War Eagle Extra has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 10 seconds. If not, visit
http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/wareagleextra
and update your bookmarks.

May 31, 2011

Miami WR Ricardo Louis commits to Auburn

(I was covering a high school baseball game today in Columbus and didn’t have a chance to post this earlier, but here it is.)

Auburn got its fourth commitment in the last week Tuesday when Miami Beach, Fla., wide receiver Ricardo Louis said he’ll sign with the Tigers in 2012.

AuburnSports.comInside the Auburn Tigers and AuburnUndercover.com reported the news first.

Follow the blog on Twitter and Facebook.

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Louis, who visited Auburn during Big Cat weekend recently, is a four-star recruit according to Rivals, Scout and 247Sports. He is the No. 24 wide receiver in the country according to Scout.

He picked Auburn over offers from dozens of schools, including Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Miami and Ohio State.

Louis played quarterback last year for Miami Beach High, but he’s projected as a wide receiver at the college level.

Louis joins defensive lineman Darius Philon (Prichard, Ala.), offensive tackle Shane Callahan (Parker, Colo.) and cornerback Joshua Holsey (Fairburn, Ga.) as players who committed in the last week.

He is Auburn’s eighth commitment for 2012. Here’s the full list. Ratings are by Rivals:

  • Shane Callahan, OL, 6-6, 277, Parker, Colo. (Chaparral High), 4-star
  • Michael Flint, OL, 6-4, 303, Oxford, Ala. (Oxford High), NR
  • Joshua Holsey, CB, 5-9, 171, Fairburn, Ga. (Creekside High), 4-star
  • Darrion Hutcherson, ATH, 6-7, 245, Dadeville, Ala. (Dadeville High), 3-star
  • Ricardo Louis, WR, 6-2, 190, Miami Beach, Fla. (Miami Beach High), 4-star
  • Cassanova McKinzy, LB, 6-3, 220, Birmingham, Ala. (Woodlawn High), 4-star
  • Darius Philon, DE, 6-2, 265, Prichard, Ala. (Vigor), NR
  • Zeke Pike, QB, 6-5, 220, Fort Mitchell, Ky. (Dixie Heights High), 4-star

 

May 30, 2011

Prichard defensive end Darius Philon becomes Tigers’ seventh commitment for 2012

Auburn got another commitment Monday when Prichard, Ala., defensive end Darius Philon said he’ll sign with the Tigers in 2012.

AuburnSports.comInside the Auburn Tigers and AuburnUndercover.com reported the news first.

Follow the blog on Twitter and Facebook.

The 6-foot-2, 265-pound Philon had 89 tackles as a junior. He chose Auburn over offers from Kentucky, Memphis, Mississippi State, Southern Miss and Western Kentucky.

He’s is a longtime friend of former Auburn standout and Vigor product Sen’Derrick Marks.

Scout lists Philon as a three-star player. He’s not rated by Rivals.

Philon is the Tigers’ seventh commitment for 2012 and the third in the last week. Here’s Auburn’s list of 2012 commitments. Rankings are by Rivals:

  • Shane Callahan, OL, 6-6, 277, Parker, Colo. (Chaparral High), 4-star
  • Michael Flint, OL, 6-4, 303, Oxford, Ala. (Oxford High), NR
  • Joshua Holsey, CB, 5-9, 171, Fairburn, Ga. (Creekside High), 4-star
  • Darrion Hutcherson, ATH, 6-7, 245, Dadeville, Ala. (Dadeville High), 3-star
  • Cassanova McKinzy, LB, 6-3, 220, Birmingham, Ala. (Woodlawn High), 4-star
  • Darius Philon, DE, 6-2, 265, Prichard, Ala. (Vigor), NR
  • Zeke Pike, QB, 6-5, 220, Fort Mitchell, Ky. (Dixie Heights High), 4-star

May 28, 2011

Colorado offensive lineman Shane Callahan commits to Auburn on Big Cat weekend

The Big Cat weekend has produced its first commitment. Shane Callahan, an offensive lineman from Chaparral High in Parker, Colo., said Saturday that he’ll sign with the Tigers in 2012.

AuburnSports.comInside the Auburn Tigers and AuburnUndercover.com reported the news first. They have the quotes.

Follow the blog on Twitter and Facebook.

The 6-foot-6, 277-pound lineman is a four-star recruit according to Rivals and the No. 191-ranked player in the country. Scout also lists him as a four-star recruit and the No. 23 offensive tackle nationally.

Callahan is one of dozens of recruits in town for Auburn’s annual Big Cat weekend, the school’s biggest recruiting weekend of the spring. He had drawn interest from a number of schools, with offers from Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, Utah and Washington.

He is Auburn’s sixth commitment for 2012 and its second offensive lineman, joining Michael Flint of Oxford, Ala. Four of the Tigers’ six recruits are rated as four-star players.

Here’s Auburn’s list of 2012 commitments. Rankings are by Rivals:

  • Shane Callahan, OL, 6-6, 277, Parker, Colo. (Chaparral High), 4-star
  • Michael Flint, OL, 6-4, 303, Oxford, Ala. (Oxford High), NR
  • Joshua Holsey, CB, 5-9, 171, Fairburn, Ga. (Creekside High), 4-star
  • Darrion Hutcherson, ATH, 6-7, 245, Dadeville, Ala. (Dadeville High), 3-star
  • Cassanova McKinzy, LB, 6-3, 220, Birmingham, Ala. (Woodlawn High), 4-star
  • Zeke Pike, QB, 6-5, 220, Fort Mitchell, Ky. (Dixie Heights High), 4-star

May 27, 2011

Big Cat Weekend III: With a Vengeance

It’s Big Cat Weekend, Auburn’s annual recruit-fest where dozens of prospects visit the Plains at the same time. The brainchild of Tigers recruiting coordinator Curtis Luper will have its third edition the next few days.

Similar weekends in the past have been successful (minus the secondary violations committed in 2009). The first Big Cat weekend included 25 top prospects. WR Trovon Reed and RB Mike Dyer were two visitors who would eventually commit, along with several others.

Last year’s Big Cat weekend included QB Kiehl Frazier, ATH Kris Forst, S Erique Florence and DT Gabe Wright, among others.

So who’s going to be here this weekend. A lot of recruits. AuburnSports.comInside the Auburn Tigers and AuburnUndercover.com are all over the coverage this weekend.

Here’s an UPDATED list of folks who will be visiting this weekend. A couple names that were here earlier didn’t end up making the trip. Star ratings are by Rivals. Check out the recruiting sites for quotes:

Follow the blog on Twitter and Facebook.

Five-stars

OL D.J. Humphries, Charlotte, N.C.

Four-stars

LB Kwon Alexander, Oxford, Ala.
CB Travis Blanks, Tallahassee, Fla.
OL Shane Callahan, Parker, Col.
CB Joshua Holsey, Fairburn, Ga. (2012 Auburn commit)
CB Cyrus Jones, Baltimore, Md.
ATH Brian Kimbrow, Memphis, Tenn.
WR Ricardo Louis, Miami, Fla.
LB Cassanova McKinzy, Birmingham, Ala. (2012 Auburn commit)
TE Justin Meredith, Anderson, S.C.
OL Patrick Miller, West Palm Beach, Fla.
LB Javierre Mitchell, Leeds, Ala.
QB Zeke Pike, Edgewood, Ky. (2012 Auburn commit)
RB Jovon Robinson, Memphis, Tenn.
RB Barry Sanders, Oklahoma City, Okla.
DL Justin Shanks, Prattville, Ala.
CB Geno Smith, Atlanta, Ga.
WR JaQuay Williams, Franklin, Ga.
RB T.J. Yeldon, Daphne, Ala.

Three-stars

FB Beniquez Brown, Florence, Ala.
ATH Darrion Hutcherson, Dadeville, Ala. ( 2012 Auburn commit)

Not rated

OL Michael Flint, Oxford, Ala. (2012 Auburn commit)
CB T.J. Gurley, Cairo, Ga.
TE Will Johnson, Osseo, Minn.
FB Kenno Loyal, Decatur, Ga.
DL Tyler Nero, Atmore, Ala.
DE JaMichael Winston, Mobile, Ala.

Junior College

DE Denico Autry, Scooba, Miss.
WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Coffeyville, Kan.

Future classes

ATH Evan Berry, Fairburn, Ga. (2014)
ATH Elliott Berry, Fairburn, Ga. (2014)
DL Dee Liner, Muscle Shoals, Ala. (2013)
DL Henry Poggi, Baltimore, Md. (2013)

May 26, 2011

Season over: Auburn falls to Georgia in SEC tournament, not postseason eligible

HOOVER, Ala. — A season of missed opportunities ended, appropriately, with a game of missed opportunities for the Auburn baseball team, which lost to Georgia 3-2 in the elimination round of the SEC tournament at Regions Park Thursday.

And like that the Tigers’ hopes of making an NCAA regional in back-to-back years vanished, done in by a rule requiring teams to finish above .500 overall.

Auburn, at 29-29, didn’t make the cut.

“Anytime your season ends, it’s tough to accept,” said Tigers coach John Pawlowski, whose team lost six of seven to finish the season. “But we certainly put ourselves in this position. The rules are what they are.”

Follow the blog on Twitter and Facebook.

Bulldogs starter Alex Wood (5-7) threw his first career complete game, giving up two runs on seven hits and striking out eight for fifth-seeded Georgia (29-29), which kept its slim NCAA regional hopes alive with a victory.

The Bulldogs, who play the loser of South Carolina-Vanderbilt in an elimination game at approximately 7:30 p.m. ET Friday, need to win at least two more games to be postseason eligible.

“I told them, flat out, we don’t want to be the ‘sympathy team,'” Georgia coach David Perno said. “The team that played the tough schedule, had tough adversity during the year. We wanted to be the team that was respected. … I said, ‘If we come up short, if we don’t get where we want to go, at least show your identity today.’ I felt like we did that.”

Instead, Auburn became the SEC’s first sympathy team, one that won 15 games in the deepest conference in the country, had a top-10 strength of schedule and an RPI of 36, numbers that probably would have warranted an NCAA regional berth had the Tigers been eligible.

But a number of mid-week disappointments, a stunning ninth-inning collapse against Georgia three weeks ago and a flat final weekend in which it lost two of three to last-place Tennessee will keep Auburn’s name from being called during the selection show Monday.

It looked good early for the eighth-seeded Tigers. Casey McElroy hit a solo homer in the fourth and Tony Caldwell an RBI single in the fifth, giving Auburn a 2-0 lead

But the Tigers couldn’t add to it. They had first and third with nobody out in the fifth. Two strikeouts and a ground out later and Auburn was kicking itself for not adding to its advantage.

“Missed opportunities like that, especially against anybody in this league, it doesn’t matter who you’re playing, it’s going to be tough for you,” said senior first baseman Kevin Patterson, one of the strikeout victims.

The Bulldogs made them pay, rallying for all three of their runs in the sixth off Auburn ace Derek Varnadore (6-3), who threw a three-hit shutout against Georgia earlier this season.

After two singles, Zach Cone ripped an RBI double into the left field corner. Chase Davidson followed with a grounder to short that McElroy skipped to first. Two runs scored on the error, giving the Bulldogs a 3-2 lead.

“At the start I felt great. It was probably the best I’ve felt since the last time I played them,” said Varnadore, an Athens, Ga., native who wasn’t recruited by the Bulldogs. “But I think as the game went on, the ball kept creeping up. And it finally just came back to bite me.”

Auburn had no answer. Wood set down 11 of the last 12 batters, punctuating the win with a strikeout of senior Justin Hargett.

“For sure didn’t end the way I wanted it to end,” Patterson said. “I thought we had a squad that could go to the regional or super regional. It didn’t work out, so very disappointed.”

HOOVER, Ala. — A season of missed opportunities ended, appropriately, with a game of missed opportunities for the Auburn baseball team, which lost to Georgia 3-2 in the elimination round of the SEC tournament at Regions Park Thursday.
And like that the Tigers’ hopes of making an NCAA regional in back-to-back years vanished, done in by a rule requiring teams to finish above .500 overall.
Auburn, at 29-29, didn’t make the cut.
“Anytime your season ends, it’s tough to accept,” said Tigers coach John Pawlowski, whose team lost six of seven to finish the season. “But we certainly put ourselves in this position. The rules are what they are.”
Bulldogs starter Alex Wood (5-7) threw his first career complete game, giving up two runs on seven hits and striking out 10 for fifth-seeded Georgia (29-29), which kept its slim NCAA regional hopes alive with a victory.
The Bulldogs, who play the loser of South Carolina-Vanderbilt in an elimination game at approximately 7:30 p.m. ET tonight, need to win at least two more games to be postseason eligible.
“I told them, flat out, we don’t want to be the ‘sympathy team,'” Georgia coach David Perno said. “The team that played the tough schedule, had tough adversity during the year. We wanted to be the team that was respected. … I said, ‘If we come up short, if we don’t get where we want to go, at least show your identity today.’ I felt like we did that.”
Instead, Auburn became the SEC’s first sympathy team, one that won 15 games in the deepest conference in the country and had RPI of 36, numbers that probably would have warranted an NCAA regional berth had the Tigers been eligible.
Instead, a number of mid-week disappointments, a stunning ninth-inning collapse against Georgia three weeks ago and a flat final weekend in which it lost two of three to last-place Tennessee will keep Auburn’s name from being called during the selection show Monday.
It looked good early for the eighth-seeded Tigers. Casey McEelroy hit a solo homer in the fourth and Tony Caldwell an RBI single in the fifth, giving Auburn a 2-0 lead
But the Tigers couldn’t add to it. They had first and third with nobody out in the fifth. Two strikeouts and a ground out later and Auburn was kicking itself about not adding to its advantage.
“Missed opportunities like that, especially against anybody in this league, it doesn’t matter who you’re playing, it’s going to be tough for you,” said senior first baseman Kevin Patterson, one of the strikeout victims.
The Bulldogs made them pay, rallying for all three of their runs in the sixth off Auburn ace Derek Varnadore (6-3), who threw a three-hit shutout against Georgia earlier this season.
After two singles, Zach Cone ripped an RBI double into the left field corner. Chase Davidson followed with a grounder to short that McElroy skipped to first. Two runs scored on the play, giving the Bulldogs a 3-2 lead.
“At the start I felt great. It was probably the best I’ve felt since the last time I played them,” said Varnadore, an Athens, Ga., native who wasn’t recruited by the Bulldogs. “But I think as the game went on, the ball kept creeping up. And it finally just came back to bite me.”
Auburn had no answer. Wood set down 11 of the last 12 batters, punctuating the win with a strikeout of senior Justin Hargett.
“For sure didn’t end the way I wanted it to end,” Patterson said. “I thought we had a squad that could go to the regional or super regional. It didn’t work out, so very disappointed.”

May 25, 2011

Auburn facing must-win game after dropping SEC tournament opener to South Carolina

HOOVER, Ala. — Auburn struck quick, scoring three runs in an instant against South Carolina’s ace, giving hope that an upset of the SEC tournament’s No. 1 seed and the nation’s No. 1 team wasn’t far-fetched.

Like so many times this year, the feeling was fleeting.

The eighth-seeded Tigers lost their SEC tournament opener to the Gamecocks 7-3 at Regions Park, dropping into the losers bracket to face Georgia at approximately 1:30-2 p.m. ET Thursday.

Auburn (29-28), which has lost five of its last six, needs to win to ensure itself a record better than .500, a requirement for an at-large bid to an NCAA regional. Lose and the Tigers’ season is over.

“We try to play every game like it’s our last,” shortstop Casey McElroy said. “Now, potentially this could be. I think we’re going to be aggressive and hungry out there and play with a lot of enthusiasm.”

Follow the blog on Twitter and Facebook.

The Tigers started with a bang Wednesday, scoring three runs — all unearned — in the first off South Carolina ace Michael Roth (11-3), who entered the game with a 1.28 ERA and hadn’t allowed more than three runs in an SEC game this season.

Taking advantage of an error, Tony Caldwell ripped a two-out RBI single to start the scoring. Kevin Patterson drove in two more with a double to right, giving Auburn a quick 3-0 lead.

It was all South Carolina (45-12) from there, though. The Gamecocks scored the game’s next seven runs and Roth settled down, holding Auburn scoreless and allowing only three hits the rest of the way.

“After the first inning, we never really had an opportunity,” Auburn coach John Pawlowski said.

The Gamecocks made short work of Auburn starter Jon Luke Jacobs (1-5), who couldn’t duplicate his eight-inning, one-run performance against South Carolina earlier this season.

Back-to-back doubles by Jake Williams and Adrian Morales erased the Tigers’ short-lived lead in the second. Peter Mooney’s ground-rule RBI double made it 4-3 Gamecocks in the third, earning Jacobs a quick hook after he faced 15 batters.

“I thought he left a few breaking balls up in the zone there,” Pawlowski said. “Just wasn’t seeing the consistency in his breaking ball. In a game like this, you try to change the momentum a little bit. And we tried to do that.”

South Carolina added three more runs off of four Auburn relievers, but it didn’t need them. Roth cruised the rest of the way, giving up no more runs and allowing only three hits. The side-armed lefty retired the final 13 batters of the game.

“I don’t think he changed,” McElroy said. “He just settled in. He knew what balls we were squaring up and just missed our barrel.”

A first-team All-SEC selection who had struggled his last two starts, Roth credited his turnaround to some parental advice.

“A lot of times you don’t want to listen to your parents, but I actually got a lot of stuff from my mom,” Roth said. “She was like, ‘You’re working a lot slower than I like for you to work. I want you to pick up the pace.’ … That’s probably one of the best pieces of advice I could have gotten.”

Auburn will start right-hander Derek Varnadore (6-2, 3.75 ERA) Thursday, with Slade Smith and Dillon Ortman available for relief in the must-win game.

“These guys understand the magnitude of it,” Pawlowski said. “They know that we’ve got to go out and play hard if we want to stick around for another day.”

Earnest Ross, Auburn’s leading scorer and rebounder, one of two to leave basketball team

Earnest Ross, the Auburn basketball team’s leading scorer and rebounder last season, has left the program along with Ty Armstrong, head coach Tony Barbee announced Wednesday.

“I have mutually agreed with Ty Armstrong and Earnest Ross for them to go in a different direction both academically and athletically,” Barbee said. “We wish them the best in their future.”

Follow the blog on Twitter and Facebook.

Ross’ departure is a shocker.  The 6-foot-5 guard/forward was Auburn’s most productive player last season as a sophomore, averaging 13.1 points and 6.6 rebounds. He topped 20 points five times.

Armstrong, a 6-foot-9 forward, was limited through most of his sophomore year after having knee surgery in the summer. He averaged 1.7 points and 1.4 rebounds in 7.3 minutes a game but was one of the few post options the Tigers had returning.

With signees Willy Kouassi, Bernard Morena and Cedrick McAfee joining the team this summer, Auburn needed to clear up two roster spots to stay at the NCAA maximum of 13 scholarship players.

Ross and Armstrong are the latest Jeff Lebo recruits to leave the program. Guard Andre Malone left the program during the season last fall, ending up at Rhode Island. Center Rob Chubb is the only freshman from the 2009 class still with the team.

Former Florida RB Mike Blakely transfers to Auburn; won’t be able to play until 2012

Running back Mike Blakely, who signed with Florida in February but was released from his scholarship earlier this month, has transferred to Auburn.

AuburnSports.comInside the Auburn Tigers and AuburnUndercover.com reported the news first.

Blakely, a four-star running back from the 2011 class, will begin classes at Auburn immediately. He will have to sit out the 2011 season but will have four years of eligibility starting in 2012.

Follow the blog on Twitter and Facebook.

Blakely committed to the Gators under former coach Urban Meyer. He enrolled early but had to sit out spring drills after undergoing shoulder surgery. According to reports, he didn’t feel like he fit into new coach Will Muschamp‘s preferred pro-style offense.

The 5-foot-9, 198-pound back was highly ranked by all the scouting services last year. Rivals had him as the No. 6 running back nationally, ESPN 7th and Scout 10th. Auburn was one of his original finalists in the recruiting process.

Blakely ran for more than 1,400 yards and 23 touchdowns as a junior at Manatee High in Bradenton, Fla. He ran for 1,323 yards and 16 touchdowns as a senior despite an ankle injury.

Although he’ll have to sit out next year, Blakely adds depth to a running back roster lacking in that department. Mike Dyer, Onterio McCalebb and converted cornerback Anthony Morgan were the only scholarship tailbacks on the roster this spring. Tre Mason and Quan Bray will begin practice in August.

Here’s a brief (free) scouting report from Rivals’ Barry Every:

On the Hoof: This thick-necked runner possesses a very muscular upper body with flexible hips. He physically is similar to Ole Miss sophomore Rodney Scott.

Needs Improvement: Most of his effective moves are done while running to the right side of the field. Would like to see him work on cutting left, thus making him more unpredictable for the defense. Blakely could add some lower-body size and strength, which will help him break more ankle tackles.

Most Impressive: This multi-talented back is dangerous as a runner and receiver. Blakely does a nice job of sticking his foot into the ground and making precise cuts that leave the defender corkscrewed into the field. Blakely also does a nice job of running behind his pads, inflicting the blow on the defender while falling forward for yardage.

Conclusion: A versatile back could always see early playing time if he is willing to pass protect. Look for him to get looks as a third-down option early in his career as he works his way into the starting lineup by year two.

May 24, 2011

Report: Former N.C. State quarterback Russell Wilson visiting with Auburn coaches today

Former N.C. State quarterback Russell Wilson is in Auburn today visiting with coaches, according to a report by ESPN’s Joe Schad.

Wilson asked for and was granted his release from the Wolfpack last month. He has a year of eligibility remaining and, because he has already graduated, can play immediately. He’s reportedly been in touch with a number of SEC schools, in addition to Wisconsin.

Follow the blog on Twitter and Facebook.

Schad wrote that Wilson arrived in Auburn last night and is spending all day with the coaches today discussing the offense.

(UPDATE: A moderator on AuburnSports.com said that Wilson was not in Auburn today, but one for Inside the Auburn Tigers said he talked to someone who said Wilson made a short visit.)

Auburn is seeking a quarterback to replace Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton but has no frontrunner for the job.

Junior Barrett Trotterand sophomore Clint Moseley played to a draw this spring. Highly-touted freshman Kiehl Frazier is enrolled in summer school and will begin practice in August.

The 5-foot-11, 201-pound Wilson was the runner-up for ACC Player of the Year last season, throwing for 3,663 yards and 28 touchdowns last year. He was third in N.C. State history in passing yards (8,645) and second in passing touchdowns (76).

Wilson made this visit on an off day from his summer job: second baseman in the Colorado Rockies’ system with the Low-A Asheville Tourists. He’s batting .216 in 38 games.

Four-star CB Joshua Holsey commits to Auburn; Tigers’ fifth commitment for ’12

Joshua Holsey, a four-star cornerback from Fairburn, Ga., committed to Auburn today.

AuburnSports.com, Inside the Auburn Tigers and AuburnUndercover.com reported the news first.

The 5-foot-9, 171-pound Holsey picked the Tigers over dozens of schools. His other finalists were Georgia, LSU and Virginia Tech.

Holsey has 19 interceptions the last three years at Creekside High, according to Rivals. He also had 800 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns as a junior. Rivals lists his 40-yard dash time at 4.39 seconds.

Rivals and Scout both list him as a four-star player. Scout ranks him as the No. 8 cornerback nationally.

He is Auburn’s fifth commitment for 2012. Lester, Ala., wide receiver Alex Taylor is no longer considered a Tigers commitment after being dismissed from his high school team last month.

Follow the blog on Twitter and Facebook.

Here’s Auburn’s list of 2012 commitments. Rankings are by Rivals:

  • Michael Flint, OL, 6-4, 303, Oxford, Ala., (Oxford High), NR
  • Joshua Holsey, CB, 5-9, 171, Fairburn, Ga. (Creekside High), 4-star
  • Darrion Hutcherson, ATH, 6-7, 245, Dadeville, Ala. (Dadeville High), 3-star
  • Cassanova McKinzy, LB, 6-3, 220, Birmingham, Ala. (Woodlawn High), 4-star
  • Zeke Pike, QB, 6-5, 220, Fort Mitchell, Ky. (Dixie Heights High), 4-star