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PI EXCLUSIVE: Auburn Transfer Safety Donovan Kaufman Breaks Down Official Visit to NC State

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This past weekend, Auburn Transfer Safety Donovan Kaufman (5’10″/204) took an Official Visit to NC State. I caught up with Kaufman to get his take on the experience.

Break down the experience of the Official Visit. What did you do?

I toured the facility, met the staff, watched some film with the coaches, got to get around some of the players, and looked over some academics.

What were your interactions like with the coaches? What was their pitch to you?

The interactions were good. It seemed very genuine. The culture is a winning culture. Their pitch was really just showing me the facts of the situation and that they have a great chance of making the playoffs.

What was your favorite part of this visit?

My favorite part of the visit was them showing me how they could develop me mentally.

After entering the Portal, what led you to take an Official Visit to NC State?

Honestly, they asked if I wanted to come and I said yes. They were one of the schools who reached out to me the first or second day I was in the portal.

After the visit, where do things stand with you and the Wolfpack?

Things are pretty good with us.

What was it like to visit with Auburn teammate Cam Riley?

It was a good feeling, just knowing everything we had been through, it was good to be able to go through the new chapter together, especially with us both having one year remaining.

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Rivals ranked Kaufman as a 4-Star prospect in the 2020 recruiting class. They ranked him as the #186 overall player nationally, the #11 Safety, and the #9 player in the state of Louisiana. Out of high school, Kaufman committed to Vanderbilt.

In his first season of college football, Kaufman played 2 games (started) for the Commodores as a True Freshman, collecting 15 tackles and a pass breakup in limited action.

In 2021, Kaufman transferred to Auburn, where he played in 13 games as a Freshman (2020 didn’t count against eligibility due to Covid), starting in 7 of them. In 414 snaps, Kaufman had 33 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 interception, 2 pass breakups and 3 forced fumbles.

In 2022, Kaufman was the returning starter at Safety, starting in the first 7 games, before suffering an injury that kept him out of the final 4 games. Still, he played in 459 snaps, which was a new career high. As a Sophomore, Kaufman recorded a career high 39 tackles, as well as 2 pass breakups and 1 forced fumble. His PFF grade was 72.1 that year, which is the best grade of his career.

In 2021, Kaufman transferred to Auburn, where he played in 13 games as a Freshman (2020 didn’t count against eligibility due to Covid), starting in 7 of them. In 414 snaps, Kaufman had 33 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 interception, 2 pass breakups and 3 forced fumbles.

In 2022, Kaufman was the returning starter at Safety, starting in the first 7 games, before suffering an injury that kept him out of the final 4 games. Still, he played in 459 snaps, which was a new career high. As a Sophomore, Kaufman recorded a career high 39 tackles, as well as 2 pass breakups and 1 forced fumble. His PFF grade was 72.1 that year, which is the best grade of his career.

NC State is returning both of their starting Safeties from 2023 in Devan Boykin and Sean Brown. Boykin is recovering from a torn ACL suffered in December, so I’m not sure what his status will be heading into Game 1. Robert Kennedy III started for the Wolfpack at Nickel this past year, and he has run out of eligibility, leaving a hole there. I could see Boykin moving to Nickel. Either way, there will be a starting role open at Nickel, or one of the Safety positions if Boykin moved to Safety.

Matthew is Co-Owner of Pack Insider. He writes for all sports, with a focus on football and recruiting, and is in charge of business strategy. He is an NC State alum who majored in business. Matthew is also the lead pastor of The Point Church in Cary, NC.

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