Hugh Freeze was eager to get out and start recruiting before he even held his introductory press conference late last month.
Now, after a little more than three weeks of relentless effort on the recruiting trail, Freeze is ready to see the fruits of his and his coaching staff’s labors as the early signing period gets underway. Wednesday marks the beginning of the early signing period for the 2023 class, as many of the nation’s top prospects will sign their letters of intent and secure the next step in their football careers. For Freeze and the rest of Auburn’s coaching staff, Wednesday will be the culmination of a marathon few weeks of trying to put together a strong transitional class on the Plains. The Tigers’ 2023 class ranked in the 60s at the end of October when then-coach Bryan Harsin was fired; it enters the start of the early signing period ranked 23rd in the nation, according to the 247Sports Composite team rankings.
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Auburn heads into Wednesday with 20 overall commitments — 18 in the 2023 high school/JUCO class and a pair of pledges from the transfer portal — after a busy couple of days leading up to the early signing period. Auburn added three commitments on Sunday and then followed it with four additions Tuesday. Freeze and the Tigers will begin signing those players and shoring up the 2023 class with the hopes of picking up more members throughout the day Wednesday.
AL.com will provide live updates of all the developments during the first day of the early signing period in the space below. We will track signings as Auburn announces them, as well as provide updates on the rest of the Tigers’ key targets set to make their decisions throughout the day leading up to Freeze’s 1 pm press conference to recap the class. So, be sure to refresh the page for all the latest updates, and stay tuned to AL.com/auburnfootball for more coverage of Auburn’s early signing day efforts.
EARLY SIGNING DAY
— 9:25 am: Four-star safety Terrance Love has signed. One of Auburn’s top-ranked commits has sent in his letter of intent. Love is rated as the No. 24 safety in the 2023 class and is a top-275 overall prospect in the country. A 6-foot-3, 195-pounder out of Langston Hughes High in Fairburn, Ga., Love has been committed to Auburn since April and stuck with the Tigers throughout the process.
— 9:15 am: Three-star quarterback Hank Brown has signed. The former Liberty commit, who received an offer from Auburn in recent days and committed on Tuesday, has sent in his letter of intent. Brown is a 6-foot-4, 195-pounder out of Nashville, Tenn., who played at Lipscomb Academy for now-UAB coach Trent Dilfer. He had been committed to Freeze at Liberty, and it didn’t take long for him to make the jump to Auburn after Freeze and staff extended him a scholarship offer to come play in the SEC.
— 9:01 am: Three-star offensive lineman Connor Lew’s NLI is in. Lew signed his letter of intent about an hour ago, and now he’s officially on board with Auburn. The 6-foot-3, 280-pounder flipped from Miami to Auburn on Dec. 13 after the Tigers were initially in the mix back in the fall. Lew is the fourth high school offensive lineman to sign in this class. That’s now the most high school linemen in a single class for Auburn since it signed five of them in the 2015 cycle.
— 8:45 am: Four-star safety Tony Mitchell, an Alabama commit out of Thompson and the No. 7 overall player in the state, is expected to stick with his commitment and sign with the Tide today. Auburn had been in the mix for Mitchell, and there was talk of a possible flip to either Auburn or Texas A&M for the nation’s No. 54 overall prospect.
— 8:45 am: Auburn’s first transfer signee is in. Vanderbilt defensive end transfer Elijah McAllister has sent in his letter of intent. A sixth-year senior, McAllister committed to Auburn on Tuesday during a flurry of action for the Tigers on the recruiting front. He brings 37 games of experience at the SEC level to Auburn’s defensive front.
— 8:20 am: Three-star Loachapoka defensive back JC Hart’s NLI is in for Auburn. Hart, who is from just down the road in Loachapoka, is rated as the 68th-best cornerback in the 2023 class. The 6-foot-2, 175-pounder is a rangy playmaker who has been committed to Auburn since August. He received an offer from USC this last week, but he remained firm with Auburn.
— 8:18 am: Three-star offensive lineman Connor Lew signs his letter of intent at a signing ceremony at Kennesaw Mountain High in Acworth, Ga. Auburn has not yet announced Lew’s signing.
— 8 am: Three-star offensive tackle Tyler Johnson’s letter of intent has been received. The 6-foot-6, 300-pound tackle out of Natchitoches, La., is the third offensive lineman to sign with Auburn today. The Tigers haven’t signed three high school offensive linemen in a single class since 2019. Johnson flipped from Texas Tech to Auburn on Dec. 11.
— 7:50 am: Four-star defensive lineman Darron Reed is signed. The 6-foot-4, 270-pounder out of Columbus, Ga., has sent in his letter of intent. Reed is one of the highest-rated commits in the class for Auburn, ranked No. 188 overall in the 2023 class by the 247Sports Composite. He committed to Auburn on Nov. 25, flipping from LSU while Cadillac Williams was still interim coach on the Plains.
— 7:27 am: Three-star Loachapoka cornerback JC Hart posts on his Instagram account that he has signed with Auburn. The program has yet to announce it has received a letter of intent from Hart, who has been committed to the Tigers since August.
— 7:25 am: Four-star defensive back Sylvester Smith has signed. The Munford native has sent in his letter of intent. Smith, a 5-foot-11, 195-pound safety is rated as the No. 222 overall player in the 2023 class and the 17th-ranked safety. He flipped from Tennessee, where he had been committed since April, to Auburn after visiting the Plains last weekend.
— 7:10 am: Three-star offensive lineman Bradyn Joiner’s letter of intent is in. The Auburn High product is signed, sealed and delivered. Joiner is a 6-foot-2, 330-pounder interior lineman who is rated as the No. 33 player at his position in the 247Sports Composite rankings. He’s the longest-standing commit in the 2023 class for Auburn, having committed back on Jan. 1.
— 6:18 am: Three-star defensive lineman Stephen Johnson signs his letter of intent. Auburn has its second NLI of the day, as the 6-foot-4, 320-pound Johnson is officially on the board. Johnson was one of a trio of commitments Auburn received on Sunday, as he flipped his pledge from Arkansas after taking an official visit to the Plains.
— 6:09 am: Four-star offensive lineman Clay Wedin sends in his letter of intent. Wedin, the No. 28 interior lineman in the 2023 class, is the first official signee for Auburn and coach Hugh Freeze, as the program announced it has received his letter of intent. Wedin is a 6-foot-6, 295-pounder out of Tampa, Fla. While he’s listed as an interior lineman, he certainly has the frame to play tackle.
AL.com will update this post.
Tom Green is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Tomas_Verde.