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October 19, 2009Auburn hosted one official visitor over the weekend in addition to dozens of unofficial guests.
Among the large group of unofficial visitors were several Auburn commitments including the highest-rated one, Rivals100 offensive tackle Shon Coleman.
The 6-foot-7, 285-pound four-star, rated by Rivals.com as the No. 10 offensive tackle and No. 76 overall recruit in the country, made the trip to the Plains along with teammate and fellow offensive lineman Eric Lawson.
Although the Tigers lost to Kentucky 21-14, Coleman said it didn't put much of a damper on his visit.
"It still went really good," he said. "I got there around 3:45 p.m. and went to the stadium. We met up with all the coaches, went to the Tiger Walk and ate. Before the game, we went into the locker room and looked around.
"I talked to all of the coaches. They were excited to see me there, especially Coach (Trooper) Taylor."
While on his visit to Auburn, Coleman met and spent time with the newest Tiger pledge, another four-star lineman, Ed Christian, who committed to Auburn Sunday following his official visit.
"Ed texted me (Sunday afternoon) and told me," said Coleman. "He was excited and so was I. I knew he was going to. He told me he was going to commit at halftime Saturday night."
Coleman said he is already planning to be back in Auburn for at least one more game, possibly two. He would also return following the season for an official visit.
The loss Saturday night to the Wildcats is something Coleman sees Auburn can build on. It also showed him the opportunity for early playing time on the Plains.
"It was kind-of surprising to me they lost, but I just look at it as something to look back on and get better," he said. "I can see that there's an opportunity there for early playing time. They need some depth. They need some offensive linemen. I could go in there and make an early impact."
Besides Coleman's planned trips back to Auburn, he's yet to set up any other visits, but does appear determined to take some.
"I know I'm going back to Auburn for the Iron Bowl, but I may be back before then," he said. "Those would be unofficial visits, and I'll be back after the season for an official visit.
"I still like Auburn. I like the coaches and the chance for me to play. I think it would be a good situation for me."
AHS junior DE makes trip
Auburn (Ala.) High junior defensive end LaMichael Fanning, 6-foot-6, 285 pounds, made his second visit to the Plains this season. Fanning, expected to be a top junior in the state in 2011, attended the Tigers' 37-13 season-opening win over Louisiana Tech before returning Saturday night.
"Everything went good," said Fanning. "I just went to the game, talked to some coaches and enjoyed myself. I talked to a couple of the coaches including Coach (Gene) Chizik. They were all glad to see me."
Fanning recently made the move to Auburn from Hogansville, Ga. He's already picked up several early offers including ones from Auburn, Alabama, Georgia, Clemson, Cal, North Carolina and South Carolina, among many others.
With each trip to Auburn, he's getting more and more comfortable with the surroundings, particularly the coaches.
"I really like the coaches. They all seem pretty cool," he said. "They are all real honest and upfront with you. I like Auburn. I'm just taking everything in right now. I have a lot of time to go."
Fanning has yet to visit any other games this season, but said he'd likely be back in Auburn for the Iron Bowl (Nov. 27). It's still too early to name any favorites, he said, but a handful of SEC schools currently have his attention.
"Auburn, Alabama, Georgia and Florida are some of the ones I'm looking at," he said.
Fanning doesn't plan to make an early decision. Auburn High will travel to cross-town rival Opelika Friday night. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
Thornton makes last-minute change
Stone Mountain four-star defensive tackle Mike Thornton was scheduled to attend the Auburn-Kentucky game, but decided last-minute to stay closer to home.
"I was planning on going to Auburn with my running back Raymond Sanders (a Kentucky commitment), but we decided to stay home and go to the Georgia Tech game," said Thornton, from Stephenson, Ga.
Georgia Tech upset No. 5 Virginia Tech 28-23 Saturday.
"It went pretty good," Thornton said of his visit to Atlanta. "That was my first time at a Georgia Tech game and it went good. It was a good win for them. Everything went good."
Thornton said he does plan to visit Auburn again, possibly as early as the next home game, Oct. 31 against Ole Miss. He continues to stay in contact with the Tiger coaches and remains high on the Tigers.
"I talked to Coach (Tommy) Thigpen the other night and talked about my game against MLK," he said. "I still like Auburn a lot. I'll be there at least one or two more times before the end of the season."