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Signing day pledges from Craig-Myers, Brown give Auburn's defense, passing game needed boosts


AUBURN, Alabama — The Auburn Tigers appear to have given their passing game and defensive line much-needed boosts.

The Tigers landed four wide receivers, two quarterbacks and a 5-star defensive tackle with a strong finish on Wednesday. They struggled at quarterback all season but also lost two of the top three receivers from a group that already lacked consistent playmakers.

Auburn also signed four defensive backs and five defensive linemen, attempting to shore up one of the Southeastern Conference's worst defenses and a weak pass rush. The Tigers are trying to rebound from a 7-6 season that began with high expectations. The biggest coup of the day was landing defensive tackle Derrick Brown of Sugar Hill, Georgia, during the afternoon. He joins longtime defensive end commitment Marlon Davidson of Greenville, Alabama, who is rated a five-star prospect by Rivals.

Auburn didn't appear to miss a beat in recruiting with Kevin Steele replacing as defensive coordinator and several other assistant coaching defections.

Other things to know:

Top 25 Class: Yes.

Best in class: DT Derrick Brown, Sugar Hill, Georgia is rated as the nation's ninth-best prospect overall in the 247Sports composite rankings.

Best of the rest: DE Marlon Davidson, WR Nate Craig-Myers, OL Prince Michael Sammons.

Late addition: Brown, Craig-Myers.

One that got away: Auburn recruited LB Ben Davis, who is heading to Alabama.

How they'll fit in: The Tigers will have a defensive line rotation featuring five five-star recruits. JUCO quarterback John Franklin III, an early enrollee listed as an athlete, will likely compete with and for the starting spot during the spring, and multiple receivers need to make impacts.

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