Auburn football recruiting: Gus Malzahn tries to lock up strong first class

USA TODAY Sports

Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn has been on the job for a little over a month, and he's trying to haul in an impressive first recruiting class.

New Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn doesn't have an easy job. Malzahn is given the task of rebuilding the Tigers from the depths of their 3-9 2012 season and doing it in the same state as the Alabama Crimson Tide, who just won their third national title in four years. He can get off to a good start by pulling in a solid 2013 recruiting class.

With a new head coach and a completely overhauled staff, this class was expected by many to fall apart quickly. And while some former commits have defected, Malzahn has done a nice job of keeping most of the top talent in the fold -- at least for now. To keep these players committed, he hand his staff must push hard over the next few weeks.

The following players are important pieces in the class of 2013, and they could become major players for the Tigers in the future.

Carl Lawson, DE: Lawson is rated as a five-star by 247Sports and Rivals, and he could be a terror on the end of Auburn's defensive line. Lawson checks in at 6'3, 253 pounds and runs a 4.7 40-yard dash. He has the speed and agility to blow past offensive tackles and get to the quarterback. Rivals and 247Sports rank Lawson as the No. 1 defensive end in the class of 2013.

Dee Liner, DT: Liner, whose name is appropriate given his position, could pair nicely with Lawson in the future on the Tigers' defensive line. Another five-star player, Rivals ranks liner as the No. 2 defensive tackle, while 247Sports has him at No. 4. His commitment to Auburn is reportedly shaky, and Alabama could be a player late in the game, so Liner is definitely one to watch.

Jeremy Johnson, QB: With all of the struggles Auburn had at quarterback in 2012, adding a top QB to the roster would be nice. Johnson is a consensus four-star, and while he has a pro-style background, he has said he loves Malzahn's spread offense. At 6'6, 215 pounds, Johnson has the size and raw talent to be great.

Earnest Robinson, WR: Wide receiver is another position Auburn struggled with in 2012, and adding a four-star talent like Robinson could be a big help. Robinson has the size (6'3, 200 pounds) and speed (4.5 40-yard dash) to be a serious threat on the outside. Rivals has him listed as the No. 4 receiver in the class.

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