3 arrested Auburn softball players will be in uniform vs. Mississippi State, but remain suspended indefinitely

Haley Fagan, Makayla Martin and Brittany Maresette, the three Auburn softball players who were arrested in the early morning hours on April 20 and charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, are practicing with the team and will be…

Lawyers claim grand jury declined to prosecute former Auburn football player Landon Rice

Landon Rice’s lawyers claim he and the woman who accused him of rape last year went before a grand jury in Lee County earlier this month, which declined to indict the former Auburn tight end on “any charge.”

Lawyers claim grand jury declined to prosecute former Auburn football player Landon Rice on ‘any charge’

Landon Rice's lawyers claim he and the woman who accused him of rape last year went before a grand jury in Lee County earlier this month, which declined to indict the former Auburn tight end on “any charge.”

Landon Rice’s lawyers claim he and the woman who accused him of rape last year went before a grand jury in Lee County earlier this month, which declined to indict the former Auburn tight end on “any charge.”

“On April 12, 2017, a Lee County grand jury decided there was not sufficient evidence to support any charge against Landon Rice,” a statement fromAugusta S. Dowd and Kelly Brennan stated Thursday. “The members of the grand jury were presented with facts and heard the testimony of both Landon and his accuser. It is correct that Landon passed a lie detector test shortly after the allegations were made. Landon Rice has never been arrested or charged with any crime.

“Landon is glad that this matter is behind him. He is currently considering opportunities to play football with Division I schools.”

Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes did not immediately have a comment on the matter.

Rice is currently playing football at Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C. and is expected to play this fall.

On Monday, he tweeted he received an offer from Louisville, who later denied it is recruiting Rice, who later deleted the tweet.

AL.com will update this story.

Complicated history binds Reuben Foster, Zach Cunningham entering NFL Draft

Zach Cunningham and Reuben Foster are among the top interior linebacker prospects entering the 2017 NFL Draft. They can play the same position and they're both incredible football players. Beyond that, the reputations they have cultivated over the past few months couldn't be any more different.

The pasts and futures of two players in the NFL Draft are intertwined like Alabama kudzu.

Vanderbilt’s Zach Cunningham has been passed over three times in his career for Alabama’s Reuben Foster. It could happen a fourth time in the first round of the NFL Draft, but Foster has given NFL executives reasons to question his character.

If Foster falls in the draft, Cunningham could benefit. Whatever happens, NFL executives and fans likely will be comparing both players throughout their careers. As it happens, that’s been the case in Alabama for the past four years. Cunningham is from the Birmingham suburb of Pinson and chose Vanderbilt in large part because Foster, a native of Auburn, couldn’t decide on his hometown team or Alabama until National Signing Day in 2013.

Foster’s decisions have been indirectly affecting Cunningham for years. The NFL Draft will be just another chapter in their oddly related lives.

Cunningham and Foster are among the top interior linebacker prospects entering the 2017 NFL Draft. They can play the same position and they’re both incredible football players. Beyond that, the reputations they have cultivated over the past few months couldn’t be any more different.

Is the NFL really trying to clean up its image, or is all that just lip service? Where Cunningham is drafted in relation to Foster will be a good indicator of the truth.

Choosing savagery over cerebral is the preferred business model in the brutal world of the NFL, and that’s not changing. What has changed, however, is the public image of America’s favorite sport. It has deteriorated. Given the current climate of the league, are NFL executives placing more value on character in this draft? Cunningham vs. Foster could set the tone.

The Dick Butkus Award winner in 2016, Foster has spent the last few months damaging his reputation with questionable decisions. First there was the incident with a hospital employee during the NFL combine, and later it was revealed that he tested positive for a diluted urine sample.

There is no denying Foster has the talent and ability to reshape an NFL defense. If he goes in the first round, though, teams will be taking a chance on drafting a player with question marks.

Cunningham, meanwhile, has been tagged with an entirely different set of doubts. Teams have questioned his toughness. Is he dedicated enough to football? Is he too thoughtful for this game of cold ruthlessness? During their research on Cunningham, NFL personnel called Cunningham’s high school coach, Matt Glover, and asked why Cunningham was quiet during interviews.

“He is a real quiet kid,” Glover said. “That’s just Zach. He has always been a real quiet kid. He has never really been boisterous. He was never a Facebook guy or a Twitter guy. He wasn’t none of that in high school. He just showed up and did his job and went home and kept good grades.”

For any other job, those personality traits would be highly desired by an employer. That’s not the NFL, though. Or at least that’s the image the league has cultivated for itself.

So, to explain Cunningham’s toughness to NFL personnel types, Glover found himself repeating a story of the time the best player he has ever coached played an entire game after a concussion without complaint or drop in performance.

In the NFL, that’s the stuff of winners.

That’s the sad truth of pro football. Despite what Roger Goodell might say, the NFL remainsa league that wants linebackers to play through concussions. Cunningham did that in his last high school football game, and finished with 16 tackles.

It was a second round playoff game between Cunningham’s Pinson Valley and Muscle Shoals. Muscle Shoals devised a plan on the first play the game, says Glover, to knock Cunningham out of action. After the ball was snapped, a receiver ran across the field and cracked Cunningham from behind.

“I didn’t know it at the time, but when we went back and watched the film, he had a concussion,” Glover said. “It knocked him woozy. He ended up having like 16 tackles that game and I asked him if he remembered anything and he said, ‘I don’t remember anything.’ So, he just did that off instinct.”

Stories like that play well when it comes to the NFL Draft.

Will Cunningham’s thoughtful demeanor keep him from rising above Foster, and his questions of character? The NFL values brutality above all things, and Foster plays with a reckless abandon that coaches salivate over. It has shaped not only Foster’s career, but also Cunningham’s.

Foster was chosen over Cunningham for the Under Armour All-American Game their senior seasons, and later that year Auburn withheld a scholarship offer to Cunningham with the hopes of signing Foster.

Cunningham was driving to Vanderbilt for an official visit when he learned that Auburn was only taking three linebackers with the 2013 class, and the Tigers’ coaches were saving a spot for Foster. Cunningham was the odd man out, so instead of taking his chances on signing day, he made the smart decision and committed to Vandy.

Foster snubbed Auburn and chose Alabama. The history between Cunningham and Auburn made his stellar performance against the Tigers last season all the sweeter. His leaping play on special teams to block an Auburn field goal was arguably the SEC’s play of the year. He finished that game with nine tackles.

Later in the year, Foster was chosen for the Butkus Award over Cunningham despite Cunningham leading the SEC with 125 tackles. Foster’s accomplishments and otherworldly plays have been well documented. Both are excellent players who have shown advanced intelligence on a football field. Off-the-field decisions of one player, though, might determine where both go in the draft.

Joseph Goodman is a columnist for Alabama Media Group. He’s on Twitter @JoeGoodmanJr.

Complicated history binds Reuben Foster, Zach Cunningham entering NFL Draft

Zach Cunningham and Reuben Foster are among the top interior linebacker prospects entering the 2017 NFL Draft. They can play the same position and they’re both incredible football players. Beyond that, the reputations they have cultivated over the past few months couldn’t be any more different.

Auburn’s Gus Malzahn asked if running quarterback needed for offense to work

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn talks Jarrett Stidham, Sean White and the evolving world of college football free agency with quarterbacks.

Cam Newton and Nick Marshall had one common talent while they were playing at Auburn.

They could run the ball.

Meanwhile, the offense struggled with Jeremy Johnson, more of a pocket passer, running the show for Auburn.

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn was askedThursday morning if he needed a runningquarterback for his offense to go as a competition for continues between Sean White and Jarrett Stidham.

Hisanswer was typical Malzahn.

“Probably more than anything, it is execution and efficiency,” Malzahn told The Opening Kickoff on WNSP-FM 105.5. “We’ve had different types of quarterbacks be extremely successful. We’ve always had the philosophy that we build around our quarterbacks’ strengths. We’ll do that.”

Not exactlyayes-or-no answer, but an answer, nonetheless.

White, who has battled injuries and was limited this spring, has rushed for just 198 yards over the past two seasons.

Newton rushed for 1,473 yards in a Heisman Trophy-winning, national championship season.

Meanwhile, Marshall ran for 1,866 over two seasons, which ended in the national title game.

Enter Stidham.

“What stands out to me about Jarret is his leadership ability,” Malzahn said. “He’s done agood job of really befriending his teammates, trying to earn the respect of his teammates and coaches.”

Of course, Stidham did complete 16-of-20 passes for 267 yards during Auburn’s A-Day.

“I’ll say this, too. Sean White is really raised his level since Jarett has been here. There’s nothing like good competition. (Offensive coordinator) Chip Lindsey was impressed.”

Wait, competition or controversy?

“Coaches look at it as a competition,” he explained. “The media looks at it the other way. There’s nothing better than competition. It brings out the best in everybody. From a coach’s standpoint, you want good solid competition at every position. That way they’re not comfortable. They are trying to get better.”

With that said – and with the trend of quarterbacks treating college football like a form of free agency – Malzahn was asked, in general, how does a coach combat losing depth at quarterback to transferring for more better time.

“You handle it by being honest with your players,” he said. “You want to give everybody a fair chance to win the job.”

Check out the entire interview at wnsp.com.

Auburn’s Gus Malzahn asked if running quarterback needed for offense to work

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn talks Jarrett Stidham, Sean White and the evolving world of college football free agency with quarterbacks.

RHP Casey Mize ‘available’ to pitch for No. 7 Auburn at No. 10 Mississippi State

Casey Mize isn’t yet a part of No. 7 Auburn’s starting rotation this weekend. Coach Butch Thompson announced Thursday morning that Keegan Thompson would start Friday at Mississippi State, Davis Daniel would pitch Saturday and that Sunday was still to…

Auburn women’s golf selected to NCAA Athens Regional – Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site

Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site
Auburn women's golf selected to NCAA Athens Regional
Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site
AUBURN, Ala. – The Auburn women's golf team will make its 21st postseason appearance in the last 22 years as the Tigers were selected to the NCAA Athens Regional, which will be played May 8-10 in Athens, Ga. Auburn, seeded 12th in the Athens…

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Hoover’s Shedrick Jackson, nephew of Bo Jackson, keeping options open despite lineage

Catching up with Hoover receiver Shedrick Jackson

The Auburn offer meant a lot to Hoover receiver Shedrick Jackson, but don’t assume he’s a lock to choose the Tigers despite his lineage.

Jackson’s great uncle (grandfather’s brother) is former Auburn star and 1985 Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson. He acknowledged that everyone assumes he is going to Auburn for that reason. Of course, Jackson also grew up an Auburn fan.

“I’m looking at all colleges,” Jackson said Wednesday after Hoover’s first spring practice. “I’ve been talking to (Auburn receivers) coach (Kodi) Burns about going down next week to talk to the coaches and build chemistry.

“I take it day by day. I’m trying to not really worry about recruiting, come out to get better wiht my team and help lead us to another state championship.”

Auburn offers Shedrick Jackson

The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder caught more than 60 passes and has more than 1,000 receiving yards as a sophomore and junior at Hoover. He caught 43 passes for 661 yards and three touchdowns last season and had four receptions for the Bucs in the AHSAA Class 7A state championship win over McGill-Toolen in December.

Jackson is a three-star recruit in the 247Sports composite.

Mississippi State and Georgia Tech also stand out for Jackson, he said. Vanderbilt is another school he is interested in, but the SEC East program has not yet offered. He’ll earn more offers this spring as coaches are able to hit the road for the evaluation period. Jacksonville State offered on Wednesday. Arkansas State, Memphis and Bowling Green are among other offers.

Former Hoover receivers coach raves about Shedrick Jackson

Jackson feels like good days are ahead for the Auburn offense.

“I like the way they conduct themselves on offense,” Jackson said of Auburn. “The way they have Coach (Gus) Malzahn, the past few years people say they’ve struggled, they just keep going and keep getting better.”

Mississippi State continues to make a good impression on Jackson.

“I love (receivers) coach (Billy) Gonzales,” Jackson said. “The coaching staff is great, including (head) coach (Dan) Mullen. I went down there on a visit two or three weeks ago and just hung out with them in practice. Seeing them run their offense in practice, it’s nice place.”

Watch out for Georgia Tech here. Jackson has made two recent trips to Atlanta – one where he earned an offer and another for the spring game.

“The big thing is the receivers they have had,” Jackson said. “(NFL all-pro) Calvin Johnson, that’s my favorite receiver of all time. Coach (Al) Preston, he knows what he’s doing with those guys.”

Georgia Tech runs the option offense and has also produced NFL stars such as Demaryius Thomas at the receiver position.

“With that option, it creates a lot of one-on-one (matchups) on the outside,” Jackson said. “That’s how you make plays.”

Jackson doesn’t seem like he’s in a rush to make his decision, but said there’s a chance he can graduate high school in December. If that’s the case, a summer commitment could happen.

Here’s what Jackson is looking for.

“Trying to build a chemistry, the way their coaches and players (conduct themselves) and if it’s a family atmosphere because here at Hoover, that’s what we have,” Jackson said. “It’s a lot of love. I know all these guys and love them.”

Hoover’s Shedrick Jackson, nephew of Bo Jackson, keeping options open despite lineage

Catching up with Hoover receiver Shedrick Jackson

SEC could produce its 19th No. 1 NFL Draft choice on Thursday night

The SEC might provide the No. 1 choice in the 2017 NFL Draft on Thursday night. Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett is among the players who has been mentioned as a possibility for the top choice. If Garrett does go No. 1 in the 82nd NFL Draft, he’d be the 19th SEC player chosen with the top pick.

SEC could produce its 19th No. 1 NFL Draft choice on Thursday night

The SEC might provide the No. 1 choice in the 2017 NFL Draft on Thursday night. Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett is among the players who has been mentioned as a possibility for the top choice. If Garrett does go No. 1 in the 82nd NFL Draft, he'd be the 19th SEC player chosen with the top pick.

Auburn football: How draft day has been a great day for the Tigers – SECcountry.com

SECcountry.com
Auburn football: How draft day has been a great day for the Tigers
SECcountry.com
Welcome to SEC Country's daily War Eagle Wakeup, a rundown of everything happening in Auburn football and Auburn Tigers athletics with Lauren Shute. Today, we discuss why the first day of the NFL draft is a great day to be a Tiger and an Auburn fan.

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Who will be the first Auburn player picked in the 2017 NFL draft?

Montravius Adams and Carl Lawson will continue compete with each other for at least one more weekend.

Who will be the first Auburn player picked in the 2017 NFL draft?

Montravius Adams and Carl Lawson will continue compete with each other for at least one more weekend.

Watch video

Montravius Adams and Carl Lawson have competed with each other for the better part of the last five years and the former Auburn defensive linemen will continue to do so for at least one more weekend.

Lawson and Adams will both hear their names called during this weekend’s NFL draft, with some prognosticators projecting the edge rusher as a late first-round pick while others are high on the interior defender.

The two bedrocks of Gus Malzahn’s first recruiting class at Auburn in 2013, Lawson and Adams were each heralded prospects from Georgia who competed together at the Under Armour All-American game and now will enter their professional careers at the same time.

“It’s very helpful, especially we came in together from eleventh grade to now,” said Adams, who had 44 tackles with 8.5 for loss including 4.5 sacks last season. “Having that experience together and always being together, we always help each other. He’s competitive with me, I’m competitive with him and when he’s not doing stuff, like (at pro day) he wasn’t doing the 40 but I did, is he’s always critiquing me just helping me with the little things so both of us can be that much better. I just love him for that.”

What Montravius Adams believes he’ll offer an NFL team

Projections have varied in recent weeks for Lawson, who led all defensive linemen at the NFL Combine in the bench press (35 reps) and 20-yard shuttle (4.19 seconds).

Some projections have the defensive end/outside linebacker as a potential late first-round pick, possibly to the Atlanta Falcons, while others are less high on Lawson due to his injury history and other measurables.

Auburn edge defender Carl Lawson has the skills to make an immediate impact as a pass rusher, but has work to do in run defense. pic.twitter.com/xga3eOXGkr

— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) April 25, 2017

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. believes Adams will go before Lawson, who he thinks could be a third or fourth-round pick.

Lawson believes he’s “easily” a first-round talentbut wasn’t getting caught up in the mock drafts and projections.

“The main thing that I take is that everybody has a different opinion on you,” said Lawson, who had 30 tackles with team-highs in tackles for loss (13.5) and sacks (nine) last season. “Not everybody is always going to be in your corner, but there’s some people who are going to be in your corner. At the same time, I don’t know who is, so that’s the main thing I’ve taken from it. I just want to be able to put my best foot forward all the time.”

Auburn could see several other players drafted this weekend, though they’ll likely have to wait until rounds 4-7 on Saturday.

Rudy Ford is in that mixand would check a lot of boxes for a team looking for a versatile defensive back that can contribute in a variety of special teams roles.

For a team willing to take on the injury history, Josh Holsey showed his twice-torn anterior cruciate ligament could not keep him from being productive.

Offensive linemen Alex Kozan and Robert Leff and wide receivers Tony Stevens and Marcus Davis are all possible late-round or priority free agents as well.

“We’ve got a lot of NFL players in this group too that are going to be very successful,” Malzahn said. “But really the most important thing is they’re going to be successful in life. All these guys have great character and I’m real proud in them.”

A look back: Auburn’s 30 first-round NFL Draft picks since 1950

Auburn has had 30 former players selected in the first round of the NFL Draft since 1950. Defensive end Carl Lawson and defensive tackle Montravius Adams, graduates of the 2016 team, hope they will become Nos. 31 and 32 on…

How much will the role of Auburn’s H-backs change this fall?

A breakdown of Auburn's H-backs after spring practice

How much will the role of Auburn’s H-backs change this fall?

A breakdown of Auburn’s H-backs after spring practice

Special Teams, and a Look at the Fall Schedule.

Carlson Special

Tigers have a phenomenal kicker in the house.
(Photo by Acid Reign.)

     War Eagle, everybody! It’s time now for a post-spring preview of the Auburn special teams. Given that returns aren’t live during A-Day, this is probably the most difficult unit to take anything meaningful off the field, in that scrimmage. Still, there are a few things to watch. I like to watch the warmups. Kickers, punters and the returners usually hit the field first, and I key on how many missed kicks, shanked punts and loose balls I see.

     This year, Daniel Carlson handled every kick and punt during the A-Day game, and just about every warmup rep, as well. I think he missed one field goal attempt during warmups. That’s a pretty phenomenal day. Carlson as a punter didn’t impress me as much, but he came away from the game with a 43.8 yards per punt average. That’s a couple of yards higher than Auburn’s 41.5 yard average from last season. Considering also that every punt was fielded, and Carlson got no benefit from a rolling ball, that becomes even more impressive. I fully expect that Ian Shannon will be punting for the Tigers next fall, but it’s really nice to have the safety blanket back there, if that doesn’t pan out!

     Auburn does have some replacing to do in the return games. In particular, punt returner Marcus Davis will be missed. He wasn’t exactly a big threat to break a long return, but he was about as reliable a set of hands back there, as Auburn has ever had. I don’t remember Davis losing a fumble on a punt, his entire career. The main thing an Auburn punt returner has to do is field the ball, except when it is going to land inside the 10 yard line. A turnover on a punt return is often a catastrophic game changer.

     During A-Day, we saw a number of guys fielding the ball. I figure that Stephen Roberts has a leg up on the competition, since he returned punts during the Iron Bowl last season. However, Roberts is a starting safety on a depth-challenged secondary. Auburn may need more than one guy over the course of the season.

     The last couple of years, Kerryon Johnson has been a mainstay on the kick return unit, and I expect that will continue. The good news is that Auburn is pretty loaded with very fast players on this roster, and there should be an able pool of kick returners. Again, much like the punt return game, ball security is key.

     I’ve felt like Auburn’s kick return blocking has steadily declined the past couple of seasons, as Auburn averaged only 19.0 yards per return last season. I can remember just a few seasons ago when guys like Onterrio McCalebb and Corey Grant had Auburn well above 23-25 yards per return. Now, it’s a struggle to get the ball out to the 25. Here’s hoping that improves, this season.

     While return yardage was down, Auburn coverage was pretty stifling last season. The kick coverage unit allowed only 18.0 yards per return, and the punt coverage unit allowed just 3.2 yards per return. Of course on the kickoffs, Daniel Carlson had 57 touchbacks on 72 kickoffs. It could have been more, except that the coaches seemed to at times try the coffin-corner kickoff inside the 5, to try and pin teams deep. I vote this year to just let Carlson kick away, every time.

     As to place kicking, senior Daniel Carlson should be on a short list of kickers to watch, this season. Last season Carlson was a Groza finalist, and might have won it all, had the offense performed better at the beginning and end of the season. Carlson was called on to kick way too many long field goals. He had 14 attempts from 40 yards and beyond, and incredibly, hit 11 of those. He had only one miss inside 40 yards on the season. This season, here’s hoping those possessions in enemy territory end in touchdowns.

A look at the schedule, after the jump!

     Auburn kicks off the season on September 2, hosting the Georgia Southern Eagles. Last season, the Eagles struggled to a 5-7 record in the Sun Belt Conference, in a bit of a rebuilding year. Make no mistake, though, this is not a team to overlook. The Eagles run an unconventional option offense that is a pain to defend. And they have bitten SEC teams in recent years. Georgia Southern beat Florida in 2013, and took Georgia to overtime in 2015.

     Auburn’s second trip is a road trip to Clemson. It’s a daunting challenge, but at least it’s not the first game of the season. The defending national champs should start the season highly ranked, but they’ll likely be having some growing pains. Gone is spectacular quarterback Deshawn Watson, and a host of other big time talent. Folks claim that Clemson is good enough to just reload, but I’m skeptical. This game is a great chance for Auburn to gain some national recognition.

     Homecoming comes early this year at Auburn, with the Mercer Bears on September 16th. A 6-5 Southern Conference team should not give the Tigers much pause. It will be a good chance to come back to earth, after the Clemson tilt.

     Auburn then travels to Missouri, to take on the Tigers. The folks in Columbia have fallen on hard times the past couple of seasons, and will be looking to turn things around this year. Mizzou did show some signs of improvement late in their 4-8 season, picking up home wins in November against Vanderbilt and Arkansas. It will be an SEC road game, and those are always tough.

     Auburn returns home to end the month of September on the 30th, and takes on Mississippi State. The Bulldogs had a tough start to last season, but improved by leaps and bounds. Wins over Texas A&M and Ole Miss propelled the Bulldogs to the St. Petersburg Bowl, where they knocked off Miami of Ohio. I expect a much tougher challenge out of Mississippi State than we saw last year in Starkville.

     October rolls in with Ole Miss on the 7th. I honestly don’t know what to make of this team. There’s talent there, but they’ve also had a bit of an exodus. The limbo of an NCAA hammer looms over the program, and they have had quite a bit of turnover among the assistants. Do we get an angry Ole Miss team coming in, or a defeated one?

     After the Mississippis, Auburn travels to Baton Rouge to take on LSU. This will be the toughest test of the season thus far. Auburn has not won in Baton Rouge since 1999. LSU returns a lot of really good players, and I’m certain Coach O will have them ready to play. Can we pray for an afternoon game in this one?

     Following LSU is Arkansas, in Fayetteville. It seems clear to me that Arkansas under Bret Bielema is your annual 7-5 sort of team, and recruiting rankings bear that out. They usually play hard, but often have a talent gap in the tough SEC West. I think Auburn is a better team, but this game comes in a very tough spot in the schedule. This one has “trap game” written all over it.

     The Tigers get a much-needed bye week, after the LSU/Arky junket. Then on November 4th, Auburn rolls into College Station to take on Texas A&M. On paper, this one looks tough as well. Auburn lost to the Aggies last season because the team could not consistently block Myles Garrett and the Aggie defense. Garrett is gone, and the Aggies will have a different look, this season. Also, the last few seasons the Aggies have pulled a November fade. Here’s hoping that trend continues.

     On Veteran’s Day, Auburn hosts Georgia. This is a team Auburn should have beaten the last couple of years, but found ways to lose the game. Auburn should be better on paper than Georgia. It’s time to show it on the field.

     On November 18th Auburn hosts Louisiana Monroe. This was a team trending the wrong way last season, and a struggling Auburn offense was able to plaster them, 58-7. This will be a good tuneup for the Iron Bowl.

     Auburn hosts the Iron Bowl on November 25th, and 3-time defending SEC Champ Alabama rolls into town. I think the mindset of both teams will be key, in this one. Auburn matches up better with the Bama defense than the past couple of seasons, and could make this one interesting. A lot will be depend on what has gone before, for the Tigers. If Auburn has won big, they’ll have an enormous amount of confidence. A few setbacks, and they might not.

     Looking at this schedule, I’m seeing an optimistic 9-3 or 10-2 record. I’m confident that Auburn can match up with any team on the schedule. That road trip to Louisiana and Arkansas worries me, though. A pessimist would say that the only gimmes on the Auburn schedule are the 3 home non-conference games. Auburn has to win them, and beat Mizzou and both Mississippi teams to get to the Birmingham Bowl. I’m going to lean toward the more optimistic view!

The post Special Teams, and a Look at the Fall Schedule. appeared first on Track 'Em Tigers, Auburn's oldest and most read independent blog.

No. 9 Auburn softball ends nonconference play with run-ruling of Alabama State

Auburn hadn’t scored double-digit runs since April 1 at Georgia. It hadn’t run-ruled a team since March 18 against Ohio State, when Kaylee Carlson pitched the second perfect game in program history.

State draft prospects make ‘official 30 visits’ to NFL teams

Will Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen be one of the first players picked in the 2017 NFL Draft on Thursday night? His visits with NFL teams certainly seem to indicate he will be.

State draft prospects make ‘official 30 visits’ to NFL teams

Will Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen be one of the first players picked in the 2017 NFL Draft on Thursday night? His visits with NFL teams certainly seem to indicate he will be.

Will Alabamadefensive lineman Jonathan Allenbe one of the first players picked in the 2017 NFL Draft on Thursday night? His visits with NFL teams certainly seem to indicate he will be.

Allen was brought in for private visits by five NFL teams during the pre-draft process – the teams that hold the second, third, fourth, fifth and seventh selections in the first round.

NFL teams have many means to meet draft prospects face-to-face after the season, including the Reese’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, the NFL Scouting Combine and college pro days. NFL teams also can visit prospects to put them through private workouts.

Each NFL team is allowed to host up to 30 prospects at its facility in what’s called in league shorthand an “official 30 visit.” According to the pre-draft visits tracker of walterfootball.com, Allen had official 30 visits with the San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bears, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans and Los Angeles Chargers.

That doesn’t guarantee one of those teams will turn in a card with Allen’s name on it for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to read on national TV on Thursday night. But no team drafting after the Chargers at No. 7 used an official 30 on Allen.

Players that make a lot of official 30 visits usually are carrying question marks. Alabama linebacker Reuben Fosterhad official 30 visits with 15 teams, one short of half the league. He was sent home from the NFL Scouting Combine after getting into an argument with a hospital worker during medical testing and had a diluted urine sample there, which counts as a failed drug test in the NFL’s eyes.

Players with Alabama football roots who have been reported as going on official 30 visits include:

Jonathan Allen, defensive lineman, Alabama: Bears, Jaguars, Chargers, 49ers, Titans.

Ryan Anderson, linebacker, Daphne High School, Alabama: Cardinals, Eagles.

Zach Cunningham, linebacker, Pinson Valley High School: Broncos, Jaguars, Steelers.

Antonio Garcia, offensive tackle, Troy: Patriots.

Rudy Ford, safety, New Hope High School, Auburn: Cardinals, Rams, Raiders.

Reuben Foster, linebacker, Auburn High School, Alabama: Cardinals, Ravens, Bears, Bengals, Lions, Colts, Jaguars, Chiefs, Dolphins, Saints, Jets, Raiders, Eagles, 49ers, Titans.

O.J. Howard, tight end, Autauga Academy, Alabama: Falcons, Bears, Jaguars, Buccaneers, Titans.

Marlon Humphrey, cornerback, Hoover High School, Alabama: Bills, Eagles.

Cam Robinson, offensive tackle, Alabama: Ravens, Bills, Panthers, Bengals, Broncos, Texans, Jaguars, Giants, 49ers.

Tim Williams, linebacker, Alabama: Ravens, Bills, Steelers.

NFL teams also are allowed to hold camps for local prospects, that is, players from area high schools and colleges. That’s how the Falcons hosted Garcia, who’s an Atlanta native; Alabama defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson, who’s from McDonaugh, Georgia; and former Prattville High School standout Justin Thomas, who played collegiately at Georgia Tech.

FOR MORE OF AL.COM’S COMPREHENSIVE COVERAGE OF THE NFL, GO TO OURNFL PAGE

The order of selection for the first round of the NFL Draft looks like this:

1. Browns
2. 49ers
3. Bears
4. Jaguars
5. Titans
6. Jets
7. Chargers
8. Panthers
9. Bengals
10. Bills
11. Saints
12. Browns
13. Cardinals
14. Eagles
15. Colts
16. Ravens
17. Redskins
18. Titans
20. Broncos
21. Lions
22. Dolphins
23. Giants
24. Raiders
25. Texans
26. Seahawks
27. Chiefs
28. Cowboys
29. Packers
30. Steelers
31. Falcons
32. Saints

3 suspended Auburn softball players will not make trip to Alabama State for midweek game

Suspended Auburn softball players Haley Fagan, Makayla Martin and Brittany Maresette did not make the trip to face Alabama State in a midweek contest on Wednesday, according to a university spokesperson.

The goal is the same, but the paths through the NFL Draft will be different for former Auburn standouts

Alex Kozan was as involved in Auburn’s 2016 football season as Carl Lawson, Montravius Adams or Rudy Ford were. He started every game at left guard for the third time in his five years on the Plains, helping to pave…

The goal is the same, but the paths through the NFL Draft will be different for former Auburn standouts

Alex Kozan was as involved in Auburn’s 2016 football season as Carl Lawson, Montravius Adams or Rudy Ford were. He started every game at left guard for the third time in his five years on the Plains, helping to pave…

Auburn’s Jalen Harris ‘growing’ in role as attached tight end

Jalen Harris had two receptions — both for touchdowns — last season for Auburn.

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For the first two years of his Auburn career, Jalen Harris was a little-used option in the Tigers’ offense. Little more than a decoy in the passing game, Harris spent most of the first 25 games of his career as a run-blocker in Gus Malzahn’s offense.

All that is bent on changing this season, as new Tigers offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey looks to expand Auburn’s passing attack and further incorporate the tight ends as “versatile” playmakerswithin the offense. As the most experienced option at the position for Auburn, Harris will have his opportunity to become that this fall.

“I think Jalen is a guy that is truly working extremely hard to improve his craft, grow his craft, to be more of an asset to our offense,” Auburn tight ends/H-backs coach Larry Porter said Tuesday before speaking at the Northwest Georgia Auburn Club in Rome, Ga. “I was just pleased with his commitment and his progress in terms of growing as an attached tight end (this spring).”

Harris has recorded two receptions for 16 yards through his first two seasons on the Plains, with both catches going for touchdowns. His first came on Malzahn’s “Fight Song” trick play on the road against Ole Miss in October, while the other came on a pass from running back Kerryon Johnson out of the Wildcat package on the final play of the Sugar Bowl in January.

How much will production increase for Auburn’s tight ends in 2017?

The rest of Harris’ time on the field was spent largely as a blocker for Auburn’s potent run game, making this past spring a bit of a change of pace for the 6-foot-4, 254-pounder out of Montgomery as Lindsey implemented his offensive scheme.

“I feel like I’m a lot more settled down,” Harris said last month. “Everything’s just kind of getting to slow down. I’m maturing. I’m letting the game come to me. I’m not as overwhelmed at points in practice and in the games and stuff now, and I feel like I’m one of the veterans out there now.”

Harris is the Tigers’ returning starter at tight end and is competing with JUCO transfer Sal Cannella for playing time this fall. While Harris is a more polished and physical blocker than Cannella, the former JUCO transfer holds an advantage when it comes to the receiving aspect of the position.

Still, Harris is working to become a more versatile and complete tight end this summer to have a bigger impact within the offense next season.

“I think it’s critical that, one, he continues to grow himself as a blocker as well as a threat in the passing game,” Porter said. “I think he fully understands what he needs to do to grow over the course of the summer to put us in a position to have an advantage with him when he’s on the field.”

Auburn’s Jalen Harris ‘growing’ in role as attached tight end

Jalen Harris had two receptions — both for touchdowns — last season for Auburn.

Louisville denies recruiting former Auburn tight end Landon Rice

Louisville denies it is recruiting former Auburn and current Mississippi Gulf Coast tight end Landon Rice.

Louisville denies recruiting former Auburn tight end Landon Rice

Louisville denies it is recruiting former Auburn and current Mississippi Gulf Coast tight end Landon Rice.

Louisville denies it is recruiting former Auburn and current Mississippi Gulf Coast tight end Landon Rice.

A Louisville football spokesman confirmed the program is not recruiting Rice after a tweet froman account appearing to belong to the former Tigers tight end stated on Monday he received an offer from the Cardinals.

That tweet, which has since been deleted, was captured by theLouisville Courier-Journal and read, “Extremely blessed and humbled to receive an offer from the University of Louisville. Go Cardinals.”

Schools and college coaches cannot publicly discuss recruits other than to confirm if the program is or is not recruiting a prospective athlete. A message for MGCCC coach Chad Huff was not immediately returned.

Rice left Auburn in September for what coach Gus Malzahn called “personal reasons,” amid a Title IX investigation into therape accusation made against Rice by a female student in July for an alleged incident in April 2016.

Rice, who isexpected to play for MGCCC this fall, has not been charged in the alleged rape and his lawyers claimed he passed a polygraph test regarding the accusation.

Rice’s accuser filed for an order of protection from abuse and was later granted a request for its dismissal. In September, her lawyers released text messages in which Rice repeatedly apologized to the accuser.

Auburn will make decision on Casey Mize’s availability after Wednesday bullpen session

The bullpen session Casey Mize throws on Wednesday will be the deciding factor in whether the Auburn right-hander pitches this weekend at Mississippi State or spends another SEC series out of the rotation.

‘Wow, I really loved it:’ Mobile Christian DE Andres Fox raves about Alabama visit

Mobile Christian defensive coordinator Gus Smith compares Fox to former Alabama and Daphne star Ryan Anderson

Mobile Christiandefensive coordinator Gus Smith helped coach former Alabama star Ryan Anderson when both were at Daphne High School.

When Smith looks at 2018 three-star defensive end prospect Andres Fox, he sees similar traits.

“Andres will be one of the best at the next level,” Smith said. “I was at Daphne at the same time as Ryan Anderson, and Andres is every bit that good.”

That’s pretty high praise considering Anderson is expected to be picked in the second or third round of this week’s NFL Draft.

RELATED:Ryan Anderson not sure what to expect this weekend

The 6-foot-5, 230-pound Fox, a rising senior, exploded on the recruiting scene late last fall when he made 18 sacks in just eight games and helped the Leopards all the way to the Class 3A championship game.

Since then, Fox has received more than 20 Division I scholarship offers.

“I’ve never seen schools come through here and contact us like they have for Andres,” Mobile Christian head coach Ronnie Cottrell said. “All of the coaches loved him on film already, but I think in the championship game he proved he could be a two-gap player, and it really took off for him. He’s a very unselfish guy. He’s very disciplined in his play. Since that game in Auburn, there has been a flood of interest.”

Fox originally narrowed his list of potential colleges to six- Alabama, Auburn, Florida, USC, Florida State and Georgia. He has since trimmed – and changed – the list again.

He now tells AL.com he will pick between Auburn, Alabama and LSU.

RELATED:10 FAQs about the Coastal Alabama football season

“I don’t want to move too far away,” he said Tuesday. “It will be one of those schools.”

Fox attended Alabama’s A-Day game last week and came back impressed to say the least.

“Wow. I really loved it,” he said. “I’ve been there before, but it’s just a great place. You are always surrounded by a lot of great players. That atmosphere is awesome. I liked everything about it.”

However, Fox refused to say the Crimson Tide or any other team was the leader for him at this point. He plans to make a decision before Mobile Christian’s season starts in August.

He sees a lot of positives with each of his three top schools.

“I like Alabama because they put a lot of players in the NFL,” he said. “At LSU, Coach O (Ed Orgeron) is a defensive line coach at heart, and that is big for me. They also have (veteran assistant) Pete Jenkins. I sat down and talked to him and he showed me a lot of stuff. At Auburn, coach (Rodney) Garner and coach T-Will (Travis Williams) have always been there for me. They are kind of the reason I blew up I think. They have showed me how well I will fit in down there. It will be a tough choice.”

Fox said Auburn was the first SEC school to offer him. That came the day after Mobile Christian’s state championship loss to Piedmont.

“This is a big year for him,” Cottrell said. “Andres has told me multiple times that he would like to know where he is going before our season starts so he can concentrate on this team. I thought that was amazing for a guy to be that unselfish.”

Fox is currently ranked the No. 13 senior prospect in the state, according to 247’s composite rankings. Cottrell described him as one of the finest pass rushers he’s coached. Smith said he has all the intangibles to be great at any level.

“He’s got all the tools,” Smith said. “He was on our scout team two years ago, and he dominated us so we knew we had something special. Sometimes, we had to hold him back so we could actually get something accomplished in practice.

“Andres is obviously going to be a huge part of our defense this fall. We’ll move him around and put him in situations where he can hopefully dominate games. We plan on him being a pass rusher when we need to rush the passer and a run-stopper when we need to stop the run.”

Cottrell said most colleges see Fox as a hybrid outside linebacker/defensive end in a 3-4 scheme.

“So many teams are looking for a guy like that,” Cottrell said. “I think he’ll be a rush end, a guy who can play the run and the pass. Part of it depends on how big he gets.”

Fox said he likely would take some more visits this summer before making his final decision.

‘Wow, I really loved it:’ Mobile Christian DE Andres Fox raves about Alabama visit

Mobile Christian defensive coordinator Gus Smith compares Fox to former Alabama and Daphne star Ryan Anderson

AL.com All-Access: Where will Alabama, Auburn standouts land in NFL Draft?

Chat on AL.com's All-Access

Just like that, the NFL Draft is right up on us.

The Draft begins Thursday with the first round in Philadelphia, and AL.com ace reporter Michael Casagrande will be on scene.

Where do you think some stars will land? Here are my uninformed predictions.

ALABAMA

Jonathan Allen – 1st round (3), Bears

O.J. Howard – 1st round (10), Bills

Marlon Humphrey, 1st round (14), Eagles

Reuben Foster – 1st round (16), Ravens

Cam Robinson – 1st round (23), Giants

Ryan Anderson – 2ndround (41),Bengals

Tim Williams – 2nd round (58), Seahawks

Dalvin Tomlinson – 3rd round (85), Lions

ArDarius Stewart – 3rd round (91), Chiefs

Eddie Jackson – 4thround (115),Panthers

AUBURN

Carl Lawson – 1st round (31), Falcons

Montravius Adams – 2nd round (56),Raiders

Rudy Ford – 7th round (222), Jaguars

SOUTH ALABAMA

Gerald Everett – 2nd round (60), Cowboys

TROY

Antonio Garcia – 3rd round (71), Chargers

Thoughts on this or anything else? Let’s chat at 10 a.m. CT

AL.com All-Access: Where will Alabama, Auburn standouts land in NFL Draft?

Chat on AL.com’s All-Access

Why LSU leads for Mountain Brook running back Harold Joiner

Four-star running back Harold Joiner updates recruiting

Mountain Brookrunning back Harold Joiner could be taking his talents out of state.

The 6-foot-3, 213-pound Joiner says that LSU is his leader. Joiner visited the school in March and maintains communication with the coaching staff every day.

“They’re just a family team,” Joiner said. “They’re all put together. They always have a powerful offense and I just feel at home down there.”

Joiner rushed for 744 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior and caught nine passes for 180 yards and two scores. He’s a four-star recruit and ranked as high as No. 54 nationally by 247Sports.

He may not be done growing, though, as Joiner is still just 16 and won’t turn 17 until the summer. He’s hoping to stay at his height so he can play the running back position at the next level.

“(If I grow), I’ll just have to talk it over with my dad and see what the best thing to do is,” Joiner said.

Mountain Brook’s Harold Joiner has unbelievable potential

LSU has 16 commitments in the class of 2018, but none at the running back position. He said LSU coaches talk to him strictly about playing running back.

“They’re very powerful,” Joiner said. “I feel like they run the ball a good amount and that’s really good.”

His coach, Chris Yeager, raves about his hands. Those were evident during Tuesday’s spring practice in pass skeleton drills. Mountain Brook’s starting quarterback, Hamp Sisson, who has college offers, is out with a broken leg. Joiner was going high and low to corral passes with ease, and did so in front of coaches from Tennessee and Texas.

Auburn running backs coach Tim Horton was at Mountain Brook’s practice on Monday.

“He’s from Alabama, so it’s pretty good,” Joiner said of his relationship with Horton. “He’s like a dad to me. He knows everything.”

Joiner went to Auburn’s A-Day game on April 8.

“It was pretty good,” Joiner said. “They threw the ball well. They ran the ball all right.”

He said that he doesn’t have a No. 2 school right now, and several schools are in the running including Auburn, Texas, “maybe” Texas A&M, South Carolina and a few more.

This slightly deviates from his recent “unofficial” top fiveof Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Georgia and Ole Miss, but also stresses that Joiner was serious when he used the word “unofficial.”

Joiner plans on coming out with a top 10 in June. Alabama offered earlier this month, but not as a running back. He said that the Crimson Tide will be in his top 10, “but that’s about it.”

Alabama head coach Nick Saban mentioned tight end, linebacker, safety and receiver as positions he sees Joiner developing into, but right now Joiner wants to play running back.

Joiner said he could make his decision in June sometime after he announces a top 10, or at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio. Joiner was invited to participate in the game, which will be in early January.

“It’s a great opportunity,” Joiner said. “I get to play with other great running backs and see how they do and try to learn off of them.”

Check out Joiner’s junior highlights.

Why LSU leads for Mountain Brook running back Harold Joiner

Four-star running back Harold Joiner updates recruiting

Victoria Draper making most of her chance to hit leadoff for No. 9 Auburn

Victoria Draper’s move to the top of Auburn’s batting order was a matter of circumstance, not choice by player or coach.

Auburn football: More AUSPYS highlights, Charles Barkley gets mad plus Mustapha Heron news – SECcountry.com

SECcountry.com
Auburn football: More AUSPYS highlights, Charles Barkley gets mad plus Mustapha Heron news
SECcountry.com
Welcome to SEC Country's daily War Eagle Wakeup, a rundown of everything happening in Auburn football and Auburn Tigers athletics with Lauren Shute. Today, we take another look at some AUSPYS highlights and some news on the Plains.

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NFL Draft by the numbers: Packers overdue for SEC pick

The Green Bay Packers have drafted 23 players since they took one from the SEC. That's the longest current drought in the NFL Draft.

SEC Football by the Numbers is looking at the 2017 NFL Draft in four parts. Monday’s opening installment examined the first round. Tuesday looked at the positions on the field. Today, NFL teams are the focus. On Thursday, some stats and streaks about the conference and the draft lead into this year’s picks.

0 Vanderbilt players have been selected by the Chargers, Dolphins, Jets and Lions since the NFL and AFL held their first combined draft in 1967 as a stepping stone to their merger. Since that draft, 24 franchises have participated in every annual player selection, and, during that time, each of those franchises has picked at least one player from every one of the 10 schools that have been members of the SEC during the entire 50-draft period, with the four Vanderbilt exceptions.

0 Players have been picked from some SEC members by some of the NFL’s expansion teams. The Panthers, who played their first season in 1995, have never drafted a player from Florida or Kentucky. The Jaguars, who also played their first season in 1995, have never drafted a player from Ole Miss or Vanderbilt. The Ravens, who played their first season in 1996 after moving to Baltimore from Cleveland, have never drafted a player from Arkansas, LSU, South Carolina or Vanderbilt. The Texans, who played their first season in 2002, have never drafted a player from Arkansas or Kentucky. Late to the party works in reverse, too. Arkansas and South Carolina joined the SEC in 1992. Since that time, the Ravens, Texans, Saints and Buccaneers have never drafted an Arkansas player and the Ravens, Patriots, Saints, Raiders, Steelers, Seahawks and Redskins have never drafted a South Carolina player.

1 LSU player has been selected by the Jets since New York joined the NFL Draft in 1967. The Jets picked LSU DT Dan Alexander with the 200th selection in the 1977 draft. NFL teams have drafted 175 LSU players since the Jets picked their lone Tiger. Among NFL teams that have participated in every draft of the common era, four others are more than 35 years removed from their only selection from an SEC member. The Dolphins’ only pick from Kentucky has been RB Larry Seiple in 1967, the Chargers’ only pick from Mississippi State has been WR Sammy Milner in 1971, the Raiders’ only pick from Vanderbilt has been C Dave Leffers in 1973 and the Vikings’ only pick from Mississippi State has been WR Mardye McDole in 1981.

2 SEC players have been picked in the first round by the Panthers, the fewest SEC first-rounders for current NFL teams. The Panthers selected AuburnQB Cam Newton with the first pick of the 2011 draft and Georgia LB Thomas Davis with the 14th pick of the 2005 draft. The Bills have picked SEC players in the first round at an even lower rate than the Panthers, who have participated in 22 NFL drafts. The Bills have picked four SEC players in the first round in their 50 NFL drafts – South Carolina CB Stephon Gilmore with the 10th pick in 2012, Alabama DT Marcell Dareus with the third pick in 2011, Mississippi State WR Eric Moulds with the 24th pick in 1996 and Vanderbilt OT Will Wolford with the 20th pick in 1986. Carolina is scheduled to pick eighth and Buffalo 10th in this year’s first round.

5 SEC members have the Cardinals franchise as the most popular picker of their players. The Cardinals, in Chicago, St. Louis and Arizona, are at the top or tied for the top in selecting SEC players from Alabama, Auburn and LSU and lead in picking Missouri and Texas A&M players (including those from before those schools were in the SEC). Here’s a list of which NFL team has drafted the most SEC players from each school:

Alabama: Cardinals, Packers 22
Arkansas: Patriots, Chargers 5
Auburn: Cardinals 22
Florida: Steelers 24
Georgia: Eagles 21
Kentucky: 49ers 14
LSU: Cardinals 21
Mississippi State: Eagles 14
Missouri: Rams 3
Ole Miss: Giants 29
South Carolina: Vikings, 49ers 5
Tennessee: Lions 21
Texas A&M: Cardinals, Bengals, Seahawks 2
Vanderbilt: Bears, Redskins 10

Including all players (not just the SEC ones), the Bears and Packers have drafted the most Arkansas players with 20 apiece, the Cardinals have drafted 20 Missouri players, the Packers have drafted 18 South Carolina players and the Cardinals have drafted 22 Texas A&M players.

19 Consecutive drafts have featured a selection from the SEC by the Bengals. Cincinnati’s streak started when it selected Auburn LB Takeo Spikes with the 13th choice in the 1998 NFL Draft. Next behind the Bengals in streaking to draft SEC players are the Colts, who have picked at least one in each of the past 15 NFL drafts.

20 SEC players have been picked in the first round by the Cardinals, the most SEC first-rounders for one NFL team. Arizona is the only NFL team that has drafted an SEC player in the first round in each of the past two years. The Cardinals’ first-round picks from the SEC started with Tennessee B George “Bad News” Cafego in 1940, when the franchise was in Chicago, and continued through Ole Miss DT Robert Nkemdiche last year.

23 Consecutive selections have been made by the Packers without picking an SEC player, the longest current drought for the conference in the draft. Green Bay’s most recent SEC selection is Alabama S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the first round in 2014. Only one other team has had more than eight picks since choosing an SEC player – the Ravens have had 16 picks since they chose Kentucky DE Za’Darius Smith in the fourth round in 2015. The Packers have drafted 161 SEC players, tied for third in NFL history.

29 Ole Miss players have been drafted by the Giants, the most from one SEC school by one NFL team, even though New York hasn’t made a pick from the Rebels since 1989 and has selected one Ole Miss player in the past 51 drafts. Here are the current NFL teams with their favorite SEC draft partners:

Bears: Florida 20
Bengals: Georgia 13
Bills: Auburn 9
Broncos: Florida 13
Browns: Ole Miss, Tennessee 12
Buccaneers: Alabama 13
Cardinals: Alabama, Auburn 22
Chargers: LSU, Tennessee 11
Chiefs: LSU, Tennessee 10
Colts: Florida, Kentucky, Ole Miss 13
Cowboys: Tennessee 18
Dolphins: Florida, Tennessee 13
Eagles: Georgia 21
Falcons: LSU 11
49ers: Florida 19
Giants: Ole Miss 29
Jaguars: Florida 9
Jets: Tennessee 17
Lions: Tennessee 21
Packers: Alabama 22
Panthers: Auburn, Georgia 5
Patriots: Florida 13
Raiders: Tennessee 8
Rams: LSU 19
Ravens: Alabama 7
Redskins: Alabama 20
Saints: Georgia, Tennessee 10
Seahawks: Florida, Georgia 9
Steelers: Florida 24
Texans: LSU 6
Titans: Auburn 11
Vikings: Florida 11

36 Years since the Saints drafted a player from Auburn. The Saints have drafted 67 SEC players, but only three of them have been from Auburn. The Saints’ most recent pick from Auburn came in 1981, when they took DE Frank Warren in the third round. That’s the longest current drought for the Tigers involving one NFL team by eight years. The Saints’ other Auburn picks were C Lee Gross in 1975 and RB James Owens in 1973.

58 Years since the Lions drafted a Vanderbilt player, the longest active drought involving one SEC school and one NFL team. The Lions have picked six players out of Vanderbilt, but they haven’t drafted a Commodore since selecting C Ben Donnell with the 77th pick in 1959.

190 SEC players have been drafted by the Eagles. Philadelphia has selected more players from the SEC than any other NFL franchise. Here’s a list of the number of SEC players each team has picked in the NFL Draft.

Bears: 161
Bengals: 77
Bills: 54
Broncos: 66
Browns: 107
Buccaneers: 65
Cardinals: 184
Chargers:61
Chiefs: 62
Colts: 126
Cowboys: 90
Dolphins: 74
Eagles: 190
Falcons: 80
49ers: 132
Giants: 155
Jaguars: 31
Jets: 61
Lions: 133
Packers: 161
Panthers: 27
Patriots: 73
Raiders: 45
Rams: 160
Ravens: 23
Redskins: 152
Saints: 67
Seahawks: 64
Steelers: 141
Texans: 25
Titans: 72
Vikings: 69

202 Florida players have been drafted since the Bills selected a player from the Gators. Buffalo most recently picked a Florida player in 1978, when it chose DE Scott Hutchinson in the second round. Every other NFL team has drafted at least one Florida player since the Bills picked Hutchinson. Some SEC teams have even longer droughts with NFL teams, when measured in years. Each SEC member’s longest drought (by years) with an NFL team, with the most recent pick:

Alabama: Steelers – DB Deshea Townsend, 1998.
Arkansas: Buccaneers – RB Jerry Eckwood, 1979 (non-SEC included).
Auburn: Saints – DE Frank Warren, 1981.
Florida: Bills – DE Scott Hutchinson, 1978.
Georgia: Chargers – WR Gene Washington, 1977.
Kentucky: Dolphins – RB Larry Seiple, 1967.
LSU: Jets – DT Dan Alexander, 1977.
Mississippi State: Chargers – WR Sammy Milner, 1971.
Missouri: Lions – DB Demetrious Johnson, 1983 (non-SEC included).
Ole Miss: Rams – QB Norris Weese, 1974.
South Carolina: Raiders – DT Jim Poston, 1971 (non-SEC included).
Tennessee: Bears – DB Jeremy Lincoln, 1992.
Texas A&M: Saints – DB Kary Vincent, 1992 (non-SEC included)
Vanderbilt: Lions – C Ben Donnell, 1959.

FOR MORE OF OUR COMPREHENSIVE COVERAGE OF THE SEC, GO TO OURSEC PAGE

This look at the SEC’s draft numbers includes only players picked in the regular NFL draft — no special supplemental, underclassman, non-NFL or separate dispersal drafts are included in the tabulations. For Arkansas and South Carolina, which joined the league in 1992, the numbers include players drafted since 1993, unless noted. For former member Georgia Tech, players drafted from 1936 to 1964 are included. For former member Tulane, it’s through the 1966 draft. Missouri and Texas A&M have provided SEC players for only the past three drafts. Former SEC member Sewanee has had one player drafted — RB William Johnson by the Falcons in 1966, long after the school left the conference following the 1940 season.

NFL Draft by the numbers: Packers overdue for SEC pick

The Green Bay Packers have drafted 23 players since they took one from the SEC. That’s the longest current drought in the NFL Draft.

How much will production increase for Auburn’s tight ends in 2017?

Break down of Auburn's tight ends following spring practice

How much will production increase for Auburn’s tight ends in 2017?

Break down of Auburn’s tight ends following spring practice

Auburn Slips Up in Midweek Matchup

Christian-Camacho-1280x720-Kris-Sims-2017

It’s baseball. Teams will lose some unexpected games. It happens, and it’s not the end of the world. 

No. 5 Auburn fell to Troy, 5-2, on Tuesday night at Plainsman Park. And the game could have and should have been much worse than that. Troy put 14 in the hits column and left 14 runners stranded on base over the course of the night. 

In addition to the 14 hits the Tigers allowed against Troy, Auburn’s four pitchers also walked four batters. Freshman Christian Camacho, who had a great outing last week against Kennesaw State, had a rough night on the mound allowing four runs and nine of Troy’s 14 hits through just 4.1 innings of work. 

In all honesty, that’s to be expected. Any time you have a freshman pitcher on the mound, anything can happen. And in these midweek games, like I’ve said in the past, teams are forced to rely on the pitchers further down in the rotations. 

But what’s most troubling about Tuesday night’s game wasn’t the pitching. Instead, it was the Tigers’ bats, or lack thereof. Stranding seven on base and scoring just two runs on seven hits is concerning, as Auburn struggled once again with the breaking ball. 

Auburn moves on to its most critical series yet this weekend in Starkville, Mississippi. The Tigers will face No. 8 Mississippi State in a trio of games fighting for first place in the SEC West. The Bulldogs currently hold a one game lead over Auburn in the West, but that could swing the other way if the Tigers have a big weekend. 

First pitch for game one of the series is on Friday night at 6:30 p.m. CT. 

The post Auburn Slips Up in Midweek Matchup appeared first on Track 'Em Tigers, Auburn's oldest and most read independent blog.

No. 7 Auburn baseball falls in midweek contest against Troy

One day after moving up to No. 7 and No. 5 in the two major polls, Auburn lost its first midweek contest in three weeks.

What Auburn tight end Sal Cannella needs to work on this offseason

Sal Cannella brings versatility to the tight end position, but Auburn coaches want him to be an all-around player at the position this fall.

Watch video

Sal Cannella was in the same boat as his position coach this spring. Just like Cannella, who enrolled at Auburn this spring, new Auburn tight ends/H-backs coach Larry Porter was getting settled in his new environment afterjoining the staff in February.

Naturally, Porter could relate to one of his new players.

“Sal was a lot like me in the spring, just trying to put his feet on the ground, and I think he established that,” Porter said Tuesday in Rome, Ga., before speaking to the Northwest Georgia Auburn Club. “I think he has a base understanding of what we do offensively.”

Cannella signed with Auburn in December out of Scottsdale (Ariz.) Community College after being ranked as the No. 2 JUCO tight end and 18th overall JUCO prospect in the nation for the 2017 class. When he arrived on campus, Auburn’s coaches were excited about the “wide receiver ability” Cannella broughtto the position in hopes of incorporating the tight end more in the passing game under first-year offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey.

While Cannella’s hands and route-running are what stand out about him at tight end, Porter and Auburn’s offensive coaches want to see him develop into an all-around tight end this offseason as he prepares for his first season of SEC football.

“Obviously coming in he was more of a polished guy at the receiver position, so what we’re trying to do is get him to improve as a blocker,” Porter said.

Chip Lindsey wants Auburn’s tight ends to develop into ‘versatile’ playmakers

Coaches spent part of the spring testing out how Cannella would fare with his hand in the ground as a blocker, with Porter saying last month that he wanted to see if “he’d hit you and fight you” even though his technique was a work in progress. As of the end of spring, Porter said that when it comes to blocking, Harris was ahead of Cannella, while the former JUCO standout held an advantage in the receiving aspect of the position.

Improved technique and teaching Cannella the fundamentals of blocking as a tight end are crucial, but part of that improvement Auburn is seeking from Cannella when it comes to blocking comes in the form of added weight. According to Porter, Cannella has already added 15 pounds since the start of spring semester and finished spring at 230 pounds. The expectation, Porter said, is that Cannella will be between 235 and 240 pounds for fall camp after a summer of offseason workouts, which begin in less than four weeks.

“I think that won’t be an issue,” Porter said.

With a full spring’s worth of practices under his belt, Cannella soundly has his feet on the ground at Auburn. He finished the A-Day spring game with one reception for 15 yards — which came on a fourth-quarter pass from freshman Malik Willis on a slant. Although he was targeted just twice on A-Day, Porter is excited about what the 6-foot-5 Cannella will bring to the table this fall.

“He brings some versatility,” Porter said. “Two, he brings the skillset to thread safeties and linebackers as an attached tight end, and also he gives us an opportunity to expand our passing game because of that. He allows us to play fast, because we can attach him, we can detach him. He just gives us an opportunity to do multiple things with him.”

What Auburn tight end Sal Cannella needs to work on this offseason

Sal Cannella brings versatility to the tight end position, but Auburn coaches want him to be an all-around player at the position this fall.

Mustapha Heron will not test NBA Draft waters, will return to Auburn for sophomore season

Freshman All-SEC Mustapha Heron will not test the NBA waters and will return to Auburn for his sophomore season, the Tigers’ leading scorer announced on Tuesday.

Tommy Tuberville opts against running for Alabama governor in 2018 – ESPN

ESPN
Tommy Tuberville opts against running for Alabama governor in 2018
ESPN
Former Auburn Tigers coach Tommy Tuberville, after flirting with the idea of running for Alabama governor in 2018, on Tuesday said he has decided against it. “It's been a long process, and I was doing it for the right purpose,” Tuberville told Sirius …

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‘A chance to do something big’ – Braden Smith wins Ken Rice Award – Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site

Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site
'A chance to do something big' – Braden Smith wins Ken Rice Award
Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site
The two Auburn football stars have much in common, beginning with the ability to move defensive linemen to places they'd prefer not to go. Rice, a two-time All-American in 1959-60, was named the SEC's best offensive and defensive lineman as a senior in…

Tommy Tuberville explains why he isn’t running for Alabama governor; Kay Ivey just one reason

Former Auburn coach cites residency and current governor of Alabama as reasons why he isn't running, but says he “would've won this thing.”

Tommy Tuberville said he did it the right way, but in the end, he has decided not to run for governor of Alabama in 2018.

For the past three months, the former Auburn coach has looked into running for the highest office in the state.

On the dayTuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox is considering a run for the position, Tubervilleis stepping aside.

“It’s been a long process and I was doing it for the right purpose. At the end of the day, I decided not to run,” Tuberville told College Sports Nation on Sirius XM Radioon Tuesday afternoon.

AL.com’s attempts to reach Tuberville for comment were not immediately successful.

The former Auburn coach said he’s been to Montgomery. He’s talked to the people of the state.He said he talked to former governors and former senators.

“At the end of the day, I would’ve won this thing,” Tuberville said. “I truly believe that.”

So why not run?

It was pretty clear after his remarks Tuesday afternoon the reason could be summed up in two words: Kay Ivey.

“I’ve known Kay Ivey for a long time,” Tuberville explained. “She’s going to be a very good governor. She’s going to be the governor for a year-and-a-half. I know a lot of her staff. She has a strong staff. I think she is going to do an excellent job. So it made my decision probably a little bit easier knowing I think this is going to work out with the Lietuenant Governor moving in. She hasn’t decided if she is going to run or not. If she does, she and her staff will do an excellent job.”

RELATED: More on Ivey

It isn’t the first time Tuberville has sung Ivey’s praises. Earlier this month, he spokehighly of the 54th governor of the state of Alabama.

“I said all along if I felt somebody could do a better job than me, heck, I’d vote for them,” he said Tuesday. “I wasn’t running for ego or for a name. I wasn’t running for any other reason than ‘can I help.'”

Tuberville told the USA Todaya potential legal battle over his established residency in Alabama and family concerns over him being in the state-wide spotlight were also reasons.

“Basically too many negatives for this this thing to add up to being a positive,” Tuberville told USA Today. “I think I could’ve gone through legal channels to get the residency issue solved but my family wasn’t wildabout the idea either.”

Tuberville went on to say his future isin football.

“That’s probably what I will be doing,” headmitted.

“I want to stay in the business: coaching, athletic director, radio and TV, anything that deals with football.”

His comments Tuesday echoed what he has been preaching for the past three months.

“I want things to get better,” Tubervillesaid earlier this month. “It seems like we have no plan and no vision for the future. We kinda live year by year, and I’m tired of us losing. We’re not winning. We win in football in this state. People won a lot of championships, but we can’t get out of the cellar in state government.”

Tuberville, 62, coached at Auburn from 1999-2008 and still has a home in the Auburn area. He coached at Texas Tech and Cincinnati after leaving the Tigers, resigning late last season.

Tuberville has said for months he feltlike he could make a difference as governor.

“Itis all about sales, organization and leadership,” Tuberville said in February. “Some people say you haven’t been in politics. I’ve been in a big part of it. This whole country is politics now.”

Earlier this month, Tuberville called theresignation of GovernorRobert Bentley, amidthe sexual scandalsurrounding his relationship withRebekah Caldwell Mason, “another sad few weeks for the state of Alabama.”

Tommy Tuberville explains why he isn’t running for Alabama governor; Kay Ivey just one reason

Former Auburn coach cites residency and current governor of Alabama as reasons why he isn’t running, but says he “would’ve won this thing.”

Tigers offer son of NFL quarterback great – 247Sports

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Tigers offer son of NFL quarterback great
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Brad Johnson played at Florida State and was a part-time starter in 1990-91 with the Seminoles. But he really made his mark in the NFL. Johnson was a two-time Pro Bowl selection, passed for 29,054 yards and led the Tampa Bay Bucs to their only Super…
Myles Garrett's critics speak loudly, but here's why he's worth the No. 1 draft pickDallas News (blog)

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Auburn returns major components, has 1 big question on special teams

Break down of Auburn's specialists following spring practice

Auburn returns major components, has 1 big question on special teams

Break down of Auburn’s specialists following spring practice

Greg Sankey addresses speculation on future conference expansion

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey shared his thoughts on future conference expansion Monday during an interview on UAB's campus in Birmingham.

Southeastern Conference commissioner Greg Sankey declined to deny whether the conference has privately explored expanding in an attempt to be the first league with 16 teams.

“I’ll let others discuss expansion publicly,” Sankey said, adding that he thought he answered the question “directly.”

Speaking in front of a room of media members from throughout the southeast on Monday during the APSE region meeting on UAB’s campus, Sankey was asked if he could definitively say that the SEC has not had recent internal discussions of expansion in hopes of beating another Power 5 conference to the punch.

The question came during an hour-long interview Sankey gave to the assembled media in Birmingham, and it was in response to the Big 12’s recent public discussions last fall about expanding from its current format. The Big 12 last summer began exploring potential expansion candidates but in October decided to stand pat with its current 10 members.

Q&A with SEC commissioner Greg Sankey: NCAA recruiting rules changes, football staff sizes and more

In February, Texas athletic director Mike Perrin was quoted by the Austin American-Statesmanas saying that he “wouldn’t be surprised to see something happen” in regards to future conference expansion, which again stirred talk of that possibly happening.

The Big 12 currently has 10 member institutions as a result of the last round of conference realignment, when the conference added West Virginia and TCU in 2012 after losing Colorado to the Pac-12 and Nebraska to the Big 10 in 2011, and Missouri and Texas A&M to the SEC in 2012.

That gave the SEC its current 14-team format, which Sankey said the conference has been “really pleased with” to this point.

Sankey was also asked Monday if he expects to see any significant conference expansion in the near future but declined to comment.

“I think it’s working incredibly well,” Sankey said. “Both Texas A&M and Missouri have been important additions and are now and they’ve had a few years of that, so they’re a member like everyone else. That’s where any questions about expansion end with me.”

Sankey, who has been serving as SEC commissioner since June 2015, also shot down any talk of a potential “super division” of Power 5 schools separate from the rest of the NCAA’s Division I programs in football.

“Whenever I’m asked that question I say you know I’m only asked that question and have the conversation in media gathering like this, seriously, it’s not an agenda item at any meeting,” Sankey said. “We’ve committed now, what are three years in to a new governing structure that was predicated on the “big tent” model of Division I where there are now 351 Division I members? They’re all very different but it is working and I think it can continue to work.”

Greg Sankey addresses speculation on future conference expansion

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey shared his thoughts on future conference expansion Monday during an interview on UAB’s campus in Birmingham.

Tommy Tuberville not running for Alabama governor in 2018

Former Auburn football coach had been exploring possibility

Tommy Tuberville not running for governor in 2018, report says

Former Auburn football coach had been exploring possibility

Tommy Tuberville’s dalliance with the governor’s office has apparently ended.

The former Auburn football coach will not run for Alabama governor in 2018, according to AuburnUndercover.com. Tuberville had been exploring the option of running as a Republican next year.

“I want things to get better,” Tubervillesaid in a radio interview with Mobile’s WNSP earlier this month. “It seems like we have no plan and no vision for the future. We kinda live year by year, and I’m tired of us losing. We’re not winning. We win in football in this state. People won a lot of championships, but we can’t get out of the cellar in state government.”

Tuberville, 62, coached at Auburn from 1999-2008 and still has a home in the Auburn area. He coached at Texas Tech and Cincinnati after leaving the Tigers, resigning late last season.

Another NFL Draft will show the Iron Bowl has become Pros vs. Joes

Alabama will have more players taken in this week’s NFL Draft than Auburn for the ninth straight year. It’ll be the longest streak in the rivalry’s history.

Another NFL Draft will show the Iron Bowl has become Pros vs. Joes

Alabama will have more players taken in this week's NFL Draft than Auburn for the ninth straight year. It'll be the longest streak in the rivalry's history.

Alabama is going to set an obscure record this weekend that’ll speak volumes about the state of its rivalry with Auburn.

For the ninth straight year, the Crimson Tide will have more players drafted by the NFL than the Tigers. That’ll break the current tie with Auburn, which had more NFL draftees than Alabama for eight straight years from 1956-63.

We mined this nugget not just to give you some trivia to amaze your co-workers at the water cooler, but to make a larger point.

It’s no surprise that Alabama has beaten Auburn three straight times and in seven of their last nine meetings. Year after year, the NFL Draft shows the Iron Bowl has become a meeting of Pros vs. Joes.

The draft isn’t an exact scientific measure of how heavily the talent scales have tilted toward Tuscaloosa during the Nick Saban era. There are quality college players who don’t get drafted and make NFL rosters as free agents. There are good college players who never take an NFL snap.

Auburn had 26 former playerson NFL rosters on the eve of last season. Alabama had 35.

Auburn beat Alabama in the NFL Draft with more overall picks five times during Tommy Tuberville’s 10-year tenure – only once by more than two picks – but the Tigers won seven of 10 Iron Bowls during that time.

The value of coaching ’em up aside, no one weighs, measures and evaluates talent as thoroughly as NFL scouts, coaches and executives. The more names they call from a college program during the draft, the more they believe in the quality of the players in that program.

The numbers show the NFL believes in the quality of players in the Alabama program more than any other.

It’s not just that Auburn hasn’t beaten Alabama in the NFL Draft since 2008, when the Tigers had five selections and the Tide didn’t have a single one. It’s the overall disparity and the placement of those picks that makes you wonder.

How has Auburn managed to beat Alabama even twice in that time?

Since 2009, when Alabama began to take the upper hand in the draft from Auburn – and pretty much everyone else – the Tide has more than doubled the Tigers in total picks. In the last eight drafts, Alabama has had 55 players selected. Auburn has had 23.

The talent gap looks even wider when you consider where those players were chosen within those drafts.

Since 2009, Alabama leads Auburn in first-round picks 18-4 and in second-round picks 12-2. That’s a 30-6 advantage in players drafted that the NFL considers the best the college game has to offer.

Is it any wonder Alabama has won the last three Iron Bowls by a combined 45 points?

Like his predecessor at Auburn, Gene Chizik, Gus Malzahn is 1-3 against Alabama, but Malzahn has narrowed the gap on the scoreboard a bit. While Chizik lost three games to Alabama by five, 28 and 49 points, Malzahn’s Iron Bowl defeats have come by 11, 16 and 18 points.

That’s small consolation in a rivalry as intense as this one, but it’s a little more understandable when you consider that Alabama keeps beating Auburn – and most everyone else – on National Signing Day and at the NFL Draft.

Five SEC championships and four national titles in the last eight years haven’t happened by accident. Alabama’s success in the draft is a tribute to Saban and his staff for their ability to recruit players and develop them during their college years.

It’s also a major continuing challenge for Malzahn and every other coach in the SEC. How do you beat Alabama on the field when Alabama keeps fielding better players?

The NFL will reaffirm that talent gap this weekend. Malzahn has until Nov. 25 to figure out how to do something about it.

Auburn recruiting podcast: Catching up with the latest commitments

Drew Champlin and Mark Jennings are back with another edition of Champ’s Corner, the Auburn recruiting podcast

Auburn recruiting podcast: Catching up with the latest commitments

Drew Champlin and Mark Jennings are back with another edition of Champ's Corner, the Auburn recruiting podcast

Drew Champlin and Mark Jennings are back with another edition of Champ’s Corner, the Auburn recruiting podcast.

The two review the recent commitments of offensive lineman Kam Stuttsand athlete Kolbi Fuqua, and hear from the two recruits about their commitments.

We also talk about Auburn’s newest basketball signee, where some Auburn targets stand in their recruitment and take listener questions.

Listen to more editions of Champ’s Corner on WarEagleSportsRadio.comand e-mail Mark Jennings.

Where are Auburn’s Carl Lawson, Montravius Adams projected to go in the NFL Draft?

After months of projections, prognostications and predictions, it is finally NFL Draft week.

Tigers Take Series from Gamecocks Despite Uninspiring Offense (An Auburn Softball Review)

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Auburn softball fans were anxious to see how suspended starters Haley Fagan and Makayla Martin would be replaced when the Tigers traveled to Columbia, SC to play the Gamecocks over the weekend. Some dropoff in production in both the field and at the plate were expected, especially with Fagan’s replacement. 

We thought an infield shift might occur moving Kasey Cooper to shortstop and Kendall Veach to third, freeing up first for occasional starter, Jenna Abbott. However, that didn’t happen. Instead, coach Clint Myers rolled with last year’s starting shortstop, Whitney Jordan.

Jordan was excellent for the Tigers last year in the field despite not being one of Auburn’s top producers at the plate. In addition she was a key player in the Women’s College World Series Finals. However, when Haley Fagan returned from injury this year, Jordan was moved to the outfield.

Since that move her batting has been nothing short of dismal. She entered the weekend series in Columbia hitting .127, and for that reason alone, there was expectation for Coach Myers to go another direction in the infield.

The Athens, Alabama native didn’t record a hit in the series and reached base only once, courtesy of a walk. She is now hitting .103 with 4 RBIs on her 39 at-bats. In her first start at shortstop this year, she was perfect in the field, but committed two errors, one of which contributed to the loss in game three.

However, it wasn’t all on Jordan …

Fans of the sport commented on Twitter that the series against the 28-20 Gamecocks was one of the most “uninspiring” performances of the Myers era. Indeed, the Tigers committed five errors on the series and could score only a measly four runs the entire weekend – a real departure for Auburn.

The usual suspects did the most damage for the Tigers. Victoria Draper reached base for the fifth consecutive game while Cooper, Veach, and freshman phenom Alyssa Rivera added critical hits to win the series.

The saving grace was the pitching by another freshman who untill Saturday has struggled in her young career. Despite having been dismantled at the plate in limited action, Ashlee Swindle took a start in game two and did her best to fill the vacancy left by Makayla Martin – Auburn’s regular Saturday starter. The frosh pitched a shutout while allowing just two hits on no walks and two strikeouts. It was an outstanding performance but the question remains, can she keep up the progress? Even in her win, Auburn ace Kaylee Carlson had to spell her for a little over an inning in relief before Carlson was back in the circle for game three. 

The expectations for this Auburn club were sky high before the suspensions and the Tigers were right on track to repeat the previous two year’s run into the SEC Championship. And the Tigers have always played their best ball just before the SEC Tournament.

However, this year the Tigers will be searching for an identity with the continued loss of the two critical starters. Senior Haley Fagan has been big in the field and at the plate, but not nearly as big as she is as Auburn’s emotional spark plug. Additionally, in the tournament, Auburn will have to go somewhere other than Carlson at some point against elite teams.

Was the loss in Columbia against one of the bottom dwellers in the SEC meaningful? We won’t know the answer to that question until Auburn travels to Alabama May 5th, or more likely, May 6th for game two when Martin’s pitching will be needed. 

Most importantly, Auburn cannot afford to slip any further in the SEC rankings as the top four seeds receive byes in the league tournament. With Auburn sitting in fourth place and Alabama in fifth and just two games back, the series in Tuscaloosa looms large.

The post Tigers Take Series from Gamecocks Despite Uninspiring Offense (An Auburn Softball Review) appeared first on Track 'Em Tigers, Auburn's oldest and most read independent blog.

NFL Draft by the numbers: SEC could provide first pick at 6 positions

SEC players could be the first defensive back, defensive lineman, linebacker, offensive lineman, running back and tight end selected in the 2017 NFL Draft, which will be held Thursday through Saturday in Philadelphia.

NFL Draft by the numbers: SEC could provide first pick at 6 positions

SEC players could be the first defensive back, defensive lineman, linebacker, offensive lineman, running back and tight end selected in the 2017 NFL Draft, which will be held Thursday through Saturday in Philadelphia.

SEC Football by the Numbers is looking at the 2017 NFL Draft in four parts. Monday’s opening installment examined the first round. Today, it’s a breakdown by positions. On Wednesday, NFL teams will be the focus. And on Thursday, some stats and streaks about the conference and the draft lead into this year’s picks.

1 Alabamatight end has been selected in the first round of the NFL Draft – Ozzie Newsome, who went to the Browns with the 23rd pick in 1978 and had a Pro Football Hall of Fame career. On Thursday night, O.J. Howard is expected to become the second Alabama tight end to be drafted in the first round.

1 LSU running back has been selected in the first round in the previous 25 NFL drafts. Leonard Fournette is expected to be a first-round pick on Thursday night, which would make him the first LSU running back taken in the first round since the Colts drafted Joseph Addai with the 30th pick in 2006.

2 Current NFL teams have never drafted an SEC quarterback – the Ravens and Texans. Only one SEC quarterback is considered a strong possibility to be drafted this year – Tennessee’ Joshua Dobbs. Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly’s chances have been hurt by injuries. Another name that might pop up is Texas A&M QB Trevor Knight.

4 Of the past 16 tight ends drafted from the SEC have been provided by Arkansas – D.J. Williams in 2011, Chris Gragg in 2013, A.J. Derby in 2015 and Hunter Henry in 2016. The Razorbacks could have another tight end drafted in 2017 with Jeremy Sprinkle.

5 Consecutive NFL drafts have included at least one Alabama linebacker. Alabama has had a previous streak of five drafts with a linebacker picked, from 1979 through 1983 when Rich Wingo, Barry Krauss, Wayne Hamilton, E.J. Junior, Thomas Boyd and Robbie Jones were selected. In the current streak, Courtney Upshaw, Dont’a Hightower, Nico Johnson, C.J. Mosley, Xzavier Dickson and Reggie Ragland have been drafted. The Crimson Tide’s linebacker streak is expected to reach six this year with Ryan Anderson, Reuben Foster and Tim Williams likely to be drafted.

5 SEC players have been the first tight end selected in an NFL Draft, with Alabama’s O.J. Howard considered a strong possibility to earn that honor this year. The SEC’s first-picked tight ends have been Arkansas’ Hunter Henry in 2016, Mississippi State’s Reginald Kelly in 1999, Auburn’s Walter Reeves in 1989, LSU’s Billy Truax in 1964 and Ole Miss’ Johnny Brewer in 1960.

7 SEC players have been the first offensive interior lineman selected in an NFL Draft, an honor that could go to Alabama OT Cam Robinson in 2017. The SEC players who have been the first offensive linemen selected in a draft are OT Greg Robinson (drafted second overall by the Rams in 2014), OT Chris Samuels (third by the Redskins in 2000), Georgia OT Bernard Williams (14th by the Eagles in 1994), Tennessee OT Charles McRae (seventh by the Buccaneers in 1991), Tennessee OT Steve Delong (sixth by the Bears in 1965), Ole Miss OT Jim Dunaway (third by the Vikings in 1963) and Alabama C Vaughn “Cisco” Mancha (fifth by the Yanks in 1948). Neither Delong nor Dunaway really belong on the list, despite their position designation for the draft. They were two-way stars in college who were defensive linemen in the NFL.

8 SEC players have been the first defensive back selected in an NFL Draft, with LSU S Jamal Adams considered a possibility for the honor this year. The SEC players who have been the first defensive back selected have been Alabama’s Dee Milliner (drafted ninth overall by the Jets in 2013), LSU’s Morris Claiborne (sixth in 2012 by the Cowboys), LSU’s Patrick Peterson (fifth in 2011 by the Cardinals), Tennessee’s Eric Berry (fifth in 2010 by the Chiefs), LSU’s LaRon Landry (sixth in 2007 by the Redskins), Georgia’s Champ Bailey (seventh in 1999 by the Redskins), Alabama’s Antonio Langham (ninth in 1994 by the Browns) and LSU’s Johnny Robinson (third in 1960 by the Lions). That list includes only players designated as a DB by their drafting team. Many SEC players from the days of two-way college football were listed merely as B for back and went on to play defensive back in the NFL.

9 NFL drafts have passed since an Auburn linebacker was picked. This is the longest position drought on the defensive side of the ball in the SEC, when the players are divided into defensive linemen, linebackers and defensive backs. The most recent Auburn linebacker to enter the NFL via the draft was Will Herring, who went to the Seattle Seahawks in the fifth round in 2007. It’s possible Carl Lawson could be drafted with an OLB designation this year rather than as a defensive end, where he played in college.

12 SEC players have been the first linebacker selected in an NFL Draft, with Alabama’s Reuben Foster considered a possibility to earn to run the conference’s streak to three drafts this year. The SEC players who have been the first LB selected include Georgia’s Leonard Floyd (chosen ninth in 2016 by the Bears), Florida’s Dante Fowler (third in 2015 by the Jaguars), Georgia’s Jarvis Jones (17th in 2013 by the Steelers), Alabama’s Rolando McClain (eighth in 2010 by the Raiders), Ole Miss’ Patrick Willis (11th in 2007 by the 49ers), Alabama’s Keith McCants (fourth in 1990 by the Buccaneers), Alabama’s Derrick Thomas (fourth in 1989 by the Chiefs), Auburn’s Aundray Bruce (first in 1988 by the Falcons), Alabama’s Cornelius Bennett (second in 1987 by the Colts), Mississippi State’s Johnie Cooks (second in 1982 by the Colts), Lee Roy Jordan (sixth in 1963 by the Cowboys) and Georgia’s Dave Lloyd (47th in 1959 by the Browns).

13 SEC players have been the first defensive lineman selected in an NFL Draft, an honor that could go to Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett this year. The SEC players who have been the first defensive linemen selected in a draft are South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney (drafted first overall in 2014 by the Texans), Alabama’s Marcell Dareus (third in 2011 by the Bills), LSU’s Tyson Jackson (third in 2009 by the Chiefs), Kentucky’s Dewayne Robertson (fourth in 2003 by the Jets), Florida’s Gerald Warren (third in 2001 by the Browns), LSU’s Anthony McFarland (15th in 1999 by the Buccaneers), Florida’s Kevin Carter (sixth in 1995 by the Rams), Alabama’s John Copeland (fifth in 1993 by the Bengals), Alabama’s Mike Pitts (16th in 1983 by the Falcons), Kentucky’s Art Still (second in 1978 by the Chiefs), LSU’s Earl Leggett (13th in 1957 by the Bears), Tennessee’s Doug Atkins (11th in 1953 by the Browns) and Kentucky’s Bob Gain (fifth in 1951 by the Packers). The list contains only players designated as DT or DE by their drafting teams. Three more SEC players can safely be added to the first-defensive-lineman-to-be-drafted list even though they were designated only with a T for tackle on draft day — Kentucky’s Lou Michaels (fourth in 1958 by the Rams), Ole Miss’ Jim Dunaway (third in 1963 by the Vikings) and Tennessee’s Steve DeLong (sixth in 1965 by the Bears). All three were defensive linemen in the pros after playing on both sides of the ball in college.

15 SEC players have been the first running back selected in an NFL Draft, with LSU RB Leonard Fournette considered a possibility to earn that honor this year. The SEC players who have been the first running back selected are Georgia’s Todd Gurley (chosen 10th overall in 2015 by the Rams), Alabama’s Trent Richardson (third in 2012 by the Browns), Alabama’s Mark Ingram (28th in 2011 by the Saints), Georgia’s Knowshon Moreno (12th in 2009 by the Broncos), Arkansas’ Darren McFadden (fourth in 2008 by the Raiders), Auburn’s Ronnie Brown (second in 2005 by the Dolphins), Tennessee’s Jamal Lewis (fifth in 2000 by the Ravens), Georgia’s Garrison Hearst (third in 1993 by the Cardinals), Auburn’s Bo Jackson (first in 1986 by the Buccaneers), Auburn’s Tucker Frederickson (first in 1965 by the Giants), Tulane’s Tommy Mason (first in 1961 by the Vikings), LSU’s Billy Cannon (first in 1960 by the Rams), Florida’s Chuck Hunsinger (third in 1950 by the Bears), LSU’s Steve Van Buren (fifth in 1944 by the Eagles) and Georgia’s Frank Sinkwich (first in 1943 by the Lions). Those SEC players had their position designated as “RB” for the draft. There are five other SEC players who carried the position designation of “B” for back who also might be considered the first running back taken — LSU’s Jerry Stovall in 1963, Tulane’s Dub Jones in 1946, Georgia’s Charley Trippi in 1945, Tennessee’s George Cafego in 1940 and Ole Miss’ Parker Hall in 1939.

15 Alabama defensive backs have been selected in the past 11 NFL Drafts. Alabama has had at least one DB drafted every year since 2006, with the exception of 2011. The Alabama DBs picked in the past 11 drafts are Roman Harper, Charlie Peprah, Ramzee Robinson, Rashad Johnson, Kareem Jackson, Javier Arenas, Marquis Johnson, Mark Barron, Dre Kirkpatrick, DeQuan Menzie, Dee Milliner, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Vinnie Sunseri, Landon Collins and Cyrus Jones. Alabama CB Marlon Humphrey and S Eddie Jackson are likely draft picks this year.

18 LSU defensive linemen have been selected in the past 13 NFL Drafts. The Tigers had had a defensive lineman drafted for 12 straight years until 2016, when they were blanked. DT Davon Godchaux is expected to return LSU defensive front to the draft this week. The LSU defensive linemen who were drafted during the streak were Marcus Spears, Claude Wroten, Kyle Williams, Melvin Oliver, Chase Pittman, Glenn Dorsey, Tyson Jackson, Ricky Jean-Francois, Al Woods, Drake Nevis, Lazarius Levingston, Michael Brockers, Barkevious Mingo, Sam Montgomery, Lavar Edwards, Bennie Logan, Ego Ferguson and Danielle Hunter.

19 NFL Drafts have passed without an Ole Miss tight end being selected, a drought that will end this year when Evan Engram is picked. He’ll be the first Ole Miss tight end drafted since the Panthers picked Kris Mangum in the seventh round in 1997. Every other SEC team has had at least one tight end picked in the past nine drafts except for Vanderbilt, which hasn’t had a tight end picked since Jim Popp went to the 49ers in the eighth round in 1986. The Commodores’ drought isn’t likely to end this year. The earliest that an Ole Miss tight end has been drafted is the 28th pick, where the 49ers selected Wesley Walls in the second round of the 1989 draft.

29 Years since a Kentucky center has been drafted. The Wildcats’ Jon Toth could be picked this year, which would make him the first Kentucky center to be drafted since Dermontti Dawson was chosen by the Steelers in the second round in 1988. Dawson went on to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

FOR MORE OF OUR COMPREHENSIVE COVERAGE OF THE SEC, GO TO OUR SEC PAGE

This look at the SEC’s draft numbers includes only players picked in the regular NFL draft — no special supplemental, underclassman, non-NFL or separate dispersal drafts are included in the tabulations. For Arkansas and South Carolina, which joined the league in 1992, the numbers include players drafted since 1993, unless noted. For former member Georgia Tech, players drafted from 1936 to 1964 are included. For former member Tulane, it’s through the 1966 draft. Missouri and Texas A&M have provided SEC players for only the past three drafts. Former SEC member Sewanee has had one player drafted — RB William Johnson by the Falcons in 1966, long after the school left the conference following the 1940 season.

Alabama offer a special one for Austin running back Asa Martin

Four-star back Asa Martin updates recruitment

Asa Martinis one of the top players in the state, but had gone more than a year without hearing from Alabama.

Turns out, the new offensive coordinator likes the Austin standout much more than the previous one.

Alabama offered the 6-foot, 195-pound Martin on Saturday when he took a trip to the A-Day game. He dedicated the offer to his late grandmother, a big Alabama fan, when he announced it.

New offensive coordinator Brian Daboll has been in contact with Martin on a regular basis over the last couple of months. Prior to that, Martin had not heard from Alabama since the end of his sophomore year.

“He’s a cool guy,” Martin said about Daboll. “He’s real serious about football. He knows a lot about the game, so I like him.”

Martin was a key member of the Austin backfield as a sophomore, leading the Black Bears to a 6A semifinal berth. He played at the IMG Academy last fall, but transferred back to Austin in November. Martin is a four-star recruit ranked as the No. 5 in-state prospect.

But Alabama may like Martin on defense. He said he wasn’t sure which position, but Martin plays safety for Austin.

“It really doesn’t matter to me,” Martin said of his future position. “I know that safeties play a little longer than running backs, so that may come into the decision. I’ll come up with all that.”

This one for you ma !![?]Blessed to receive an offer from The University of Alabama #RollTide pic.twitter.com/XASpjWbACa

— 2[?]0[?] (@TheAsaMartin_) April 22, 2017

Florida remains Martin’s No. 1 school and Auburn is No. 2. Both are recruiting him as a running back. Martin said his talk with Alabama head coach Nick Saban was “a pretty good talk about a lot of stuff.”

“It was surprising,” Martin said. “Alabama’s the best of the best in college football and getting an offer from that, they’re one of the better teams every year. It was a pretty good feeling.

“They’re getting the ball to the backs in the passing game a little more, which I like. They’re changing it up and not just going downhill every play, so I like that.”

Martin said that Alabama is “definitely one of my top schools now, being an in-state and high-caliber team.”

Martin went to Auburn for its A-Day game. The Tigers’ coaching staff offered Martin in February.

“The quarterback play is coming up from last year (stood out), so that was one of the things I was impressed with,” Martin said. “I think they can use me and I can go in and make an early impact as well in the backfield and catch the ball out of the backfield as well.”

Florida is Martin’s current leader.

“My relationship with (assistant) Coach (JaJuan) Seider,” Martin said. “I’ve been down there. I really liked it and really like the campus. I feel like I can go in and make an impact early. They’re a top-level program and they’ve been in the SEC championship game the last couple of years.”

Auburn offer was one Asa Martin had been waiting for

Martin said he plans to visit all of his top schools again before making a decision, which could come before his senior season.

He mentioned Texas as one school he’s trying to get to, and Texas A&M if the Aggies show more interest.

Martin was third on IMG Academy’s team last fall in rushing, earning 372 yards and four touchdowns on the ground per MaxPreps. He caught 17 passes for 235 yards.

As a sophomore at Austin, Martin ran for 1,374 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also started at safety and was a special teams ace with five blocked kicks.

Check out Martin’s film.

Alabama offer a special one for Austin running back Asa Martin

Four-star back Asa Martin updates recruitment

‘A family environment’ at AUSPY Awards – Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site

Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site
'A family environment' at AUSPY Awards
Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site
They danced, they sang, they laughed at each other's blooper videos. In between, Auburn student-athletes honored their best and brightest Monday at the seventh annual AUSPY Awards at Auburn Arena. No stranger to awards presentations, football's Daniel…

and more

Auburn hands out AUSPY awards for 2016-17 athletic season

The Auburn Athletics Department honored the best in athletic and academic achievement for Athletics teams and individuals during the Spring 2016, Fall 2016 and Winter 2017 seasons. Below are the winners:

No proposed update ‘right now’ to expand SEC’s ‘serious misconduct’ policy

There currently is not a formal proposal to expand the SEC's “serious misconduct policy” during the league's annual Spring Meetings next month.

There currently is not a formal proposal to expand the SEC’s “serious misconduct policy” during the league’s annual Spring Meetings next month.

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said “right now” he does not have an update to the league’s landmark policy, which was enacted on June 1, 2015 and expanded last year, that prohibit athletes who’ve faced discipline at previous colleges or been convicted, pleaded guilty or no contest to a felony involving sexual assault, domestic violence or other forms of sexual violence.

“I won’t predict whether it will or won’t (expand),” Sankey saidduring a hour-long interview at the Associated Press Sports Editors southeast region meeting Monday afternoon in Birmingham. “It certainly is a conversation that takes place in a lot of different ways. It will continue.”

The “Jonathan Taylor rule” first came to be after the former defensive tackle transferred to Alabama despite outstanding charges for domestic violence from his time at Georgia.

When the SEC expanded tje policy last year it added the expectation of “due diligence” into reviewing a prospective transfer’s background.

Asked if the conference should be responsible for conducting such background checks rather than individual institutions in light of Oklahoma’s failure to discover All-American wide receiver Dede Westbrook was twice arrested for domestic violence prior to arriving in Norman, Sankey said, “I don’t govern another conference.”

Sankey ended last year’s SEC Spring Meetings by saying he “absolutely” anticipated conversation on the policy continuing, specifically as to whether it should expand to encompass incoming high school athletes in the aftermath of the domestic violence incident involving then-Mississippi State signee Jeffery Simmons, who was suspended for the season opener and went on to be named to the All-SEC Freshman team this season.

“I can envision a continuing dialogue that looks at what we’ve done on serious misconduct relative to transfers and the question will be asked if that’s sufficient, should we remain there?” Sankey said on June 3, 2016. “That doesn’t predict outcomes but I envision that that will be a conversation topic going forward.”

That conversation is expected to pickup again during next month’s SEC Spring Meetings afterGeorgia released football signee D’Antne Demery from his National Letter of Intent on Sunday following an arrest on domestic violence charges Saturday night in Athens.

According to the Athens Banner Herald, Demery is accused of grabbing and shoving a woman with whom he has a one-year-old child, who also told police Demery “has been physically violent with her in the past.”

Last week, Indiana athletics implemented a similar policy it modeled after the SEC, but expanded it to cover incoming high school athletes.

“It’s something the SEC, with their transfer ban, I think raised the issue generally,” Indiana athletic director Fred Glass told the Indy Star. “We’ve been working on that since that time, in trying to put something together that makes sense for Indiana University.”

Sankey recognized the recent developments and said while there is not presently a formal proposal to expand the league’s policy, one could materialize over the next five weeks.

“As you noted, Indiana has developed a policy based that they’ve modeled on what we implemented two years ago. Keep in mind, we updated last year,” Sankey said. “Right now do I have an update that will be introduced in Destin? No, but there’s still time before we get to see all those proposals in front of us.”

No proposed update ‘right now’ to expand SEC’s ‘serious misconduct’ policy

There currently is not a formal proposal to expand the SEC’s “serious misconduct policy” during the league’s annual Spring Meetings next month.

Sankey doesn’t view parts of recruiting package as ‘healthy’

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey is hoping for further review of new football recruiting rules to be considered by the NCAA’s Board of Governors this week.

Josh Anthony Named SEC Baseball Player of the Week

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Auburn third baseman Josh Anthony has been named Southeastern Conference Player of the Week. The league office made the announcement early Monday. The junior received the honor for his performance in the Tigers series win over No.11 Arkansas.

The Columbus, Ga. native was 2-for-2 in stolen bases and was a terror at the plate for Razorback pitching. He was  9-for-12, batting .750 for the series with three doubles, a homerun, nine RBIs, and six runs scored. He was a perfect 4-for-4 in Sunday’s series clinching victory over the Hogs.

Anthony joins Keegan Thompson, Will Holland and Davis Daniel as the fourth Auburn player to be honored by the SEC this season. Congrats to Josh and …

War Eagle!

The post Josh Anthony Named SEC Baseball Player of the Week appeared first on Track 'Em Tigers, Auburn's oldest and most read independent blog.

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