Auburn Football Recruiting: Jeff Holland Leaning Towards, Recruiting For Tigers?


Four-star Florida linebacker Jeff Holland has a clear leader for his services as a collegiate player, and he may even be convincing others to join him as a member of the 2015 Auburn football recruiting class.

“I think Auburn is the leader right now,” Holland told the Orlando Sentinal this week while preparing for the Under Armour All-American Game. “I’m familiar with the coaches there and I feel at home there. I like Florida and UCLA and I’m going to take my official to UCLA [Jan. 16].”

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Holland, a 6-foot-2, 230-pound Jacksonville native, is ranked as the 87th best player in the 247Sports Composite. He’s considered a top ten prospect nationally among outside linebackers and a top 20 player in the Sunshine State. Earlier this year, he was split between the Tigers and Florida, but one factor may have swayed him.

Florida’s head coach for the entirety of Holland’s high school career – and the man that made the Gators such an intriguing option during that time – now works for Auburn. Will Muschamp was fired in Gainesville and recently became Auburn’s defensive coordinator.

“That’s a key factor … absolutely,” Holland said of Muschamp. “I’m familiar with him and [Auburn head coach Gus] Malzahn and those are the top coaches that are recruiting me and that’s big.”

Oct 11, 2014; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp reacts against the LSU Tigers during the first half at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

With Muschamp leading the defense in 2015, the Tigers will need more linebackers on the roster and on the field than they utilized under former DC Ellis Johnson. Muschamp will implement a multiple 4-3 defense, though he will often incorporates looks with four linebackers as well, instead of the 4-2-5 scheme Johnson preferred.

However, 2014 starting linebackers Casanova McKinzy and Kris Frost (despite exploring their NFL Draft prospects) are likely to return, as well as top reserves Anthony Swain and Tre’ Williams. Still, the position is relatively thin overall, and would get much thinner if McKinzy and/or Frost unexpectedly decide to go pro.

Either way, Holland has the talent to contribute as a true freshman. He would be the fifth linebacker in the 2015 Auburn football recruiting class, but he’s generally considered to be a better prospect than Darrell Williams, Richard McBryde, Montravious Atkinson and Elijah Sullivan.

And, Holland could also sway some other highly touted players to choose the Tigers. This week, according to the Sentinal, Holland has been in the ear of fellow All-American Byron Cowart, one of the nation’s highest rated high school players.

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  • Landing Holland would be terrific for the Tigers, but adding Cowart would be even better. Holland isn’t likely to start on Day One. Cowart, on the other hand, might.

    The Seffner, Florida native is ranked fourth overall in the 247Sports Composite, first nationally as a strong side defensive end, and second in the state.

    The Tigers will return starters Gimel President and DaVonte Lambert in 2015, and will add All-SEC caliber defender Carl Lawson, who missed all season with a torn ACL, but Cowart has the talent as a 6-foot-4, 260-pound pass rusher (who has dominated UA All-American Game practices thus far), to be an impact player as a true freshman. Plus, he appears to be a perfect fit for the “Buck” hybrid defensive end/linebacker Muschamp utilizes.

    Cowart is a long shot to sign with Auburn, but the Tigers are in his final three. With Holland’s recruiting though, Byron Cowart could come around to the idea of playing college football on the Plains.

    Next: Outback Bowl: Auburn vs Wisconsin Preview & Prediction

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