Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Auburn football recruiting notebook with Auburn recruiting beat writer Benjamin Wolk. Today, we give the latest updates from the visit to Mobile Christian (Ala.) to see 3-star DE Andres Fox and his coach, Ronnie Cottrell.
MOBILE, Ala. — Aside from terrorizing offensive linemen, Andres Fox is a pretty mellow guy.
He doesn’t like to talk about himself much. He’d rather talk about his teammates, which is what he does when coaches or reporters ask him about Mobile Christian. When it comes to his own play and recruitment, he’d rather let the film do the talking, as it did last fall when his state championship tape led Auburn to offer, followed by virtually everyone else.
The 6-foot-5, 230-pound pass rusher gets asked about himself a lot nowadays. That’s what happens when Auburn, LSU and Alabama make you a top priority.
RELATED: Notes from Day 4 on the road throughout the state of Alabama
His high school coach, Ronnie Cottrell, marvels at Fox’s maturity and composure with the process.
“When we first met with Andres when all this started, he made the statement to me that he wanted to have a team in place or at least commit before the football season. He said he wanted to worry about this team,” Cottrell said. “I thought that was one of the greatest things I’ve ever heard a kid say.”
Fox confirmed Thursday that he expects to have a decision shortly before the 2017 football season.
When it happens, all the other suitors will be out of it: “When I commit, I’ll stay dedicated to that school,” Fox said.
The underrated 3-star defensive end from Mobile has started to condense his options. With programs all over the country — Stanford, USC, Penn State, among others — coming to the small school on the Gulf Coast to recruit him, it became somewhat overwhelming, so he narrowed his top list of schools.
Fox has labeled that top group as Auburn, Alabama and LSU for more than a month now, but said Oregon, Florida and Notre Dame are programs that could be factors. My opinion here: The 3 he lists as his top group are really the only programs with a shot.
When talking about his top 3, Fox gave an unsolicited endorsement of one program in particular.
“I just really like Auburn’s defense,” Fox said. “I feel like I fit in real well. I fit into the defense really well. … Plus, they have a great engineering program. I want to study mechanical engineering.”
One factor is family. Fox admits his parents are both Alabama fans, as he was in his pre-high school days. But — and let this be very clear — none of that will play a factor in Fox’s recruitment.
Reading between the lines, Fox has become infatuated with Auburn more than any other program, which stems from a few things. First, the Tigers offered the night of the state championship game in Jordan-Hare Stadium. Second, Fox’s relationship with Auburn’s coaching staff runs deeper than with any others.
“I’m closest with T-Will [Travis Williams]. He’s just fun and cool to be around. And Rodney Garner,” Fox said.
Cottrell doubled down on his star defensive lineman’s comments.
“Auburn, since the very beginning, it’s been a team effort. I’ve heard from all those guys,” Cottrell said. “Kevin Steele has been very specific with the position and what they wanted him to play, exactly where he fit in. He’s a key guy for them because of the position he plays. But T-Williams recruits our schools, does a great job. The best relationship he has with all the coaches is Rodney Garner. They’ve got a good relationship as far as position coaches.”
Here’s some subjective commentary on my part.
After I left my visit at Mobile Christian, I put in a Crystal Ball prediction for Fox to Auburn. It really didn’t take much hesitation. Yes, Fox’s family likes Alabama, and that has likely played a small role in why he hasn’t committed to any program yet. But even though Alabama and LSU consider Fox their top guy, Auburn has been most clear about exactly how it plans to use Fox in the Buck defensive lineman spot.
He will continue to check things out throughout the spring and summer, but when the 2017 season approaches, I firmly expect Fox will commit to the Auburn class.
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