Early enrolling is crucial to any football recruit hoping to play his freshman year. Its advantages are numerous, but in essence, its greatest one is this: early enrollees are allowed to practice with the team in the spring, getting a valuable edge over their late arriving peers.
Auburn has 21 current commitments for the 2014 class, and while many remain just verbal pledges, the Tigers have five early enrollees who are already on campus, two of whom are 4-star recruits.
Interestingly enough, both of those early enrolling 4-star recruits are transfers from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College: wide receiver D'haquille Williams and safety Derrick Moncrief. The duo -- both of whom rank as the top JUCO player at their respective positions this year -- are poised to make an immediate impact for Auburn next season, with Williams rated as the top JUCO player in the country on the 247sports composite.
Williams and Moncrief are joined by three other early enrollers: Monroe (Ga.) Area athlete Stanton Truitt; Suwanee (Ga.) Lambert tight end Chris Laye; and Wesson (Miss.) Copiah-Lincoln Community College center Xavier Dampeer. All three have 3-star rankings according to the 247sports composite, but Dampeer should be the one to keep an eye on in this group, at least for now -- he is the second ranked JUCO center in 2014.
Still to come
As for Auburn's 16 other commitments, nothing is binding until their signatures come in on National Signing Day on Feb. 5.
Their top verbal commitment right now comes from 247sports composite 5-star running back Racean "Roc" Thomas, who hails from Oxford, Ala. The immensely talented Thomas runs a reported 4.48 and trails only two other backs in the 2014 class in the rankings -- New Orleans (La.) St. Augustine's Leonard Fournette, who may be the top player in the country this year, and Miami (Fla.) Central's Dalvin Cook, who is early enrolled at Florida State.
Aside from its headliner Thomas, Auburn also hopes to secure the 4-star talents of Mobile (Ala.) St. Paul's Episcopal inside linebacker Tre' Williams and Kingsland (Ga.) Camden County cornerback Kalvaraz Bessent, as well. Williams is considered to be the second-ranked inside backer in the 2014 class, while Bessent is a top-10 cornerback, and both are among the top 80 players this year.