AUBURN — Tank Bigsby sat at a table at Callaway High School in Hogansville, Georgia, with four hats laid out in front of him: Auburn, Georgia, LSU and South Carolina.
The four-star running back ranked No. 31 overall and No. 7 at his position in the Class of 2020 thanked his family, his teammates and his coaches. Then he reached under the table, picked up a fifth hat off the ground and placed it on his head.
White, with an interlocking "AU."
"I'm going to be taking my career to the next step. I'm going to be going to Auburn University," Bigsby said on a livestream. "The atmosphere, the coaches and just being around good people. ... they remind me so much of my own team, and I feel like they're honest people. I feel like it's home there."
The 6-foot, 210-pound Bigsby is the second-highest rated running back commit of the Gus Malzahn era and highest-rated since Roc Thomas, who signed as a five-star ranked No. 4 nationally in the Class of 2014 but transferred after two seasons.
He's also the second running back to commit during Cadillac Williams' short tenure as running backs, following four-star 2021 commit Armoni Goodwin out of Hewitt-Trussville, who ranks No. 77 nationally and fifth at the position.
It seemed for a long time during Bigsby's recruiting process that home-state Georgia or South Carolina were the favorites to land him, but his last official visit to any school was Auburn on June 7, and he took three more unofficial visits to the Plains after that.
"It took a lot of thought," Bigsby said of his decision. "I was just praying to God, and God was with me the whole time, man. I prayed, and he gave me an image, and I said it was home."
Bigsby gives Auburn 18 current members in its 2020 recruiting class. That’s the most the program has through the month of August during Malzahn’s seven-year tenure as head coach (which dates back to 2013), and it’s only Aug. 9 — there are still three weeks left until September.
Bigsby’s pledge also vaults the Tigers from No. 12 all the way up to No. 6 in the 247Sports composite class rankings, which would tie the highest-ranked class of the Malzahn era (2014).
Those numbers are the result of a torrid 10-week stretch of summer that originated with Big Cat Weekend on June 1. Auburn entered its annual recruiting weekend with seven committed players (including Goodwin in 2021) and has racked up 13 since — 12 for this cycle, one for 2021 (four-star quarterback Aaron McLaughlin) and another for 2022 (cornerback Andre Stewart).
Those six 2020 commitments had the Tigers’ class off to a decent start. They had the first quarterback of the Kenny Dillingham era (three-star Chayil Garnett); two wide receivers (four-stars J.J Evans and Kobe Hudson); yet another defensive lineman to add to Rodney Garner’s arsenal (three-star end Daniel Foster-Allen); and a pair of offensive linemen (three-stars Jonathan Buskey and Avery Jernigan), which is by far the team’s biggest need going into next year.
They also had five decommitments — defensive linemen Andy Boykin and Damarjhe Lewis (who remain uncommitted), running back Deondre Jackson (who has since committed to Texas A&M) and four-star in-state linebackers Quandarrius Robinson and Demouy Kennedy (who are both now committed to rival Alabama).
But the work Auburn has done since Big Cat Weekend has more than made up for a somewhat slow start. It has added four more offensive linemen, three linebackers, two more wide receivers, two defensive backs and now a running back.