Breaking down Auburn’s 2011 signing class

just wait...it's not over yet.

The biggest catch of Auburn’s Class of 2011 still is not entirely in the boat.

Two days after Cyrus Kouandjio — the five-star, top-rated tackle prospect in the country — committed to the Tigers on ESPNU, his letter of intent still hasn’t found its way to Auburn, Alabama, New Mexico, Iowa or anywhere else.

Kouandjio spent Thursday meeting with family members and his coach at DeMatha Catholic High, Bill McGregor.

McGregor told Rivals.com his star prospect’s choices are down to Auburn and Alabama. McGregor said Kouandjio spoke with Gene Chizik and other Tigers coaches Thursday, and that McGregor had spoken with Alabama’s staff, but he wasn’t sure if Kouandjio had.

McGregor said Kouandjio has not set a timetable on his decision.

“I think he’ll stick with Auburn actually, but I could be wrong,” McGregor told Rivals.com.

“Like I said, I’m surprised we’re even in this situation so anything can happen. I think he picked Auburn for a reason so I think he’ll stick with that, but I could be off.”

Even if Kouandjio flips his commitment, Auburn has secured a class of 24 that is among the best in the nation.

Here’s a look at who can help the Tigers immediately, who might take a little time and who has the chance to be impact players before they leave the Plains:

3 who can help immediately

* C Reese Dismukes, 6-3, 290: Think the second coming of Ryan Pugh. Dismukes has the size, technique and mean streak — not to mention the flowing locks — to step into the middle of the Tigers’ line and make Auburn fans wonder if Rimington finalist Pugh ever left. Another plus for Dismukes is he’s already on campus, so the head start should have him even more seasoned by summer workouts.

* DB Robenson Therezie, 5-10, 195: The Tigers’ defensive back class is loaded with talent around Therezie, with Erique Florence, Jonathan Rose and Jermaine Whitehead. What sets Therezie apart is the fact he can play either corner or safety just as easily. He’s got the speed and cover skills to be a corner, and the heavy hitting skills to intimidate as a safety. Auburn lost some from Column A and Column B to graduation, so his versatility is at a premium.

* DT Gabe Wright, 6-4, 310: Auburn was on Wright for the better part of two years and wanted him in a big way. They’re going to need him right off the bat with the loss of Nick Fairley and graduations of Mike Blanc and Zach Clayton. He’s got a good mixture of size and speed and a frame that looks like it can handle some more mass. “Nick who?” indeed.

3 potential program-makers

* ATH Quan Bray, 5-10, 170: There’s no telling what kinds of things Gus Malzahn can dream up for Bray. The hybrid back from LaGrange, Ga., has the shiftiness of a running back, the hands of a receiver and speed to burn. He can play any one of about a million roles in Malzahn’s offense, and will probably get every chance to. Think Onterio McCalebb, with a little more durability.

* QB Kiehl Frazier, 6-3, 210: Frazier was kind of the forgotten man on Signing Day, just because he had been in Auburn’s camp so long and there was really no drama with him. But 4,139 yards of total offense and 64 touchdowns as a senior show just how big of a bang Frazier can make. Auburn fans are making him out to be the heir to the dual-threat throne of Cam Newton. And, with extensive experience in a Malzahn-style offense, they might not be far off.

* DB Jonathan Rose, 6-1, 175: Rose is the rarest of breeds for a cornerbacks coach: an athlete that has the foot speed to keep up with receivers and the frame to body up with them as well. Rose is comfortable with the ball in his hands — as his numerous interceptions and touchdown catches as a receiver at Leeds High show — and can also make his presence felt in the return game.

A sleeper

* DT Angelo Blackson, 6-5, 295: A bit of an unknown quantity because Auburn plucked him from a small Christian school in Delaware, of all places. But Blackson has a Fairley-type skill set and a lot of room to grow. And everyone has seen what Tracy Rocker can do with a project.

Strongest group

* Offensive line: Even without Kouandjio, this group is stacked. Dismukes, Christian Westerman, Greg Robinson and Thomas O’Reilly all look like they could step in and start tomorrow if need be. Those four have the makings of another Pugh, Mike Berry, Byron Isom and Lee Ziemba.

Weakest group

* Linebackers: On paper, the Tigers addressed one of their largest need areas with three-star recruits Justin Garrett and Chris Landrum. But factor in elite athlete Kris Frost — who can play linebacker or wide receiver — and three-star safety Anthony Swain — who, with the stacked DB class, could be bulking up to play linebacker — and it doesn’t look so bad anymore. Time will tell.

dmorrison@oanow.com | 737-2568

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