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Hugh Freeze Introduces New Holiday to the Plains: Flipmas

AUBURN, Ala. (EETV) – While the rest of the sports world’s eyes were locked on the World Cup Final, Hugh Freeze and the Auburn football team collected three more commits to add to their 2023 class.

The Tigers started the morning with the 41st-ranked class according to 247Sports. That number has now jumped to 26 following the commitments of Sylvester Smith, Rivaldo Fairweather and Stephen Johnson. The team also boasts the 12th-ranked transfer rank.

The first player to commit was 4-star safety, Sylvester Smith. Smith hails from the small town of Mumford, Alabama which is just under a two-hour drive from Auburn’s campus.

Smith played his high school ball at Mumford Highschool which competes at the 4a level. While he’s coming to the plains to play safety, Smith played multiple roles on both sides of the ball. In his senior season, he started at quarterback rushing for 1,735 yards and 24 touchdowns averaging a whopping 10.2 yards per carry. He also completed 47 of 93 passes for 606 yards and seven touchdowns.

Smith spent the weekend in Auburn on an unofficial visit. The athlete de-commited from Tennessee on Saturday before committing to the Tigers early Sunday morning. Smith is the No. 222 overall player, No. 17 safety and the No. 16 player in the state of Alabama

Smith was recruited by Zac Etheridge and Wesley McGriff with McGriff recruiting him since he was on Billy Napier's staff at Florida.

The next commit for the Tigers was the first transfer of the Freeze era, FIU tight end Rivaldo Fairweather.

Fairweather is rated as the No. 17 player in the 247Sports transfer portal player rankings and the No. 3 tight end. His commitment comes after his official visit to the Plains. Auburn was the first offer for Fairweather once he entered the portal on Dec. 5

The Lauderhill, Florida native played three years at FIU totaling 54 receptions for 838 yards and five touchdowns. The best game of his career came in his final game with the Golden Panthers in which he hauled in eight passes for 152 yards and three touchdowns.

Fairweather, who has two years of eligibility left, was recruited by new tight ends coach Ben Aigamaua.

The final player to commit on Sunday morning was 3-star defensive lineman Stephen Johnson.

Johnson’s recruitment was a quick ride with the Tigers first offering him on Tuesday before setting up an official visit this weekend. It ended almost as quickly as it started with Johnson de-committing from Arkansas and committing to Auburn on Sunday morning.

The Fayetteville, Georgia native earned All-Region honors his senior year after totaling 74 tackles, 4 sacks, an INT, a FF and a FR.

Johnson is the fifth player to flip their commitment to the Tigers since Hugh Freeze took over on Nov. 28.

This week should prove to be a busy week for recruiting across college football with the Early Signing Period running from Dec. 21 to Dec. 23 before National Signing Day occurs on Feb. 1.


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