Not only does that class feature some elite talent in the wide receiver room, but it also contains Little Rock (Ark.) Christian four-star quarterback Walker White — a top-100 prospect and the No. 7 QB in the On3 Industry Ranking.
While White very well could be the QB of the future on The Plains in a couple of years time, recruiting under center remains a priority for Freeze and his new-look staff. With new offensive coordinator Derrick Nix and new QBs coach Kent Austin in the mix, the Tigers have shuffled their big board for 2025 gunslingers.
Auburn recruiting insider Jeffrey Lee joined The Inside Scoop to dish on who Auburn is pursuing at the quarterback position in the upcoming recruiting cycle.
5-star Julian Lewis — USC commit
Plenty of programs are coming after USC pledge Julian Lewis. The Carrollton (Ga.) product remains committed to the Trojans but has recently visited Auburn, Colorado, Georgia and Indiana. The Tigers expect to be in the mix for Lewis, but it will certainly take some work to flip the No. 9 overall recruit and No. 2 QB in the cycle.
“He came to Auburn late January, it was really his first visit that we’ve been able to talk to him. Even he admitted, it’s kind of a new deal, a developing relationship between he and Hugh Freeze — and let’s not forget Auburn just hired a new OC in Derrick Nix. We’ve seen some QB turnover since the departure of Phillip Montgomery and since the arrival of Nix,” Lee said.
“You’re seeing kind of a revamped quarterback board with Cutter Woods now on it, Juju Lewis now being more prominent on the board since Derrick Nix has taken over.”
4-star TJ Lateef
Orange (Calif.) Lutheran four-star TJ Lateef trimmed his list of top schools down to seven in January. Auburn made the cut, alongside Colorado, Arizona, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Georgia and Florida State. Lateef’s familiarity with the Tigers comes via the new OC Nix, who was recruiting him when he was at Ole Miss.
Lateef is the No. 231 overall prospect and No. 18 QB in the 2025 cycle, according to the On3 Industry Ranking, a weighted average that utilizes all four major recruiting media companies.
“Speaking of Derrick Nix, this is kind of right up his alley. When he was at Ole Miss, he was recruiting TJ to Ole Miss, so there is some familiarity there with Auburn — or at least with Nix and Lateef,” Lee said.
“Cole Pinkston talked to TJ a couple of weeks ago, he’s got legitimate interest. He plans on visiting Auburn, he’s planning on visiting Ole Miss … he likes the South, he likes the South East, likes what Hugh Freeze has, he’s certainly kept track of that wide receiver room improvement in the 2024 class. He’s a guy that i’m keeping a close eye on as well.”
4-star K.J. Lacey — Texas commit
Saraland (Ala.) four-star K.J. Lacey has been committed to Texas since June, but many thought that the 5-foot-11.5, 175-pounder flipping to the Tigers was a real possibility at the end of 2023. That was thanks in-part to Auburn’s push for Saraland Five-Star Plus+ wide receiver Ryan Williams, who has since signed with Alabama.
Now, the top-100 recruit and No. 8 signal-caller in the cycle may be further down the list for Freeze and Co.
“Probably sliding [on Auburn’s board]. I think Auburn’s best chance to flip Lacey was to get Ryan Williams, and when he re-committed to Alabama and subsequently signed, I think Auburn’s chances of flipping Lacey went down — and maybe their interest as well,” Lee said. “I think as far as Auburn was concerned … Auburn’s push for Lacey might have depended on whether or not they got Williams.”
3-star Cutter Woods
Coming out of Taylors (S.C.) Westside, Cutter Woods is a new offer for the Tigers. He visited The Plains back in October and is looking to make a return visit in 2024. Woods is the No. 36 QB in the 2025 cycle.
“This is a new name to Auburn fans, but it’s certainly not a new name to Hugh Freeze and new QBs coach Kent Austin,” Lee told On3’s Josh Newberg. “Both of those guys while at Liberty, Woods went — the summer before his sophomore season — went to camp there. They immediately offered the kid, so they’ve had some history with this guy. They’ve seen him grow … certainly a new guy to keep an eye on, we’ll have more on him soon.”