Auburn's 2018 signing class was lacking in one area in particular when National Signing Day came to a close -- the offensive line.
After signing just two linemen this cycle, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn admitted the Tigers would have liked to add one or two more offensive linemen to the roster. Although the Tigers missed out on their top high school targets on the line, they may not be done adding to the class.
Rice graduate transfer Calvin Anderson is set to take an official visit to the Plains this weekend, and Auburn is right in the thick of it, making the top five for the 6-foot-5, 300-pounder -- though the Tigers still have ground to make up.
"The best way I'd put it now is that Texas and Michigan are first tier," Anderson told Sports Illustrated. "Behind them is Auburn, and then [Oklahoma] and then TCU. It's mostly fluid, though, from No. 1 through 4, with TCU a little less likely."
According to the SI report, Texas A&M could make a late push for Anderson and supplant TCU in his top five after the Aggies offered him a scholarship earlier in the week.
Anderson, a former two-star recruit coming out of high school, started 36 straight games at Rice. Last season, Anderson allowed just seven pressures in pass protection last season, according to Pro Football Focus, which was tied for the third-fewest among returning FBS tackles.
Anderson announced on Jan. 6 that he intended to seek a grad transfer following his redshirt junior season, and Auburn did not wait long to pursue him.
Then-Auburn offensive line coach Herb Hand visited Anderson on Jan. 13, shortly before leaving for Texas, which is the perceived favorite to land the offensive tackle. Once Auburn named J.B. Grimes as Hand's replacement on the Tigers' staff, Grimes' first order of business was to visit Anderson on Jan. 17.
Malzahn and Chip Lindsey visited Anderson a week later on Jan. 23, before Lindsey and Grimes paid him a visit on Jan. 31. Anderson has already made visits to his top two schools, Texas and Michigan, and Auburn will try to make up ground this weekend during his official visit.
Anderson hopes to make a decision by March 25, his 22nd birthday, according to SI, but a decision could come not long after his official visit this weekend.
Very appreciative of @CoachGusMalzahn and @CoachLindseyWDE for flying out to see me last night! Great talk about family, football, and future pic.twitter.com/aY7vyLRMlv-- Calvin Anderson (@THE_CONDA25) January 23, 2018
Tom Green is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Tomas_Verde.