and he hung in there. We really feel good about Sean."

Andrew Williams

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Andrew Williams

    6'4", 247 lbs

    4-Star Weak-Side Defensive End, No. 16 WDE

    Eagle's Landing Christian (McDonough, Ga.)

    Stats: 60 tackles, 28 tackles for loss, 18 sacks

    Other Finalists: Georgia, Clemson

    Commit Date: 2/5/14

     

    Analysis

    Williams was a big signing-day grab for the Tigers. Auburn fans will hope that he, and other defensive line signees from the class of 2014, will help fill the void left by Dee Ford and others along the front four.

     

    Malzahn's Words

    "We've been recruiting him a long time. He's a very big, athletic guy that can run, that can rush the passer. Very physical. Coach Garner did a great job with him and he's also a guy that we feel like can give us some depth early on."

Stanton Truitt

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Stanton Truitt

    5'10", 185 lbs

    4-Star Wide Receiver, No. 233 Overall, No. 30 ATH

    Monroe Area (Monroe, Ga.)

    Other Finalists: Tennessee, Florida

    Commit Date: 7/17/13—Enrolled 1/6/14

     

    Analysis

    Just like Williams, Truitt could produce in the offense immediate, as Malzahn and quarterback Nick Marshall look to spread the ball around in 2014.

     

    Malzahn's Words

    "One of the faster guys we're recruiting. He's got real speed, very good ball skills, he's going to give us a lot of flexibility and also could help us in the return game."

Chris Laye

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Chris Laye

    6'5", 240 lbs

    3-Star Tight End, No. 49 TE

    Lambert (Suwanee, Ga.)

    Stats: Eight receptions, 109 yards, two touchdowns

    Other Finalists: NC State

    Commit Date: 4/5/13—Enrolled 1/7/14

     

    Analysis

    Another one of the Tigers' early enrollees, Laye could eventually become a big part of Auburn's offense—fitting in a role similar to what Philip Lutzenkirchen once had under Malzahn.

     

    Malzahn's Words 

    "He's got very good ball skills and we really feel like he's going to be an outstanding player."

Nick Ruffin

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Nick Ruffin

    6'0.5", 180 lbs

    4-Star Defensive Back, No. 73 Overall

    St. Pius X (Atlanta, Ga.)

    Commit Date: 5/25/13

     

    Analysis

    Ruffin could play anywhere in the Tigers' 4-2-5 defensive backfield, at corner, safety—or even at the "Star" hybrid position. As a 4-star recruit, he has been heralded as one of the most talented players on the defensive side of the ball from this 2014 class.

     

    Malzahn's Words

    "One of the top corners on our board early on. Coach Smith, Coach Dameyune Craig did a good job recruiting him, he is long, he is athletic and he's got very good ball skills and high character, so we're very excited about Nick."

Xavier Dampeer

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Xavier Dampeer

    6'4", 300 lbs

    3-Star Center, No. 1 OC (JUCO)

    Copiah-Lincoln CC (Mendenhall, Miss.)

    Other Finalists: La Tech

    Commit Date: 10/6/13—Enrolled 1/8/14

     

    Analysis

    As a top JUCO talent, Dampeer was ready for important playing time the moment he stepped on campus. He'll instantly provide depth for the Tigers on the offensive line.

     

    Malzahn's Words

    "He's going to provide some depth up front. Especially at the center position. He did that last year. He's just a big, strong guy that we really feel like can help us."

Kalvaraz Bessent

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Kalvaraz Bessent

    6'0", 170 lbs

    4-Star Cornerback, No. 138, No. 13 CB

    Camden County (Kingsland, Ga.)

    Other Finalists: Alabama, Florida, Florida State

    Commit Date: 12/9/13

     

    Analysis

    Along with Ruffin, Bessent will bring even more talent to the defensive backfield. The Tigers lost three cornerbacks to graduation this offseason, but Auburn is well on its way to replacing them with guys like Bessent.

     

    Malzahn's Words 

    "Coach Smith identified him as one of the top corners early on, and he hung in there, kept recruiting him, and we really felt like we got a guy that can help us immediately. He's got very good ball skills, and a very good cover guy."

DaVonte Lambert

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    Credit: 247Sports

    DaVonte Lambert

    6'3", 278 lbs

    4-Star Defensive End, No. 8 Overall (JUCO)

    Georgia Military College (Waynesboro, Ga.)

    Stats: 36 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, eight sacks, four forced fumbles

    Other Finalists: Tennessee, Florida

    Commit Date: 1/18/13

     

    Analysis

    The Tigers are well on their way to building one of the most talented defensive line units in the SEC, and Lambert is set to be a big part of that in 2014. He should immediately contribute as part of the two-deep rotation.

     

    Malzahn's Words

    "We really feel like he's got very good pass-rushing skills, he can play the run, his motor is extremely high, and we're very excited about him."

Kamryn Pettway

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Kamryn Pettway

    5'11.5", 221 lbs

    3-Star Running Back, No. 22 RB

    Prattville (Prattville, Ala.)

    Stats: 1,308 yards

    Other Finalists: Florida State, Georgia

    Commit Date: 3/3/13

     

    Analysis

    Along with Thomas, Cameron Artis-Payne and Corey Grant, Pettway will have a chance to compete for significant playing time for the Tigers immediately and in the future.

     

    Malzahn's Words 

    "Just a big, physical, hard-nosed guy. I really feel like he has great potential. He's a big man, and he can run, he's got very good ball skills, he's going to give us a lot of versatility."

Raashed Kennion

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Raashed Kennion

    6'6", 228 lbs

    3-Star Defensive End, No. 54 DE

    First Coast (Jacksonville, Fla.)

    Other Finalists: Cincinnati

    Commit Date: 7/17/13

     

    Analysis

    Kennion is yet another big defensive line talent who will help the Tigers build a fierce front four moving forward.

     

    Malzahn's Words

    "Very long, athletic guy. Coach Garner had him in camp, offered him in camp, recruited him hard, and really think he has a lot of great potential moving forward."

Stephen Roberts

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Stephen Roberts

    6'0", 177 lbs

    4-Star Cornerback, No. 113 Overall, No. 10 CB

    Opelika (Opelika, Ala.)

    Stats: 64 tackles, nine tackles for loss, four interceptions, 11 pass breakups, three pick-sixes

    Other Finalists: Alabama

    Commit Date: 11/20/13

     

    Analysis

    After Roberts flipped from the Crimson Tide to the Tigers in November, the 4-star corner stayed firm with the Tigers—and he made it official on signing day. He will bring his talent to the defensive backfield and help replace Chris Davis and other departures.

     

    Malzahn's Words

    "He's a guy we identified early, that our coaches stayed on. He's a very good tackler. He'll do whatever. He played quarterback for his high school when they needed somebody, and we really feel good about Stephen Roberts."

Jakell Mitchell

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Jakell Mitchell

    6'3", 214 lbs

    4-Star Tight End, No. 16 TE

    Opelika (Opelika, Ala.)

    Other Finalists: Alabama

    Commit Date: 5/25/13

     

    Analysis

    Roberts won't be making the crosstown trip to Auburn alone, as his teammate Jakell Mitchell will be joining him from nearby Opelika.

     

    Malzahn's Words 

    "He is a guy we identified when he was a junior. He runs a very similar offense, he can block, he can catch the ball, he's got running back skills, he played a little bit of Wildcat. When he was a junior he hurt his knee and we really feel like the sky is the limit for this guy and he's got great potential."

Dontavius Russell

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Dontavius Russell

    6'3", 300 lbs

    4-Star Defensive Tackle, No. 150 Overall, No. 13 DT

    Carrollton (Carrollton, Ga.)

    Other Finalists: Alabama, Clemson

    Commit Date: 12/27/13

     

    Analysis

    Russell is another big-time signee for the Tigers. He should be a force along the Auburn defensive line for years to come. 

     

    Malzahn's Words

    "He's got family that was Auburn. He is a very big athletic guy, high character guy, we're very excited about him."

De'Shaun Davis

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    Credit: 247Sports

    De'Shaun Davis

    6'0", 225 lbs

    4-Star Inside Linebacker, No. 14 ILB

    Vigor (Mobile, Ala.)

    Stats: 138 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, one sack, two interceptions, six pass breakups, six forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries

    Other Finalists: Clemson, Florida State

    Commit Date: 4/17/13

     

    Analysis

    The Tigers have struggled at linebacker for quite some time, but Auburn fans are hoping that those troubles will end with the 2014 signing class. Davis and Tre' Williams bring a new boon of talent to the position moving forward.

     

    Malzahn's Words

    "De'Shaun Davis is a linebacker from Mobile also. Just a hard-nosed physical guy that has a nose for the football, hurt his knee his senior year. If he had played this year he would have been very highly recruited. We really feel great about him and he did a lot of great things for us in the recruiting end of it."

Devaroe Lawrence

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Devaroe Lawrence

    6'3", 278 lbs

    4-Star Defensive Tackle, No. 37 Overall (JUCO), No. 11 DT

    Georgia Military College (Milledgeville, Ga.)

    Stats: 20 tackles, 4.5 sacks

    Other Finalists: Mississippi State

    Commit Date: 7/21/13

     

    Analysis

    Lawrence will provide more strength inside for the Tigers on the defensive line. He should be a ready-made talent who is set for significant action right out of the junior college ranks.

     

    Malzahn's Words

    "He is a guy that has a great motor. He is very athletic, he's a very good run-stopper and Coach Garner really feels like he's got a lot of potential and we're very excited about him."

Myron Burton

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Myron Burton

    6'2.5", 203 lbs

    3-Star Wide Receiver, No. 58 ATH

    Peachtree Ridge (Suwanee, Ga.)

    Stats: 53 receptions, 673 yards, six touchdowns

    Other Finalists: Vanderbilt

    Commit Date: 10/12/13

     

    Analysis

    Burton is another wide receiver talent who will be looking to make moves in the Malzahn offense sooner than later. If he can prove himself as a reliable target, he could become a big part of the offense before his time is done on the Plains.

     

    Malzahn's Words

    "A guy that came to camp and he really stood out to us. He was in the front of the line, he was a very physical guy, he played with that edge and he's a guy that was on our mind early in the season and Coach Craig just stayed on him and we ended up offering him, he committed. We really feel like he's got great potential."

Markell Boston

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Markell Boston

    6'1.5", 200 lbs

    4-Star Athlete, No. 108 ATH

    East Coweta (Newnan, Ga.)

    Other Finalists: Nebraska

    Commit Date: 2/3/14

     

    Analysis

    Athlete Markell Boston will likely be playing at safety in the future for Auburn, but he could play anywhere in the defensive backfield.

     

    Malzahn's Words

    "Very good tackler, a physical guy that we got on fairly late. He got better and better his senior year. I really feel like he'll provide some depth for us."

Justin Thornton

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    Justin Thornton
    Justin ThorntonCredit: 247Sports

    Justin Thornton

    6'5", 222 lbs

    4-Star Defensive End, No. 140 Overall, No. 8 DE

    Vigor (Mobile, Ala.)

    Other Finalists: Alabama

    Commit Date: 5/12/13

     

    Analysis

    The Tigers reeled in a big-time in-state talent when they grabbed Thornton. He'll be looking to find a place in the rotation immediately.

     

    Malzahn's Words 

    "A big, long defensive end that can rush the passer from Mobile. Dameyune did a great job recruiting him, we really feel like he's got a chance to be an impact player."

Heat Map

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    Check out where some of the Tigers' top recruits hail from on Bleacher Report's national signing day heat map.

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