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Saraland cornerback Cordale Flott flips commitment from Auburn to LSU

Saraland cornerback Cordale Flott flipped from Auburn to LSU following an official visit to Baton Rouge this weekend.

Saraland cornerback Cordale Flott flips commitment from Auburn to LSU

Saraland cornerback Cordale Flott flipped from Auburn to LSU following an official visit to Baton Rouge this weekend.

A day after adding a four-star recruit to its 2019 class, Auburn lost a commitment from an in-state defensive back.

Three-star cornerback Cordale Flott, who committed to Auburn back in April, flipped his commitment to LSU on Sunday following an official visit to Baton Rouge, La., according to SEC Country. Flott’s decision brings Auburn’s class back down to 11 commits and gives LSU its 16th of the 2019 class.

Flott, a 6-foot-1, 165-pounder out of Saraland, is rated as the No. 51 cornerback in this recruiting cycle and is considered the 22nd-best player in Alabama this year, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. He is also rated as the No. 600 player in the nation for the 2019 class.

Jarrett Stidham talks health

As a junior at Saraland, he totaled 54 tackles, two interceptions and 20 pass breakups. At the time of his commitment to Auburn, he was rated as the No. 40 player in the state, but he has garnered more attention since the spring and his stock was on the rise.

“Cordale is exactly what a lot of guys want in a cornerback,” Saraland head coach Jeff Kelly said told AL.com earlier this year. “He’s 6-foot-1, can run, has tremendous length and he’s physical. If you look at his tape, he mixes it up well at the line of scrimmage. He’s also a good tackler. Those things are a recipe for generating a lot of interest from big-time college programs.”

The decision to flip from Auburn to LSU — which offered Flott a scholarship on May 11 — leaves Auburn with two defensive backs currently committed: Saint Simons Island, Ga., Frederica Academy teammates Jaylin Simpson and Jashawn Sheffield. Simpson is expected to play cornerback at Auburn, while Sheffield, who committed to Auburn on Saturday following an official visit, projects as a safety in college but could also play receiver.

AL.com will update this post.

Tom Green is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Tomas_Verde.

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4-star athlete Jashawn Sheffield commits to Auburn

Sheffield is rated as the nation’s No. 10 athlete in the 2019 class.

4-star athlete Jashawn Sheffield commits to Auburn

Sheffield is rated as the nation's No. 10 athlete in the 2019 class.

Make that a dozen.

Auburn picked up its 12th commitment of the 2019 class on Saturday when four-star athlete Jashawn Sheffield committed following an official visit to campus with his mother, making his decision known via a short video posted to Twitter. The 6-foot-1, 178-pound Sheffield can play either safety or wide receiver in college.

Sheffield, who made multiple trips to campus between the spring and summer, had long been considered an Auburn lean. All it took was bringing his mom back to campus one more time to seal the deal.

“I have made my college decision,” Sheffield posted in a note on Twitter. “First I would like to thank God for his many blessings and putting me in this position to further my academic and athletic career. I would also like to thank my mom, sisters, and my grandmother for their support. I would also like to thank my coaches and teammates for pushing me everyday(sic). Thank you to the numerous college coaches who saw something in me to offer me a scholarship as well. With that being said I would like to announce that I am committing to Auburn University.”

Sheffield — a product of Frederica Academy in Saint Simons Island, Ga. — is rated as the No. 10 athlete in the 2019 class, the 15th-best player in Georgia and a top-150 prospect in the nation this cycle, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. He is the second Frederica Academy player to commit to Auburn’s 2019 class, joining four-star defensive back Jaylin Simpson, who committed to the Tigers on April 30.

While he can play on either side of the ball, Sheffield likely projects as a safety for Auburn. He would be the first safety in this class for the Tigers, who currently hold commits from a pair of projected corners in Simpson and three-star Saraland prospect Cordale Flott. If Auburn chooses to use him as a receiver, he would join four-star wideout George Pickens and three-star receiver Ja’Varrius Johnson at the position in this class.

Sheffield’s commitment continues a strong stretch on the recruiting trail for Auburn, which got a pair of commitments from two Mississippi defensive linemen — four-star end Jaren Handy and three-star end Jamond Gordon — in the last week. The Tigers also got a pledge from three-star Hewitt-Trussville receiver Johnson on June 8.

Tom Green is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Tomas_Verde.

4-star ATH Jashawn Sheffield commits to Auburn – 247Sports


247Sports

4-star ATH Jashawn Sheffield commits to Auburn
247Sports
AUBURN — The wait for Jashawn Sheffield to join the 2019 Auburn commit list is over. Two months after the 4-star athlete from St. Simons Island (Ga.) Frederica Academy named the Tigers his leader, he gave his pledge to Gus Malzahn's program during his …
The Timeline: How Auburn landed Jashawn SheffieldRivals.com (press release)


Auburn lands commitment from big-time Georgia athlete Jashawn SheffieldSaturday Down South

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Auburn already impressed with ‘freak athlete’ grad transfer Jack Driscoll

UMass grad transfer offensive lineman Jack Driscoll has made a good first impression since arriving on campus this summer.

Auburn already impressed with ‘freak athlete’ grad transfer Jack Driscoll

UMass grad transfer offensive lineman Jack Driscoll has made a good first impression since arriving on campus this summer.

Jack Driscoll has yet to officially participate in a sanctioned practice at Auburn, but the grad transfer offensive lineman from UMass has already made a good first impression on his coaches and teammates.

After arriving on campus in May, Driscoll has impressed during summer workouts as he gets acclimated to his new school, where he will have two years of eligibility remaining, including being immediately eligible to play this fall.

“I am extremely happy that he came to Auburn because, like I said, he’s a great person, but he’s a freak of an athlete when it comes to a guy that’s 6-5, 300 pounds,” quarterback Jarrett Stidham said during an interview at the Manning Passing Academy this week. “He’s just a freak athlete and I think he can really help us this year.”

Driscoll started all 12 games at right tackle for UMass last season as a redshirt shophomore, though he also has experience at both positions on the other end of the line, left tackle and left guard.

When Auburn expects to know its starting offensive line for 2018

While he brings FBS experience to a relatively young Auburn offensive line, one of the reasons the Tigers decided to bring him on board this season–making him the third grad transfer offensive lineman the program has taken in the last two seasons–is because of his proven ability against SEC teams. While at UMass, Driscoll played against five SEC programs over the last two seasons, matching up with Florida, Mississippi State and South Carolina in 2016 and then Tennessee and Mississippi State last season.”

“We got good information,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said this week before speaking at the Ambush Tour stop in Newnan, Ga. “He played against some SEC teams while he was at UMass. You could tell he had a skillset that could definitely play in this league. When we got around him and the type of person he is and the family he has, it was a really good fit for Auburn. We think he’s got a chance to be a very good player.”

Driscoll has already made his mark during Auburn’s player workouts this summer, earning one of strength coach Ryan Russell’s “Factory Worker of the Week” awards on May 29. Russell hands out four of the honors each week during the summer.

“He’s made a good impression on his teammates and coaches just showing up,” Malzahn said. “Of course, he’s a mature guy…. I think he’s off to a great start.”

Where exactly Driscoll will fit into Auburn’s offensive line plan this fall remains to be seen. The Tigers wrapped up spring practice with three clear starters settled in at left tackle, left guard and right guard in Prince Tega Wanogho Jr., Marquel Harrell and Mike Horton. The 6-foot-5, 300-pound Driscoll will compete with redshirt freshmen Calvin Ashley and Austin Troxell for the starting job at right tackle during fall camp.

“Obviously, we need to get into fall camp and see how he plays and stuff like that,” Stidham said. “But so far, from what I’ve seen, I’ve been really happy that he’s here.”

Tom Green is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Tomas_Verde.

Jarrett Stidham: Auburn has talent to win national title – 247Sports


247Sports

Jarrett Stidham: Auburn has talent to win national title
247Sports
Auburn was one win short of reaching the College Football Playoff, but fell 28-7 to Georgia in the SEC Championship. The Tigers went on to lose by a touchdown to undefeated UCF in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. Stidham passed for 3,158 yards and 18 …

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A Tough Road Trip to Starkville. (Previewing Auburn at Mississippi State football.)

Mississippi State has typically been much tougher at home.
(Photo by Acid Reign.)

     War Eagle, everybody! It’s time now for the another Auburn game preview! On October 6th, Auburn will visit the Mississippi State Bulldogs. The last 2 seasons, Auburn crushed Mississippi State by scores of 38-14 in Starkville, and 49-10 in Auburn. Last year’s blowout was Auburn’s biggest margin over the Bulldogs since 1970 and the Pat Sullivan era.

     The biggest loss to the Bulldogs during this off-season was head coach Dan Mullen, who left to take the top job at Florida. Mullen’s record at Mississippi State was unprecedented, although he did not win any championships. Still, he had this team bowling every year, in the toughest division in football. He did a great job of building the MSU brand, with his sometimes over the top enthusiasm. His teams played tough, and usually above their aggregate star ratings.

     All is not lost, however. MSU made one of the more interesting replacement hires, bringing in Joe Moorhead to coach this team. Moorhead spent the last 2 years as the offensive coordinator at Penn State, and his high-scoring attack made running back Saquon Barkley a household name. Moorhead’s offensive system has been successful at every stop, and he even has head coaching experience and success at Fordham. Mississippi State returns nearly every player of consequence from last season, and Moorhead has a great chance to jump in and have the team play at a high level. If there is a worry about this hire, it would be down the road a few years in recruiting.

     Mississippi State opens the season hosting Stephen F. Austin, then travels to Manhattan, Kansas to take on the K-State Wildcats. The Bulldogs recover at home with Louisiana, then travel to Lexington, Kentucky. Florida then has a visit in Starkville, before Auburn comes to town. Here’s hoping several physical games have the Bulldogs worn down a bit. Auburn will have played Washington in Atlanta, and hosted Alabama State, LSU, Arkansas and Southern Miss, before traveling to Mississippi State. The Bulldogs will face a very battle-tested Auburn squad.

     Coach Moorhead will have a chance to start with a bang on offense. Mississippi State returns big quarterback Nick Fitzgerald, who’s one of the more dangerous signal callers in the SEC. Four of five linemen return, as well as ace runner Aeris Williams. Where Mississippi State was questionable last season was at the receiver positions. No MSU receiver caught more than 27 balls last season, and the 11.4 yards per catch stat is on the low side. Mississippi State as a team completed only 54 percent of their passes, for 6.1 yards per catch.

     Defensively, coordinator Bob Shoop should have talent to work with at every level. Shoop is an interesting hire, a guy with SEC experience. Shoop put together some good defenses with James Franklin at Vanderbilt a few years ago, and followed Franklin to Penn State and did well there, as well. The last 2 seasons, Shoop has been the defensive coordinator at Tennessee, and well… last year’s Tennessee defense was absolutely awful. Shoop prefers to run a 4-2-5 defense, which will be a bit different from last year’s 3-4 Todd Grantham look.

     It’s hard to compare special teams units when a new coaching staff comes in that may do things completely differently. Things are further complicated because Auburn has shifted special teams responsibilties around as well. Both units may turn out very differently this year. Mississippi State returns a good kicker, but has to find a new starting punter. Mississippi State has veteran return men, and was good on both coverage units last season.

Unit matchups, after the jump!

Auburn defensive line vs. Mississippi State offensive line: Auburn brings a big, athletic defensive line back this season. Likely starters at tackle are senior Dontavius Russell and junior Derrick Brown. Junior strong-side end Marlon Davidson was a beast on A-Day. The buck side is a rotation between sophomores TD Moultry and Big Kat Bryant. Auburn can play monster sophomore Nick Coe at any position on the line with great results. Auburn has serious depth all across the line as well. The Bulldogs return 4 starters on the offensive line, but must replace a really good left tackle in Martines Rankin. From left to right, the Bulldogs will likely start sophomore Greg Eiland, junior Darryl Williams, senior Elgton Jenkins, senior Deion Calhoun, and sophomore Stewart Reese. This was a solid line a year ago, but these guys lost the battle in the trenches decisively against Auburn the last two years, and might well again, against the best defensive line Auburn has had in a while. Advantage: Auburn.

Auburn linebackers vs. Mississippi State backs: The Tigers have a good cross-trained quartet of upper echelon SEC-caliber linebackers. Senior Deshaun Davis leads the bunch, seniors Darrell Williams and Montravious Atkinson are able to play all three positions, and we might see any combination of these players out on the field at a given time. Auburn has lots of depth behind the starters as well. Auburn’s linebackers play with leverage and are sure tacklers. Senior Aeris Williams quietly put together 1107 rushing yards last season, but was held to just 49 yards against Auburn. Sophomore Kylin Hill will spell Williams, and Hill picked up 393 rushing yards during his freshman campaign. This is a solid 1-2 punch for the Bulldogs. Auburn will be better. Advantage: Auburn.

Auburn corners vs. Mississippi State receivers: Auburn has a fairly good combination of starting corners in juniors Javaris Davis and Jamel Dean. Junior Jeremiah Dinson could move over from safety, if needed. Sophomore converted wide receiver Noah Igbinoghene turned heads this spring and could be a co-starter on either side. John Broussard Jr. provides quality depth. Senior receiver Jesse Jackson led the Bulldogs with 27 receptions a year ago, but only for 276 yards and no scores. On the other side, sophomore Reggie Todd had 14 receptions for 160 yards and a single touchdown. That’s not a lot of production returning. I think the Bulldogs are counting on JUCO transfer Stephen Guidry to play immediately. Advantage: Auburn.

Auburn safeties vs. Mississippi State secondary receivers and quarterback: Auburn’s starting unit features Juniors Jeremiah Dinson and Daniel Thomas at safety. Thomas was an experienced backup last season, and Dinson played nickel back. Dinson can play every position in the secondary well but has missed considerable time with injuries over the past 3 seasons. Sophomore Jordyn Peters is listed as Auburn’s top nickel back as of now. Auburn is very young behind the starters. In the slot for MSU, experienced juniors Keith Mixon and Deddrick Thomas return. That pair combined for 40 catches for 502 yards and 5 touchdowns. At tight end, the Bulldogs return junior Farrod Green and senior Justin Johnson. Green had 9 catches last year, and Johnson had 8. The Bulldogs never really seemed to develop a go-to guy in the receiving corps last season. Senior quarterback Nick Fitzgerald is a different matter. While his passing numbers were pedestrian, he’s a tough guy to bring down in the pocket, and he’s explosive as a runner, producing 984 rushing yards last season, with sacks figured in. He also proved to be valuable in the red zone, with 14 rushing touchdowns. Advantage: Even.

Punting: For now, sophomore Aiden Marshall is the starter, backed up by Ian Shannon. Both were inconsistent last year and didn’t do much to impress in Auburn’s A-Day game in bad weather. Australian import Arryn Siposs is expected to come in and win the starting punting job this fall. Last season, Shannon averaged 39.8 yards per punt, and Marshall averaged 39.4. Mississippi State must replace Logan Cooke, who had a great senior season. The man tapped to do it is sophomore former kicker Tucker Day. Mississippi State was good in coverage, allowing 9 returns for a 4.8 yards per return average. Auburn was not good last season, giving up 11.4 yards per return. Auburn is still looking for a replacement return man. MSU returns junior Deddrick Thomas, who is an interesting case. Thomas returned 6 punts last season. Of those 6, 5 of them totaled just 21 yards. The remaining return went 83 yards for a touchdown. Advantage: Even.

Kickoffs: Auburn redshirt freshman Anders Carlson has no experience, but given his displayed leg strength on A-Day, I think kicking a lot of touchbacks should be a given next season. Also, there is a new fair catch rule in effect this season, that puts the ball at the 20. I think we will see a lot of fair catches on anything fielded inside the 5 this season. Sophomore Jace Christmann takes over for Logan Cooke on kickoffs for the Bulldogs, this year. Auburn will return kickoffs with sophomore Noah Igbinoghene, who averaged 23.8 yards per return last season despite only fair-to-poor blocking. MSU has experienced return men in sophomore Reggie Todd and junior Keith Mixon. That pair averaged only 18.5, and 17.8 yards per return, respectively. Auburn was awful on kick coverage giving up 27.2 yards per return last season. Fortunately, the Carlsons can produce a lot of touchbacks. MSU was pretty good, limiting opponents to 17.9 yards per return. Advantage: Even.

Place kicking: Anders Carlson of Auburn has no experience, but he did hit 4 of 4 in bad weather in Auburn’s spring game. I watched him in warmups, too. His only miss in practice was from 53 yards, hitting the upright. Sophomore Jace Christmann had a great freshman campaign for the Bulldogs last season, hitting 12 of 14 field goals and all of his extra points. Advantage: Mississippi State.

Auburn offensive line vs. Mississippi State defensive line: It’s still not settled who’ll start for Auburn on the line, although the starters looked decent on A-Day. Auburn is set at the guard spots with veteran juniors Mike Horton and Marquel Harrell. Left tackle seems solid with junior Prince Tega Wanagho, who has reputedly taken the next step forward this spring after struggling last season in limited starts. Right tackle was a battle this spring between freshmen Austin Troxell and Calvin Ashley. Both had good moments, but Auburn has turned around and signed graduate transfer Jack Driscoll from UMass. Driscoll played last season against SEC foes Tennessee and Mississippi State and allowed just 1 quarterback pressure. Center is another big question mark for Auburn. Junior Kaleb Kim and redshirt freshman NickBrahms were battling for the starting job, but both went out with injuries and may or may not be back for the season opener. Converted H-back/tight end/walk-on Tucker Brown started on A-Day and actually did a good job. By midseason, I’m confident that line coach J. B. Grimes will have a strong offensive line out there. Grimes did a really solid job with the Auburn line in his previous stint, from 2013-2015. Grimes has been greatly missed the past couple of seasons! Mississippi State should have a great defensive line, this season. At tackles, the Bulldogs have junior Jeffery Simmons, and senior Cory Thomas. Ends will be seniors Montez Sweat and Gerri Green. Those 4 players contributed 38.5 tackles for loss last season. There is plenty of experienced depth on this Bulldog line, too. Advantage: Mississippi State.

Auburn backs vs. Mississippi State linebackers: Auburn features senior H-back Chandler Cox, a 4-year starter, blowing open holes. The real question is who will carry the ball. Junior Kam Martin is blazing fast, but has had durability issues in the past. Junior Malik Miller has size, power, and a few carries here and there but hasn’t been used much. Sophomore Devan Barrett has been moved to receiver. Auburn played freshmen JaTarvious Whitlow and Asa Martin a lot on A-Day. Both were suspect in pass blocking, and running sideways or backward. Whitlow dropped several passes. The best A-Day runner for the second year in a row was junior walk-on C. J. Tolbert, who had 137 yards. Tolbert is on the small side and didn’t have an actual carry in 2017. We do know, after watching the Gus Malzahn offense for 8 years at Auburn, there will be a bellcow running back identified by this time, tearing SEC defenses up, as long as the offense is balanced. MSU returns junior Leo Lewis and sophomore Erroll Thompson, a pair of good veterans. Sophomore phenom Willie Gay will provide quality depth. Advantage: Even.

Auburn receivers vs. Mississippi State corners: At the end of spring, it looked like Auburn’s two starting outside guys were juniors Nate Craig-Myers and Darius Slayton. Both guys can fly, have good height, and great hands. Redshirt freshman Marquis McClain had the catch of the day on A-Day and is someone to watch out for on the outside as well. Senior Jamal Peters gives MSU an experinced, rangy corner on one side. Senior Chris Rayford will start on the other side. Surprisingly, Rayford played in 13 games last season, and finished with no pass breakups or interceptions. Peters had 1 interception and 2 pass breakups. Advantage: Auburn.

Auburn secondary receivers and quarterback vs. Mississippi State safeties: This is a strength-against-strength matchup with lots of experience on both sides. Auburn senior Ryan Davis shattered the team single-season receptions mark last year with 84 catches. Teams that gave Davis a cushion last season got eaten up 5 to 10 yards per quick pass. Teams that tried to press were often burned for touchdowns. Auburn depth at the slot took blows with both Will Hastings and Eli Stove having knee injuries and surgeries this spring. Both did a ton of damage last year. Auburn has moved running back Devan Barrett to the slot for depth. Barrett has good hands and is a good runner, but he’s not the breakaway threat the guys above him are. Auburn’s tight end is senior Jalen Harris. Teams can key on him as a blocker only. I think Auburn has targeted Harris maybe 3 times in his 3 years as a starter. Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham had a slow start and a propensity to take hits last season but heated up by about game 4 and lit up some SEC secondaries. He’s mobile in the pocket, and can make every throw. MSU is veteran at safety, and returns a lot of tackles. We look for seniors Mark McLaurin and Jonathan Abram to start at the safety spots, and junior Brian Cole to start at nickel. Cole had no stats last season, but the 2 safeties combined for 150 total tackles, and 17 passes defended. McLaurin had 6 interceptions. Whether having a pair of safeties leading the team in tackles is a good thing, or a bad thing is an open question. Advantage: Auburn.

     Starkville and the cowbells give Mississippi State a big homefield advantage, to be sure. However, Auburn has controlled the last 2 matchups pretty handily, and I see no real reason that should not continue. Auburn has the added advantage of not having to learn new systems on either side of the ball, this year. MSU has both issues with a completely new coaching staff.

     The Auburn defensive plan the past couple of years is to keep the top on the defense, and make Nick Fitzgerald go through his progressions, and watch for him to take off. Both years, Auburn has plugged the run very well, and kept Mississippi State from making many big plays. The idea is to make them work down the field patiently, without making mistakes. The Bulldogs have not consistently finished drives against Auburn, but I do see a lot of veterans on this offense, this year.

     Offensively, I’ve felt the last couple of seasons that Auburn had disadvantages up front against MSU’s defense. It hasn’t mattered. Auburn has been able to spread the ball around and win matchups in space consistently, and I expect that to continue this year with veteran quarterback Jarrett Stidham.

Prediction: The Bulldogs benefit from good play calling and execution on offense, but the 4-2-5 has historically proven to be a poor choice to stop the Malzahn offense when it is being run well. Auburn runs away with it, 41-27.

The post A Tough Road Trip to Starkville. (Previewing Auburn at Mississippi State football.) appeared first on Track 'Em Tigers, Auburn's oldest and most read independent blog.

AD wants football facility to ‘set ourselves apart from peers’ – 247Sports


247Sports

AD wants football facility to 'set ourselves apart from peers'
247Sports
"The importance is not necessarily a football facility per se but demonstrating that we're committed to being a powerhouse in football," Greene said Friday during a luncheon with reporters. "Part of that would be exploring a football-only facility

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Auburn athletic director Allen Greene discusses facilities projects

Allen Greene is continuing to reshape Auburn's athletic department and implement his vision for the future.

Allen Greene is continuing to reshape Auburn’s athletic department and implement his vision for the future.

Auburn’s athletic director met with beat reporters on Friday to discuss a variety of topics, including coach contracts and facilities.

Here’s a rundown of Greene’s question and answer session:

On if signing a number of Auburn’s coaches to long-term contracts was a goal:

“No. I think that no, it wasn’t, to be honest with you. It was a set of circumstances that presented themselves all at these times. What I would like to do is be more strategic in thinking about our coaches and their longevity here. We have a great stable of coaches and we want to support them, but this was just all stuff kind of just came in so we were being very much reactionary.”

On the importance of continuity with coaches:

“From a coaches perspective, continuity with their assists is critically important. I think from an administrative perspective continuity is important as well. As I learn about these coaches, their personalities, their nuances, their visions for their programs, it makes it easier for an administration to support them and their endeavors when you have some continuity. Also it helps when you go through some tough patches with those coaches, it brings you closer together. I’m looking forward to being, as I said before, locking arms with all of our coaches and doing all that we possibly can within our power to give them the best opportunity to win conference and national championships.”

On what new facility project is most pressing:

“They’re all pressing.”

On how high a priority a new standalone football facility is for Auburn:

“I think the importance is not necessarily a football facility per se, but demonstrating that we’re committed to being a national powerhouse in football. Part of that would be exploring a football-only facility, part of that also understands that whether it’s from a recruiting perspective and the Harbert recruiting center and how much that gives us an edge, we want to be a differentiator in intercollegiate athletics. We want our football program, knowing that we’re in the best conference in the country, we want to set ourselves apart from our peers.”

On the status of a project for suites along the first base line at Plainsman Park that would also offer views of Tiger Walk:

“I think all those things are on the table. As we look at Plainsman Park there’s a number of opportunities where we can enhance lots of different experiences for our student-athletes and our fans. Then kind of cross-pollinate – we can get different uses out of it. It would be wise of us to look at that stuff but again it comes down to having the resources to be able to do that.”

On whether the issues for the men’s basketball program are in the past:

“I think so. The tough part about the basketball situation – and this isn’t just us, this is across the country – there’s lots that are beyond our control and that we don’t know. Our responsibility is to support coach Pearl and his program and we will continue to do so and we’re so happy to have him on the Plains with his energy and his excitement. We’re looking forward to a great season next year.”

James Crepea is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @JamesCrepea.

Auburn athletic director Allen Greene discusses facilities projects

Allen Greene is continuing to reshape Auburn’s athletic department and implement his vision for the future.

Jarrett Stidham discusses his health, Auburn summer workouts and more

Before the action picked up at the Manning Passing Academy on Friday, Jarrett Stidham and the other college quarterbacks in attendance spent some time with the media.

Jarrett Stidham discusses his health, Auburn summer workouts and more

Before the action picked up at the Manning Passing Academy on Friday, Jarrett Stidham and the other college quarterbacks in attendance spent some time with the media.

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Before the action picked up at the Manning Passing Academy on Friday, Jarrett Stidham and the other college quarterbacks in attendance spent some time with the media.

Auburn’s redshirt junior quarterback talked about a wide range of things, including his health, the Tigers’ summer workouts and his expectation that he’ll have more freedom at the line of scrimmage this season.

Here’s a rundown of some of what discussed:

What are some of the things you’re trying to improve on heading into the year?

“As far as individual techniques for me, just pocket awareness, better movements in the pocket. … I’m really trying to focus on that. Footwork. Just trying to hone in on that kind of stuff.”

You’ll have more freedom to make checks and all at the line of scrimmage this year, right?

“Now that I’ve gotten my feet wet a little bit in the system, I think Coach is going to give me a little more freedom at the line of scrimmage and that sort of thing to make some checks when I want and do that sort of thing.”

What are your early impressions of Jake Browning and Washington?

“Watched him on film a little. Obviously Washington’s a great football team. And Jake, I got to meet him yesterday. He’s a great guy. It’s going to be even more fun now that I know the opposing quarterback.”

How’s the shoulder?

“I feel great. Shoulder’s good finally, and it’s been a good summer so far. Just continuing to get momentum as we go forward into the rest of the summer.”

No limitations at this point, right?

“No. Now I’m good to go.”

How are summer workouts going?

“There have been a lot of guys that have been doing really well. There’s been some guys that just came in that are doing really well. Obviously the guys that have played a lot, they’ve been doing really well. For whatever reason, this summer, to me, it feels a lot different than last summer. Just from a mindset standpoint, everybody’s really locked in and trying to do everything they can to help the team out and to make sure we’re the best that we can be.”

What kind of feedback did you get from NFL people as you were going through the process of deciding whether to turn pro or come back to school?

“There was some feedback, but ultimately I decided to come back and try to finish what I started. I came to Auburn to win it all. And I definitely think we have the talent to do it. We were really close last year. We were really close to getting to the College Football Playoff. That’s our goal this year, to get to where we want to get to. And I think we have the talent. We’ve just got to execute and finish a little better.”

What were the conversations like with Coach Malzahn and Coach Lindsey coming out of last year? What kind of stuff did they want you to focus on heading into this season? And what were some of the things that were important to you that you verbalized to them?

“For me, just personally, just working on fundamentals because you can never be too good at fundamentals. So obviously footwork, pocket presence, those kinds of things are what Coach Lindsey and I have talked a lot about, just making sure I’m really focused on those, especially not being able to play in the spring. To the side, I was really working on one, two, three and hitching up in the pocket or just little movements here and there. Really trying to focus on that. And then, obviously the thing we’ve talked about, that has been talked about a lot is having more freedom at the line and that kind of thing. Now that I understand what we’re doing on offense, I know how they’re thinking, having the ability to check plays on my own and to get us into certain things against certain coverages or whatever it may be, we’ve talked a lot about that. And I think you’ll see this year that kind of progress for myself.”

Who are some of the NFL quarterbacks you watch? And whom do you think you most play like?

“I’m a big Tom Brady fan. I don’t necessarily think I play a lot like him. I think I’m more of a … shoot, I don’t know, maybe like a Derek Carr kind of guy. Not as mobile as some guys but not immobile as much as a Tom Brady or somebody like that. But, honestly, I love watching Jimmy Garoppolo. I really love how he plays the game. He obviously learned a lot from Tom Brady. I really love watching him and how he plays.”

As a former transfer, what advice would you give LSU’s new quarterback, Joe Burrow?

“I don’t how it was up north, but people down south love their football. That’s No. 1. No. 2, the SEC, it’s a lot of fun. It’s a grind. Every single week, you’ve got to be on your game. There’s no cupcake teams in our league. You’re going to get somebody’s best every single week, so you’ve got to be physically and mentally prepared for those types of games and situations.”

Do you still research Tom Brady a lot and try to find different things he does that you can incorporate into what you do?

“Yeah. I’ve read his book. I’m always trying to find something, whether it’s nutrition or stretching or just little things outside of actually throwing. The biggest thing that I’ve worked on now that I’m healthy is nutrition, and I’ve been trying to really get more (flexible) in the hips and really kind of loosen everything up in that area. And I’ve been really focused on my nutrition and my eating habits because it goes a long way.”

What do you think so far of your new offensive lineman, Jack Driscoll?

“First of all, he’s a great person. And I am extremely happy that he came to Auburn because, like I said, he’s a great person but he’s a freak of an athlete when it comes to a guy that’s 6-5, 300 pounds. He’s just freaky athletic and I think he can really help us this year. Obviously we need to get into fall camp and see how he plays and stuff like that. But so far, from what I’ve seen, I’ve been really happy that he’s here.”

Who are some of the young offensive guys that have been particularly impressive this summer?

“As far as guys that just came in, Matthew Hill, I think he’s going to be a really good football player for us. Harold Joiner, I think he’s going to be good. Shaun Shivers, he’s not very big, but he can fly. Offensively, out of the new guys, those guys come to mind. But we’ve got a lot of guys that are going to be able to step up and make some plays this year.”

Football or basketball: What season should have Auburn fans most … – SECcountry.com


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Football or basketball: What season should have Auburn fans most …
SECcountry.com
Should Auburn fans be more excited about the Tigers' upcoming football season or men's basketball season?

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Auburn Tigers 2018 – An Eagle’s Call

I am still an A96 Productions loyalist, but since he’s like me and gotten a little older and doesn’t post as much (FOR NOW), I’ve found something comparable to fill my needs.

The first few minutes of this hype (?) video would have you believe that Auburn hasn’t won a football game in 50 years, but by the end it helps you (and the haterz) realize just what Auburn has done. It makes me want to run through a wall, which is the sign of any good hype video. Enjoy.

AL.com All-Access: Who is the best player in the SEC heading into 2018?

Today, we’re taking award odds out of the discussion and making it purely subjective.

AL.com All-Access: Who is the best player in the SEC heading into 2018?

Today, we're taking award odds out of the discussion and making it purely subjective.

On Tuesday, we looked at the SEC players with the best chance to win the Heisman Trophy.

Well today, we’re taking award odds out of it. Today’s question is simple (and totally subjective): Who is the best player in the SEC heading into 2018?

Here’s a Top 5 (in alphabetical order):

1. A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss: Brown was dominant in 2017 no matter who the Rebels’ quarterback was, turning in games of 233, 156, 174, 185 and 167 yards and scoring 11 touchdowns. The presence of fellow playmakers D.K. Metcalf and DaMarkus Lodge at receiver should keep Brown from being double-teamed on every snap.

2. Raekwon Davis, DL, Alabama: It seems criminal for a man who is 6-foot-7 and more than 300 pounds to be able to move like Davis does, but he totaled 8.5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss in a breakout sophomore year. Without as much depth up front for the Crimson Tide in 2018, Davis will play all season with a target on his back.

3. Drew Lock, QB, Missouri: This hasn’t exactly been a golden era for quarterbacks in the SEC, but Lock’s 2017 season was flat-out special. He set an SEC record with 43 touchdown passes, including games with 7, 6, 5 and 5. Missouri is once again stacked with offensive talent, so an encore for Lock is highly likely.

4. Devin White, LB, LSU: Typically when a player piled up a ton of tackles, it’s because he doesn’t have a lot of help from his fellow defenders. That wasn’t the case with White, who totaled 133 stops on an LSU team that ranked in the Top 20 nationally in total defense and scoring defense. LSU could be even better on defense in 2018 with much a more experienced unit returning.

5. Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama: A five-star prospect moving right into the starting lineup at tackle has become old hat for the Crimson Tide, but Williams has been everything his coaches hoped for and more since arriving in Tuscaloosa. After toying with the idea of moving him to center, he’ll remain Alabama’s anchor at left tackle in 2018.

Honorable mention: Josh Allen, LB, Kentucky; Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia; Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn; Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia; Damien Harris, RB, Alabama; Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss; Ross Pierschbacher, OL, Alabama; Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina; Jeffery Simmons, DL, Mississippi State; Benny Snell, RB, Kentucky; Jarrett Stidham, QB, Auburn; Montez Sweat, DL, Mississippi State; Greedy Williams, CB, LSU; Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama

So what do you think of this list? Who would be your pick?

I’ll take your questions and comments on that or anything else on your mind beginning at 10 a.m.

Auburn plans to double up on tight ends in 2019 class after falling short in 2018

Auburn did not sign a true tight end in the 2018 class but already holds commitments from two in the 2019 class.

Auburn plans to double up on tight ends in 2019 class after falling short in 2018

Auburn did not sign a true tight end in the 2018 class but already holds commitments from two in the 2019 class.

Editor’s note: This is the fourth of a nine-part series analyzing Auburn’s position-by-position recruiting wishlist for the 2019 class. 

Auburn missed out on a true tight end or H-back in its 2018 class, so the Tigers are making that position a clear priority for the 2019 recruiting cycle.

The Tigers did not sign a tradition player at either position this past season, though four-star running back Harold Joiner could morph into a hybrid-type role–playing as many as four positions on offense, including tight end and H-back. With the Tigers set to graduate two at the position after this season (H-back Chandler Cox and tight end Jalen Harris), it has given the program more reason to emphasize that spot in the upcoming signing class.

Auburn plans to take two tight ends in its 2019 recruiting class. The Tigers already hold commitments from 11 players, including two tight ends — so if all holds until National Signing Day, the program has secured the future of the position and fulfilled its wishlist this time around.

Those two commitments come from a pair of three-star tight end prospects, Tyler Fromm and Luke Deal. Both players joined Auburn’s recruiting class in May, a month that proved to be bountiful for the Tigers.

Fromm was the first to jump aboard when he announced his commitment on May 5. The 6-foot-5, 225-pounder — who is the younger brother of Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm — out of Warner Robins, Ga., is rated as the No. 17 tight end in the nation, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. Fromm is also regarded as the 43rd-best player in Georgia and the No. 386 player nationally in the 2019 class.

Deal followed with his commitment less than three weeks later, when he announced his decision on May 25. The 6-foot-5, 237-pounder out of Greenwood, S.C., is rated as the No. 21 tight end in this recruiting class. He’s also ranked as the fifth-best prospect in South Carolina and the 451st-best player in the country.

With both Fromm and Deal firmly committed to Auburn, there doesn’t appear a need for the Tigers to pursue any other players at the position in this cycle. Should anything change, though, there are a few top tight end prospects who hold Auburn offers, including four-star tight end Hudson Henry (the nation’s top player at the position) and four-star prospect Jahleel Billingsley (the No. 11 tight end in the class).

Henry released a top-five last month that included his home-state Arkansas, Clemson, Wisconsin, Penn State and Stanford, while Billingsley has Florida at the top of his list.

Tom Green is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Tomas_Verde.

Auburn sports: Butch Thompson 2024; special message from former lineman – SECcountry.com


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Auburn sports: Butch Thompson 2024; special message from former lineman
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Auburn football is the No. 1 topic in the War Eagle Wakeup every day — but we cover news, notes and analysis from across the Tigers sports world. Join us each morning to get caught up on everything you missed in the world of Auburn football

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Nostalgia Friday: 1986 Iron Bowl

Today we bring back an old feature called Nostalgia Friday. Each week at this time we’ll look back at video of a famous Auburn win.

What better game to start with than the 1986 Iron Bowl, better known as the “Tillman Reverse To Victory.” With 32 seconds to go in the game, Lawyer Tillman’s 8-yard reverse gave the Tigers a 21-17 victory and started four consecutive wins for Auburn. It’s one of my all-time favorites.

We’d love to hear your recollections of the game.

The post Nostalgia Friday: 1986 Iron Bowl appeared first on Track 'Em Tigers, Auburn's oldest and most read independent blog.

Countdown to Kickoff: 72 Days – College and Magnolia


College and Magnolia

Countdown to Kickoff: 72 Days
College and Magnolia
The Auburn Tigers opened the 1970 season unranked. After bottoming out in 1966 with a 4-6 record, Coach Shug Jordan … Both teams seemed allergic to holding onto the football and leads. Auburn started the festivities by fumbling on the very first play
Should Jarrett Stidham's ranking on SI's Top 100 list anger Auburn …Fly War Eagle



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Nick Marshall out after 1 game in CFL

Former Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall got off to a flying start in the Canadian Football League by returning an interception for a touchdown in the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ season-opening game last week. But when the Roughriders play the Ottawa Redblacks on Thursday night, Marshall won’t play.

Nick Marshall out after 1 game in CFL

Former Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall got off to a flying start in the Canadian Football League by returning an interception for a touchdown in the Saskatchewan Roughriders' season-opening game last week. But when the Roughriders play the Ottawa Redblacks on Thursday night, Marshall won't play.

Former Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall got off to a flying start in the Canadian Football League by returning an interception for a touchdown in the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ season-opening game last week. But when the Roughriders play the Ottawa Redblacks on Thursday night, Marshall won’t play.

Marshall missed practice on Monday because of what Saskatchewan coach Chris Jones called “a little bang.” That turned out to be a finger injury that will require surgery, and the Roughriders have placed Marshall on their six-game injury list, the approximate time he’s expected to be out.

Jones said Marshall suffered the finger injury in Saskatchewan’s 27-19 victory over the Toronto Argonauts on Friday night, but played through it.

After starting at cornerback for the Roughriders, Marshall intercepted Toronto quarterback Ricky Ray in the fourth quarter and turned the turnover into a 66-yard touchdown.

Jones said Duron Carter would start in Marshall’s place on Thursday night. Carter played wide receiver in the season-opening game, but will work exclusively on defense against Ottawa, Jones said.

Carter’s football journey included a stop at Alabama, although he never played for the Crimson Tide.

The Roughriders and the Redblacks kick off at 6:30 p.m. CDT Thursday at TD Place Stadium in Ottawa.

Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @AMarkG1.

Auburn DL commit Andy Boykin expects ‘fight to the finish’ with UGA for his choice – DawgNation


DawgNation

Auburn DL commit Andy Boykin expects 'fight to the finish' with UGA for his choice
DawgNation
Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That's what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. The play sheet today calls for: The subject of defensive line recruiting is a hot-button issue for UGA this week

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Mancheno, Rebula named PING All-Americans – Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site


Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site

Mancheno, Rebula named PING All-Americans
Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site
LITCHFIELD PARK, Ariz. – Auburn golfers Brandon Mancheno and Jovan Rebula were named PING All-Americans, the Golf Coaches Association of American (GCAA) announced Thursday. Mancheno was selected as a Third Team All-American, while …

Daniel Thomas has massive pair of shoes to fill as Auburn football’s strong safety – SECcountry.com


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Daniel Thomas has massive pair of shoes to fill as Auburn football's strong safety
SECcountry.com
Auburn footballAuburn Tigers-Auburn-Smoke Monday Auburn safety Smoke Monday should make an impact as a freshman in 2018. (Benjamin Wolk/SEC Country). Can Smoke Monday challenge for a starting job? Perhaps no defensive freshman has more …

Auburn football: What’s worst-case scenario for 2018? – SECcountry.com


SECcountry.com

Auburn football: What's worst-case scenario for 2018?
SECcountry.com
I've written for months that Auburn football will be talented, experienced and capable heading into September. Sure, there are a few things to work out. Every program has that. The Tigers know what it takes to win the SEC West, understand what they are
Jarrett Stidham will be allowed to change plays in 2018247Sports



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Auburn football needs Jeremiah Dinson to lead inexperienced secondary – SECcountry.com


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Auburn football needs Jeremiah Dinson to lead inexperienced secondary
SECcountry.com
He is an excellent tackler in space, which makes him an intriguing option at a safety position. Auburn footballAuburn Tigers-Auburn-Auburn spring practice-Auburn secondary-Auburn Auburn safety Jamien Sherwood was impressive in his first spring

Auburn commit gets big role at national HS all-star game

Owen Pappoe and uncommitted IMG Academy (Fla.) RB Noah Cain will serve as captains and help select the roster coached by former NFL coach Steve Mariucci.

Auburn linebacker commit Owen Pappoe will have a major influence on who he plays with in the 2019 Under Armour All-American Game.

Organizers announced on Twitter that a draft will determine the rosters, and game captains will help pick the teams for the national all-star game that features many of the country’s elite college football prospects.

RELATED: Get complete Auburn football coverage

Pappoe and uncommitted IMG Academy (Fla.) running back Noah Cain will serve as captains and help select the roster coached by former NFL coach Steve Mariucci, known as Team Mooch.

Pappoe is set to be joined at the Under Armour game by fellow Auburn commit George Pickens, from Hoover. Three other Alabama high school stars, all Alabama commits, have also been selected for the game: Daphne defensive back Christian WilliamsHewitt-Trussville lineman Pierce Quick and Thompson offensive lineman Amari Kight.

A look at Auburn’s WR recruiting

Pappoe committed to Auburn in May.

Three other Alabama commits, defensive back Brandon Turnage and defensive lineman Rashad Cheney and Kevin Harris, are slated to play in the Under Armour game.

No date or TV broadcast information has been announced for the 2019 Under Armour All-Star Game.

Inside Auburn’s RB recruiting

Auburn commit gets big role at national HS all-star game

Owen Pappoe and uncommitted IMG Academy (Fla.) RB Noah Cain will serve as captains and help select the roster coached by former NFL coach Steve Mariucci.

Is Kerryon Johnson the back the Lions have been looking for since Barry Sanders?

After the Detroit Lions’ first practice of minicamp earlier this month, rookie running back Kerryon Johnson had the opportunity to talk with Barry Sanders, the NFL team’s all-time rushing leader and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Is Kerryon Johnson the back the Lions have been looking for since Barry Sanders?

After the Detroit Lions' first practice of minicamp earlier this month, rookie running back Kerryon Johnson had the opportunity to talk with Barry Sanders, the NFL team's all-time rushing leader and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

After the Detroit Lions’ first practice of minicamp earlier this month, rookie running back Kerryon Johnson had the opportunity to talk with Barry Sanders, the NFL team’s all-time rushing leader and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“That was awesome,” Johnson said of the encounter. “… He just said, ‘Hey, this is Detroit. You’re in a professional football league now. It doesn’t stop. The draft is great, but it doesn’t stop. You got to keep going and keep pushing and keep working.’

“When you get a guy like that, you don’t even need to ask questions. You just listen to what they have to say, and you take everything they say straight to heart.”

Since Sanders retired after the 1998 season, the Lions have been looking for a good ground game. After enjoying 10 straight Pro Bowl seasons and 15,269 rushing yards from Sanders, Detroit hasn’t finished in the top half of the NFL in rushing offense in any season since.

Since Sanders retired, Detroit has drafted 17 running backs. The choices include Kentucky’s Artose Pinner, like Johnson an SEC Offensive Player of the Year; first-rounders Kevin Jones of Virginia Tech and Jahvid Best of California and second-rounders Mikel Leshoure of Illinois and former Homewood High School star Ameer Abdullah of Nebraska.

The Lions traded the 51st and 117th selections in this year’s draft to the New England Patriots to move up eight spots in the second round to select Auburn‘s latest 1,000-yard rusher at No. 43.

Can Johnson deliver what the Lions have been looking for since Sanders?

Right now, it’s not even clear where he stands on the running-back depth chart.

During the offseason, the Lions signed free agent running back LeGarrette Blount, who’s played for the past two Super Bowl winners and led the NFL with 18 rushing touchdowns in 2016. Among Detroit’s returning running backs are Abdullah, who led the team with 552 rushing yards last season, and Theo Riddick, who’s caught 186 passes over the past three seasons.

“Unless you’ve got one of the dynamic running backs in the league … most teams are using, let’s call it, a platoon system where they have two guys, sometimes three guys who carry the load,” Lions running backs coach David Walker told mlive.com. “We’ll be one of those teams that have guys in certain roles. Hopefully, it’s not so finite that the defense knows exactly what those roles are and can prepare for him.”

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

Detroit still has training camp to determine those roles, but the Lions think Johnson will be able to do whatever he’s assigned.

“He’s a guy that’s a three-down player,” Walker said. “(At Auburn, he) showed he can play on first, second and third down. He showed he can play in all situations, which was important for us. Very productive in a very good league. So you see the physical qualities, the flexibility in terms of how you can use a guy like that, and then you have a chance to meet him and see how smart and driven he is. He’s kind of the type of player that fits with our program because he’s smart, he showed he’s productive and then he has flexibility in terms of first, second, third downs.”

In the offseason program, most of the first-team work was taken up by Blount, Abdullah and Riddick.

“This is the National Football League,” Johnson said. “You’re going to have to work your tail off. We’ve got a lot of good running backs in the room, and we’re going to have to push each other for reps.”

A workhorse in his final season for Auburn — in an eight-game stretch last year, Johnson averaged 27 carries and reached 30 three times — he knows he’ll be used differently in the NFL. Even Sanders averaged only 20 rushing attempts per game during his career.

“That time, that 30-carry, that’s obviously not going to happen,” Johnson said. “It shouldn’t happen in college. It’s definitely not going to happen in the NFL. It’s going to be different. But, hey, that means I should have more energy, right? So every carry I get I should definitely be trying to score or get as many yards as I can, and I’ve just got to play that way.”

The Lions haven’t had a 1,000-yard rusher since Reggie Bush went for 1,006 yards in 2013, also the most recent season with a 100-yard rushing game for a Detroit player. Bush ran for 117 in a 40-10 victory over the Green Bay Packers in Detroit’s annual Thanksgiving game that year.

Detroit’s streak of games without a 100-yard rusher is four short of the NFL record of 72, set by the Washington Redskins when they had Hall of Fame quarterback Sonny Jurgensen flinging the ball all over the field in the 1960s.

Detroit’s ground game bottomed out last season, when the Lions finished last in the NFL in rushing offense. Johnson is looking for a chance to change that.

“You’ve just got to go out there, and when you get your chance, take advantage of it,” Johnson said.

Lions FootballDetroit Lions running back Kerryon Johnson carries the football during practice at the NFL team’s training facility in Allen Park, Mich., on June 6, 2018.  

Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @AMarkG1.

‘More flexibility’ for Jarrett Stidham means Auburn’s QB can ‘change plays’ in 2018

Jarrett Stidham will be able to make more decisions at the line of scrimmage, including changing plays, in his second season as Auburn’s starting quarterback.

‘More flexibility’ for Jarrett Stidham means Auburn’s QB can ‘change plays’ in 2018

Jarrett Stidham will be able to make more decisions at the line of scrimmage, including changing plays, in his second season as Auburn's starting quarterback.

Jarrett Stidham will be able to make more decisions at the line of scrimmage, including changing plays, in his second season as Auburn’s starting quarterback..

Last month, Gus Malzahn said Stidham would be given “more flexibility” this season. This week, Malzahn detailed what that will will mean on the field this fall.

“From a coaches’ standpoint you have checks. The more confidence you have and the more comfortable (quarterbacks) are, you give them more freedom to do with those checks and not have to look to the sideline and everything that goes with that,” Malzahn said. “With that being said, the second half of the year, Jarrett did some of that on his own anyway. Just the fact that he understands the offense better, he understands (offensive coordinator Chip) Lindsey better, he’s been through this league a year, he’s a smart guy and he’s ready for it.

“That’s what I mean by more flexibility and he’ll have more opportunities to change plays or get us in good plays.”

Stidham not being permitted to audible out of plays was a hot-button topic last season, but that will not be the case this season, according to Malzahn.

The returning starter, who threw for 3,158 yards with 18 touchdowns and six interceptions last season, will be able to make more reads and decisions on his own.

“I think he’s more confident with the offense,” Malzahn said. “Chip’s more confident in him. There’s nothing like experience.”

Stidham’s passing stats in 2017 rank second in program history for a single-season and fourth in passing yards per game in a season.

Auburn averaged more passing yards than rushing yards last season, just the second time that’s happened in Malzahn’s 12 years coaching at the college level.

James Crepea is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @JamesCrepea.

Auburn plans slightly smaller wide receiver group with 2019 recruiting class

Auburn signed four receivers last year and have plenty of underclassmen on the roster, so the Tigers plan to take a slightly smaller group this time around.

Auburn plans slightly smaller wide receiver group with 2019 recruiting class

Auburn signed four receivers last year and have plenty of underclassmen on the roster, so the Tigers plan to take a slightly smaller group this time around.

Editor’s note: This is the third of a nine-part series analyzing Auburn’s position-by-position recruiting wishlist for the 2019 class. 

After stocking up on wide receivers in the 2018 class, Auburn is planning for a slightly smaller group in the 2019 cycle.

The Tigers signed four wide receivers this year, including four-star prospects Anthony Schwartz, Matthew Hill and Seth Williams, as well as three-star receiver Shedrick Jackson. That, combined with the fact that Auburn will lose only two senior receivers to graduation — Ryan Davis and Will Hastings, barring a medical redshirt for Hastings, who tore his ACL in the spring — after this season, mean the team will have plenty of depth for 2019. As such, Auburn is planning to sign three wide receivers with its 2019 class.

The Tigers already have two of those three locked in for this class, with commits from four-star receivers George Pickens and three-star wideout Ja’Varrius Johnson.

Pickens is Auburn’s longest-standing commit in the 2019 class, having kicked off the Tigers’ impressive run on the recruiting trail with a commitment 11 months ago. The 6-foot-4, 190-pounder out of Hoover is rated as the No. 8 receiver in the nation, the fourth-best player in Alabama and the 51st overall prospect in the 2019 class.

Pickens, who has been playing 7-on-7 this offseason with quarterback Bo Nix, a fellow Auburn commit, is the Tigers’ second-highest rated commit in this class, behind only five-star linebacker Owen Pappoe.

Johnson is one of the newest members of Auburn’s 2019 class, committing nearly two weeks ago after impressing the coaching staff at an on-campus camp. The 5-foot-9, 164-pounder out of Hewitt-Trussville may lack in size, but he makes up for it in speed — fitting a similar mold to former Hewitt-Trussville receiver Noah Igbinoghene, who is now likely to start at cornerback as a sophomore for Auburn.

While Johnson is only a three-star recruit and rated as the No. 212 receiver in the class, his stock has been on the rise in recent weeks — garnering an offer from Mississippi State less than a week before he was offered by Auburn — and his overall rating stands to improve between now and signing day, especially if he puts together a solid senior season.

5-star receiver Jadon Haselwood: Georgia ‘probably concerned’ about Auburn visit

With those two on board, Auburn has one remaining spot to fill at receiver, with several options still on the table. Chief among those is five-star receiver Jadon Haselwood, the No. 1 receiver in the nation, No. 6 overall prospect in this class–and a Georgia commit. Haselwood visited Auburn earlier this month for Big Cat Weekend — and has made multiple visits this offseason — and the Tigers remain in the mix for the 6-foot-3, 195-pounder after giving him something to think about.

Another target is four-star receiver Devonta Lee, the No. 16 receiver in the nation and one of the top recruits in Louisiana. Lee hasn’t been to campus since last spring, but back in late March he named Auburn among his top 12 schools. Still, this is expected to come down to LSU and Alabama.

Four-star receiver Elijah Higgins, the nation’s No. 17 receiver, was on campus for a visit last week, while four-star receiver Dannis Jackson — one of the top prospects in Mississippi — was on campus back in February, and the Tigers remain in the mix for him.

Tom Green is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Tomas_Verde.

Auburn fans enjoy unique experience at AMBUSH event – Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site


Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site

Auburn fans enjoy unique experience at AMBUSH event
Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site
"What Coach Malzahn said about 2010 and then we took a dip, 2013 — that's been going on since I've been keeping up with Auburn football," Roberts said. "What did Daddy say? `It's not always easy being an Auburn fan.' But you've got to love it, and we

Javaris Davis might be Auburn football’s best bet at nickel position – SECcountry.com


SECcountry.com

Javaris Davis might be Auburn football's best bet at nickel position
SECcountry.com
Over the next few weeks, SEC Country will take Auburn football fans to Summer School. Each session will focus on one position on Auburn's 2018 roster, finding answers from spring practice and looking ahead to what might be the biggest questions for the …

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Auburn Builds Champions: nutrition fuels Tigers – Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site


Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site

Auburn Builds Champions: nutrition fuels Tigers
Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site
On football road trips, Silvio will arrive a day before the team to go over the menu with the hotel chef. The Friday night meal features carbohydrates and lean proteins: spaghetti and meatballs, lean ground beef, grilled shrimp and chicken. Silvio

Auburn wedding bands now available – 247Sports


247Sports

Auburn wedding bands now available
247Sports
She once served as the sports information director for football before she was promoted to a sport administrator. Jenkins oversaw operations for the softball program in 2017, when controversy of an inappropriate relationship between an assistant coach

Auburn aims to add 1 or 2 of nation’s ‘best’ running backs in 2019 class

Auburn will sign at least one running back in the 2019 class, though the Tigers could take a second one this cycle.

Auburn aims to add 1 or 2 of nation’s ‘best’ running backs in 2019 class

Auburn will sign at least one running back in the 2019 class, though the Tigers could take a second one this cycle.

Editor’s note: This is the second of a nine-part series analyzing Auburn’s position-by-position recruiting wishlist for the 2019 class. 

Auburn’s running back position has been a well-oiled machine over the years, perpetually churning out 1,000-yard rushers from a group that has ranged from three-star to five-star prospects.

While the Tigers have a large corps of running backs — junior Kam Martin, redshirt sophomore Malik Miller, sophomore Devan Barrett, redshirt freshman JaTarvious Whitlow and true freshmen Harold Joiner, Shaun Shivers and Asa Martin — currently on campus vying to keep that streak alive for a 10th straight season, it’s never too early to plan ahead. With the 2019 recruiting cycle in full swing, Auburn looks to add at least one running back, and possibly two, to its signing class this year.

“We’re going to take one for sure, possibly two,” Auburn running backs coach Tim Horton said in April. “And we feel like we’re on some of the best ones in the country…. Most of them, but not all of them, have been on our campus, but there are still a couple that we offered who haven’t been to campus. I’m confident we’ll be able to get them on campus this summer.”

Auburn already has 11 players committed to its 2019 class, but the Tigers have yet to add a running back to the fold. That’s not to say the coaching staff doesn’t have prospects in mind. As Horton said, the Tigers are heavily recruiting some of the top backs in the nation.

Auburn’s top 2019 running back targets

Among Auburn’s top running back targets are four-star IMG Academy prospect Noah Cain; four-star back Kenny McIntosh out of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; four-star Buford, Ga., running back Derrian Brown; four-star Oklahoma City running back Marcus Major; three-star back Tye Edwards out of St. Augustine, Fla.; and four-star athlete Mark-Antony Richards out of West Palm Beach, Fla.

Of that group, only Major has yet to step foot on the Plains for a visit, though his father told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette earlier this month that Major will likely visit both Auburn and Alabama this fall.

Edwards, who could play either linebacker or running back in college, was offered by Auburn three weeks ago and took an unofficial visit earlier this month. McIntosh, the nation’s No. 8 running back, also visited campus at the beginning of June, but Miami is still perceived as the favorite to land him. Cain, rated as the nation’s No. 4 running back in the 247Sports Composite rankings, was also in Auburn at the start of the month and has made multiple trips to the Plains, though the Tigers appear to be on the outside looking in for 5-foot-11, 209-pounder’s commitment.

Brown, who is rated as the No. 12 running back in the nation, has made multiple unofficial visits to campus this year. He recently released a top-10 that included the Tigers, who are the favorites to land the 5-foot-11, 185-pounder.

Richards, who was last on campus for the Iron Bowl, is another intriguing prospect. He is scheduled to take a visit to Auburn this weekend, and the 6-foot-1, 194-pounder could fit the role of “athlete” for Auburn. While Horton said the Tigers will sign one or two running backs, the most likely scenario has them taking one true running back and one athlete — a player who could see the field at multiple positions — and Richards fits that mold.

Tom Green is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Tomas_Verde.

Gus Malzahn remains optimistic 3 injured Auburn players will be ready for fall camp

With approximately six weeks until fall camp five Auburn players are still on the mend from injuries sustained during the spring,

With approximately six weeks until fall camp five Auburn players are still on the mend from injuries sustained during the spring, but Gus Malzahn remains optimistic that three will be ready when the Tigers resume practice.

Defensive lineman Daquan Newkirk (torn Achilles), center Nick Brahms (broken leg) and safety Jeremiah Dinson (shoulder surgery) could all return for the start of fall camp and Malzahn said receivers Eli Stove and Will Hastings are “ahead of schedule” recovering from torn anterior cruciate ligaments.

Malzahn said Newkirk and Brahms remain “limited,” but are on the right track.

“Talking to (head trainer) Robbie (Stewart) the other day, we feel confident that they’ll be in a good spot for fall camp,” Malzahn said before Auburn’s Ambush tour stop in Newnan, Ga. on Tuesday. “As it gets closer I’ll give an update on their status, but we’re very hopeful.”

Malzahn believe Dinson will be “ready to go” for fall camp as well. The junior defensive back’s recovery has been ahead of schedule.

Stove and Hastings are both roughly three months into recovery from ACL surgery and Malzahn said both are coming along very well.

“Their rehab is going excellent,” he said. “Both of them are ahead of schedule. We’re hopeful we’ll get those guys back to help this season.”

Recovery from ACL surgery typically takes 9-12 months, but the newly passed four-game redshirt rule could open the door for Hastings and Stove to return to the field later in the season without losing a year of eligibility.

Malzahn, who supported the rule change, didn’t want to speculate so far ahead of time for such a decision.

“We’ll kind of see where that goes,” he said. “I think that’s something every head coach will take into effect. There will be a little more strategy involved as far as that goes.”

James Crepea is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @JamesCrepea.

Gus Malzahn remains optimistic 3 injured Auburn players will be ready for fall camp

With approximately six weeks until fall camp five Auburn players are still on the mend from injuries sustained during the spring,

Gus Malzahn hopeful Auburn’s remaining 4 signees arrive on campus soon

Four members of Auburn’s 2018 signing class have yet to make it to campus.

Gus Malzahn hopeful Auburn’s remaining 4 signees arrive on campus soon

Four members of Auburn's 2018 signing class have yet to make it to campus.

Four Auburn signees have yet to move to campus, but head coach Gus Malzahn is hopeful that will soon change.

Defensive linemen Coynis Miller and Kayode Oladele, wide receiver Anthony Schwartz and punter Arryn Siposs have yet to enroll in classes while the remainder of the Tigers’ 2018 class has already arrived on campus and is partaking in summer workouts.

“I don’t have any updated information now,” Malzahn said Tuesday before speaking at the Ambush Tour stop in Newnan, Ga. “We hope to have them soon. Obviously, the second summer is starting next week.”

There are various reasons for each of the four to not be on campus yet, though Malzahn did not get into specifics in regard to each player and whether it’s a matter of qualifying with the NCAA.

“There’s a couple of different situations that’s unique to each one of them,” Malzahn said.

Schwartz, a four-star receiver out of American Heritage in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., has yet to arrive because he has been competing in track this summer. The fastest recruit in the nation just wrapped up competition at the USA Junior Championships in Bloomington, Ind., where he took home gold in the 100-meter in 10.23 seconds last week and qualified for the IAAF World U20 Championships. That takes place from July 10-15 in Finland.

It’s unclear why Miller, a four-star defensive tackle out of Jackson-Olin, and Oladele, a four-star defensive end out of Miami, have yet to arrive on campus.

As for Siposs, the Tigers’ new Australian punter, Malzahn said his delayed arrival is a matter of logistics. After all, the former Aussie rules punter has to move more than 9,500 miles from Melbourne, Australia to Auburn.

“That’s to be expected with a player from Australia and everything that goes with it,” Malzahn said. “We’re confident he’ll be with us by the time fall camp starts, hopefully earlier.”

Tom Green is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Tomas_Verde.

Auburn hires Notre Dame’s Brant Ust for new associate AD position

Allen Greene has added a new position to Auburn’s athletic department.

Auburn hires Notre Dame’s Brant Ust for new associate AD position

Allen Greene has added a new position to Auburn's athletic department.

Allen Greene has added a new position to Auburn’s athletic department.

Brant Ust, a former Major League baseball player who most recently as an assistant athletic director and executive director of the Notre Dame Monogram Club, has been hired to a newly created associate athletic director for administration.

“He’s going to help support the day-to-day operations of the athletics department,” Greene said before Auburn’s Ambush tour stop in Newnan, Ga. on Tuesday. “All the internal stuff, working with (chief operating officer) Marcy Girton to make sure that we’re efficient and effective in serving our student-athletes.”

The hiring of Ust comes two weeks after Greene fired six Auburn athletics administrators.

Auburn AD Allen Greene discusses administrative shakeup

Ust served in his last role at Notre Dame, where he played college baseball with Greene, for three years. He managed the Notre Dame Monogram Club’s staff, activities, outreach and engagement, oversaw special events and reunions of former players. He was also the sports administrator for the men’s golf program.

“I am truly appreciative of the professional experiences and opportunities I’ve had while at Notre Dame,” Ust said in a statement. “I would like to thank Allen Greene and Marcy Girton for the opportunity to join the Auburn family and am excited to begin working to deliver the best experience for student-athletes, coaches and the Auburn community. War Eagle!”

Prior to his time at his alma mater, Ust worked with USA Baseball from 2010-14, serving as director of the 18U National Team program & Alumni Relations.

“We’ve known each other for 20 years or so,” Greene said. “In fact, we’re actually from the same city in Seattle by and large, so there’s some connections there that go back a ways. We didn’t know each other in high school, we were teammates during college for my two years there we overlapped.

“We’ve not worked together before but we’ve known each other. I’m really impressed with the comments that people at Notre Dame have and had about him. He’s a tremendous mind. He’s very inquisitive; he asks a lot of questions. He played professional baseball for nine years so he’s been through that battle. He’s worked with USA Baseball so he gets the dynamic. I think he’ll be a great addition to our staff.”

A native of Redmond, Washington, Ust was the Big East Rookie of the Year for the Fighting Irish in 1997, the league’s Player of the Year in 1998 and a third-team All-American.

He was a sixth-round pick of the Detroit Tigers in 1999 and played nine years with the Tigers, Boston Red Sox, Pittsburgh Pirates and Seattle Mariners. He was an assistant baseball coach at Michigan following his playing career.

James Crepea is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @JamesCrepea.

Auburn recruiting: Noah Cain listens to Cadillac Williams; Justin Osborne’s de-commitment – SECcountry.com


SECcountry.com

Auburn recruiting: Noah Cain listens to Cadillac Williams; Justin Osborne's de-commitment
SECcountry.com
Welcome to SEC Country's daily Auburn Tigers football recruiting notebook with Auburn recruiting beat writer Benjamin Wolk. It's Tuesday, and SEC Country has two IMG Academy updates on Noah Cain and Justin Osborne.
Behind the Crystal Ball: Justin Osborne247Sports


Auburn Offensive Tackle Target Reopens His RecruitmentCollege and Magnolia

all 9 news articles »

Fresh faces, moving pieces define Auburn football’s cornerback depth – SECcountry.com


SECcountry.com

Fresh faces, moving pieces define Auburn football's cornerback depth
SECcountry.com
… his surprisingly strong freshman campaign in 2017, but if Davis stays put, these two will be the favorites. Auburn footballAuburn Tigers-Auburn-Christian Tutt Auburn cornerback Christian Tutt was impressive in his first spring practice session for

General public tickets for Washington-Auburn available – 247Sports


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General public tickets for Washington-Auburn available
247Sports
“We have an opening in 2018, Auburn is willing to play, it'd be a great matchup, I can pay you a good amount of money, more than you probably can make at a home game and this would really help your non-conference schedule and for the [College Football …

Greg Robinson signs with Cleveland Browns, becomes competition for Shon Coleman

Former Auburn standout Greg Robinson has signed with the Cleveland Browns and could compete with another former Auburn standout, Shon Coleman, for the NFL team’s left tackle spot.

Greg Robinson signs with Cleveland Browns, becomes competition for Shon Coleman

Former Auburn standout Greg Robinson has signed with the Cleveland Browns and could compete with another former Auburn standout, Shon Coleman, for the NFL team's left tackle spot.

The Cleveland Browns announced on Tuesday they had signed offensive tackle Greg Robinson, the second player picked in the 2014 NFL Draft — a transaction that might have set up an Auburn-vs.-Auburn competition in training camp for the team’s left tackle spot.

Robinson became a free agent in March and had remained on the market throughout the period of the NFL’s offseason programs. The Browns held their final minicamp practice on Thursday and are scheduled to open training camp on July 27.

The Browns need to replace 10-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas, who retired after the 2017 season.

Former Auburn standout Shon Coleman, who spent his second NFL season as Cleveland’s right offensive tackle in 2017, has gotten the first crack at filling Thomas’ old spot during the offseason program. During the 2013 season, Coleman served as Robinson’s backup at left offensive tackle for Auburn.

Left guard Joel Bitonio, rookies Justin Corbett and Desmond Harrison and former UAB standout Chris Hubbard have remained options at left tackle, though. Cleveland signed Hubbard to a five-year, $37.5 million contract in March to leave the Pittsburgh Steelers in free agency to become the Browns’ right tackle.

“I don’t know if he’s clearly ahead of everybody else because there’s a lot of guys just that sitting behind him,” Cleveland offensive-line coach Bob Wylie said of Coleman’s lead at the position, indicating a slight separation with his hands. “We just need to say, ‘OK, this is the guy that we’re going to go with.'”

Robinson might be “Plan D” at left tackle.

“I’m happy we have a training camp now to get to and put the pads on these guys and see what we really have,” Cleveland offensive coordinator Todd Haley said last week. “You’re only going to see so much in shorts, especially at those positions up front. I’ve been encouraged with the growth of Shon. We do have a Plan B, Plan C and, potentially, a Plan D that we don’t even know about.”

After the Houston Texans selected South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney with the first choice in the 2014 NFL Draft, the St. Louis Rams selected Robinson. But the former Auburn standout never reached the performance level that the Rams envisioned for him, although he started 42 of 46 games in three seasons with the team.

When the Los Angeles Rams signed left tackle Andrew Whitworth away from the Cincinnati Bengals in free agency before the 2017 season, it left Robinson without a spot, and he was traded to the Detroit Lions for a sixth-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Taylor Decker, Detroit’s left tackle, had had surgery to repair a torn labrum 10 days before the Lions acquired Robinson.

Robinson beat out former Alabama standout Cyrus Kouandjio and Storm Norton to start at left tackle for Detroit last season. But six games into the campaign, he suffered an ankle injury that sent him to injured reserve for the rest of the year.

Robinson became a free agent when his four-year, $21,284,098 rookie contract ran out with the end of the NFL’s 2017 business year in March.

On the final day of Cleveland’s offseason program last week, Wylie said Coleman had some things to work on if he wanted to be the Browns’ left tackle when they kick off the 2018 season.

“He has the athleticism,” Wylie said. “I think the footwork — we need to keep working on the fundamentals and that stuff. Being an athlete, he gets himself in some pretty awkward positions and gets himself out of them.

“We have to keep working on his footwork and his hands to make sure I get him from Point A to Point B without any wasted motion. We have 83 days before we have to play the Pittsburgh Steelers. If we can’t get it done in 83 days, then it’s probably not going to get done.”

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

Shon ColemanCleveland Browns offensive tackle Shon Coleman looks to block against the New Orleans Saints during an NFL preseason game on Aug. 10, 2017, in Cleveland.  

Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @AMarkG1.

AL.com All-Access: Which SEC player has the best shot at the Heisman Trophy in 2018?

Five of the last 11 Heisman Trophy winners have been from the SEC, but it's been three years since an SEC player took home the Heisman.

Five of the last 11 Heisman Trophy winners have been from the SEC.

There was Florida’s Tim Tebow in 2007, Alabama’s Mark Ingram in 2009, Auburn’s Cam Newton in 2010, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel in 2012 and Alabama’s Derrick Henry in 2015.

In that span, the SEC hasn’t gone more than two years without a Heisman winner. With the last two Heisman winners — Louisville’s Lamar Jackson and Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield — coming from outside the SEC, it seems like it’s about time for the league to produce another one.

So who among current SEC players has the best chance at bringing home the trophy in 2018?

The Heisman has always been a quarterback/running back award, and has become even more a quarterback award in recent years. Henry, Ingram and USC’s Reggie Bush in 2005 are the only running backs this century to win the Heisman (and Bush had his taken away due to NCAA sanctions).

According to the Vegas odds, there are seven SEC players with a better than 50-to-1 chance to win the 2018 Heisman. Let’s look at them one-by-one.

Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia (10/1) — There are rumblings he might not be the starter all year, and even if he is, he’s not likely to put up huge numbers.

Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama (10/1) — Again, not guaranteed to be the starter, but if he is, has the preseason hype and the supporting cast to pull it off.

Jalen Hurts, QB, Alabama (20/1) — It would be something of an upset if Hurts wins the starting job, and if he does, he’s not likely to post the passing numbers to get Heisman notice.

Jarrett Stidham, QB, Auburn (25/1) — He’s got the ability and a good receiving corps, but offensive line issues might hurt him. And in general, a QB needs to be in the national title race to get serious Heisman consideration.

D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia (33/1) — The latest in a long line of talented Georgia backs, he doesn’t have much preseason hype. He’d probably need to approach 2,000 yards rushing to have a chance.

Drew Lock, QB, Missouri (33/1) — Should put up huge numbers, but again, how good will his team be? The Tigers would probably need to win the East for Lock to have any kind of Heisman campaign.

Nick Fitzgerald, QB, Mississippi State (33/1) — Love his talent and his game, but he’s coming off an injury. Also, if Dak Prescott couldn’t win the Heisman, Fitzgerald won’t.

I figure Tagovailoa’s probably the best bet here, but I’d have a hard time expecting too much from someone who has never started a game. Stidham could have a shot, but Auburn would need to have a really special year (even better than last year).

So which of these players do you think has the best chance at the Heisman? Anybody not on the list you think should be considered?

I’ll take your questions and comments on that or anything else on your mind beginning at 10 a.m.

AL.com All-Access: Which SEC player has the best shot at the Heisman Trophy in 2018?

Five of the last 11 Heisman Trophy winners have been from the SEC, but it’s been three years since an SEC player took home the Heisman.

Take 5 with Keith Niebuhr: Tuesday morning insider – 247Sports


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Take 5 with Keith Niebuhr: Tuesday morning insider
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Get the latest in Auburn recruiting scoop two to three times a week at Auburn Undercover in Take 5 with Keith Niebuhr, Tigers recruiting… To read this article and more, subscribe now —. 7-Day Free Trial. Get access to this article and all of the in

Auburn set to maintain quality quarterback depth with 2019 recruiting class

A look at Auburn's recruiting wishlist at quarterback for the 2019 class.

Watch video

Editor’s note: This is the first of a nine-part series analyzing Auburn’s position-by-position recruiting wishlist for the 2019 class. 

Auburn’s quarterback situation is in the best shape it has been since Gus Malzahn took over the program, and the Tigers look to maintain that condition for the foreseeable future.

With Jarrett Stidham returning for a second season under Malzahn and offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey, as well as rising sophomore Malik Willis and true freshman dual-threat option Joey Gatewood, Auburn has an ideal mix of proven talent and young potential at its most important position. While Stidham can leave Auburn after the 2018 season, the Tigers already have a line of succession secured, with Willis, who got in-game experience in a limited role as a freshman last season; Gatewood, who has drawn comparisons to Cam Newton due to his physical stature and skillset; and with the team’s lone 2019 quarterback commit, Bo Nix.

It’s a much better situation than even a year ago, when the Tigers had some uncertainty about the future of the position.

Under Malzahn, Auburn has made it a priority to take at least one — and sometimes more — quarterback each recruiting cycle. This time around, the Tigers currently plan to sign only one quarterback in 2019, and fortunately for them, they’ve already secured that commitment.

Nix, the son of former Auburn great Patrick Nix, committed to Auburn on Jan. 10 and has not wavered from that one bit. The 6-foot-2, 207-pounder is rated as the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in the 2019 class, the No. 6 player in Alabama and the 68th-best player in the nation. According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, he is a four-star recruit.

Auburn’s top 2019 quarterback targets

Nix is an ideal fit for Auburn’s offense, with an ability to extend plays with his legs while also touting a strong and accurate arm. After transferring from Scottsboro before his junior season, Nix missed four games last year at Pinson Valley due to injury but returned to lead his team to a 15-0 record and the program’s first Class 6A state championship.

As a junior, Nix completed 196-of-307 passes (64.8 percent) for 2,872 yards, 35 touchdowns and just four interceptions. He earned Class 6A first-team All-State honors and was named AL.com’s All-Birmingham Player of the Year.

This offseason, he participated in the Elite 11 finals in California and finished in the top three, earning an invite to The Opening finals in Dallas, and he has quarterbacked Newton’s 7-on-7 team out of the Atlanta area.

Tom Green is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Tomas_Verde.

Auburn set to maintain quality quarterback depth with 2019 recruiting class

A look at Auburn’s recruiting wishlist at quarterback for the 2019 class.

State NFL rookies by the numbers: Who’s wearing which jersey in the pros

Still in college football last year, 45 players with Alabama roots now have completed their first NFL offseason programs. Their next pro stop will be training camp starting in late July.

Still in college football last year, 45 players with Alabama roots now have completed their first NFL offseason programs. Their next pro stop will be training camp starting in late July.

From NFL Draft picks slated for starting duty in 2018 to second-thought players who earned contracts after a tryout, the former Alabama high school and college standouts have been through rookie minicamp, OTAs and mandatory minicamp, learned new offensive and defensive schemes and worked on perfecting pro techniques to get to this point.

It’s not unlikely that some of the players will wind up as Pro Bowlers in the NFL. It’s even more likely that some of the players will never make it to a regular-season NFL roster.

But for now, they’re all NFL players and have been practicing in their first pro jerseys.

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

Here are the rookies from Alabama high schools and colleges, with their new jersey numbers and their NFL roster heights and weights:

No. 3: Austin Barnard, punter, Tennessee Titans, 6-3, 207 — Barnard joined the Titans from Samford as an undrafted free agent.

No. 6: JK Scott, punter, Green Bay Packers, 6-6, 208 — Scott joined the Packers from Alabama as a fifth-round selection — the 172nd overall pick — in the 2018 NFL Draft.

No. 7: Daniel Carlson, place-kicker, Minnesota Vikings, 6-4, 223 — Carlson joined the Vikings from Auburn as a fifth-round selection — the 167th overall pick — in the 2018 NFL Draft.

No. 8: Robert Foster, wide receiver, Buffalo Bills, 6-2, 196 — Foster joined the Bills from Alabama as an undrafted rookie.

No. 18: Calvin Ridley, wide receiver, Atlanta Falcons, 6-1, 190 — Ridley joined the Falcons from Alabama as the 26th player picked in the 2018 NFL Draft.

No. 25: Ito Smith, running back, Atlanta Falcons, 5-9, 195 — Smith joined the Falcons as a fourth-round selection — the 126th overall pick — in the 2018 NFL Draft. He played high school football at McGill-Toolen in Mobile.

No. 27: Darious Williams, cornerback, Baltimore Ravens, 5-9, 184 — Williams joined the Ravens from UAB as an undrafted free agent.

No. 28: Anthony Averett, cornerback, Baltimore Ravens, 5-11, 183 — Averett joined the Ravens from Alabama as a fourth-round selection — the 118th overall pick — in the 2018 NFL Draft.

No. 29: Minkah Fitzpatrick, safety, Miami Dolphins, 6-1, 202 — Fitzpatrick joined the Dolphins from Alabama as the 11th player picked in the 2018 NFL Draft.

No. 29: Siran Neal, safety, Buffalo Bills, 6-0, 206 — Neal joined the Bills from Jacksonville State as a fifth-round selection — the 154th overall pick — in the 2018 NFL Draft. He played high school football at Eufaula.

No. 32: Roc Thomas, running back, Minnesota Vikings, 5-11, 193 — Thomas joined the Vikings from Jacksonville State as an undrafted free agent. He played high school football at Oxford.

No. 33: Chris Campbell, cornerback, Arizona Cardinals, 6-1, 194 — Campbell joined the Cardinals as a sixth-round selection — the 182nd overall pick — in the 2018 NFL Draft. He played high school football at Central-Phenix City.

No. 33: Carlton Davis, cornerback, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 6-1, 206 — Davis joined the Buccaneers from Auburn as a second-round selection — the 63rd overall pick — in the 2018 NFL Draft.

No. 33: Kerryon Johnson, running back, Detroit Lions, 5-11, 206 — Johnson joined the Lions from Auburn as a second-round selection — the 43rd overall pick — in the 2018 NFL Draft. Johnson played high school football at Madison Academy.

No. 36: Ronnie Harrison, safety, Jacksonville Jaguars, 6-3, 214 — Harrison joined the Jaguars from Alabama as a third-round selection — the 93rd overall pick — in the 2018 NFL Draft.

No. 36: Bo Scarbrough, running back, Dallas Cowboys, 6-2, 228 — Scarbrough joined the Cowboys from Alabama as a seventh-round selection — the 236th overall pick — in the 2018 NFL Draft. He played high school football at Northridge in Tuscaloosa.

No. 38: Tray Matthews, defensive back, Minnesota Vikings, 6-0, 196 — Matthews joined the Vikings from Auburn as an undrafted rookie.

No. 38: Stephen Roberts, safety, Philadelphia Eagles, 5-11, 186 — Roberts joined the Eagles from Auburn as an undrafted free agent. He played high school football at Opelika.

No. 39: Tony Brown, defensive back, Los Angeles Chargers, 6-0, 198 — Brown joined the Chargers from Alabama as an undrafted free agent.

No. 39: Tremon Smith, defensive back, Kansas City Chiefs, 6-0, 190 — Smith joined the Chiefs as a sixth-round selection — the 196th overall pick — in the 2018 NFL Draft. He played high school football at Saks.

No. 41: Jeremy Reaves, safety, Philadelphia Eagles, 5-11, 190 — Reaves joined the Eagles from South Alabama as an undrafted free agent.

No. 43: John Franklin III, defensive back, Chicago Bears, 6-1, 186 — Franklin joined the Bears as an undrafted free agent. Although he joined Chicago from Florida Atlantic, Franklin played quarterback at Auburn in the 2016 season.

No. 46: Jordan Chunn, running back, Dallas Cowboys, 6-0, 239 — Chunn joined the Cowboys from Troy as an undrafted free agent. He played high school football at Madison County.

No. 46: Jeff Holland, linebacker, Denver Broncos, 6-2, 249 — Holland joined the Broncos from Auburn as an undrafted free agent.

No. 47: Levi Wallace, cornerback, Buffalo Bills, 6-0, 179 —Wallace joined the Bills from Alabama as an undrafted free agent.

No. 51: Shaun Dion Hamilton, linebacker, Washington Redskins, 6-0, 235 — Hamilton joined the Redskins from Alabama as a sixth-round selection — the 197th overall pick — in the 2018 NFL Draft. He played high school football at Carver-Montgomery.

No. 54: Rashaan Evans, linebacker, Tennessee Titans, 6-2, 232 — Evans joined the Titans from Alabama as the 22nd player picked in the 2018 NFL Draft. He played high school football at Auburn.

No. 55: Casey Dunn, center, Washington Redskins, 6-4, 300 — Dunn joined the Redskins from Auburn as an undrafted free agent. He played high school football at Hewitt-Trussville.

No. 56: Shaheed Salmon, linebacker, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 6-2, 232 — Salmon joined the Buccaneers from Samford as an undrafted free agent.

No. 61: Ade Aruna, defensive end, Minnesota Vikings, 6-5, 263 — Aruna joined the Vikings as a sixth-round selection — the 218th pick overall — in the 2018 NFL Draft. He played basketball at Central Park Christian in Birmingham.

No. 61: J.C. Hassenauer, center, Atlanta Falcons, 6-2, 299 — Hassenauer joined the Falcons from Alabama as an undrafted free agent.

No. 62: Austin Golson, offensive lineman, New York Jets, 6-5 315 — Golson joined the Jets from Auburn as an undrafted free agent. He played high school football at Prattville.

No. 66: Darius Jackson, defensive end, Jacksonville Jaguars, 6-2, 242 — Jackson joined the Jaguars from Jacksonville State as an undrafted free agent. He played high school football at McAdory in McCalla.

No. 68: Trent Scott, offensive tackle, Los Angeles Chargers, 6-5, 320 — Scott joined the Chargers as an undrafted free agent. He played high school football at Lee-Huntsville.

No. 69: Joshua Frazier, defensive tackle, Pittsburgh Steelers, 6-3, 321 — Frazier joined the Steelers from Alabama as a seventh-round selection — the 246th overall pick — in the 2018 NFL Draft.

No. 72: Braden Smith, guard, Indianapolis Colts, 6-6, 315 — Smith joined the Colts from Auburn as a second-round selection — the 37th overall pick — in the 2018 NFL Draft.

No. 74: Chris Schleuger, guard, Pittsburgh Steelers, 6-4, 305 — Schleuger joined the Steelers from UAB as an undrafted free agent.

No. 76: Darius James, offensive tackle, New York Jets, 6-4, 324 — James joined the Jets from Auburn as an undrafted free agent.

No. 76: Taylor Stallworth, defensive tackle, New Orleans Saints, 6-2, 305 — Stallworth joined the Saints as an undrafted free agent. He played high school football at Murphy in Mobile.

No. 77: Bradley Bozeman, center, Baltimore Ravens, 6-3, 320 — Bozeman joined the Ravens from Alabama as a sixth-round selection — the 215th overall pick — in the 2018 NFL Draft. Bozeman played high school football at Handley.

No. 79: Korey Cunningham, offensive lineman, Arizona Cardinals, 6-6, 305 — Cunningham joined the Cardinals as a seventh-round selection — the 254th overall pick — in the 2018 NFL Draft. Cunningham played high school football at Montevallo.

No. 89: Cam Sims, wide receiver, Washington Redskins, 6-5, 214 — Sims joined the Redskins from Alabama as an undrafted free agent.

No. 93: Da’Shawn Hand, defensive lineman, Detroit Lions, 6-3, 297 — Hand joined the Lions from Alabama as a fourth-round selection — the 114th overall pick — in the 2018 NFL Draft.

No. 95: Da’Ron Payne, defensive lineman, Washington Redskins, 6-3, 319 — Payne joined the Redskins from Alabama as the 13th player picked in the 2018 NFL Draft. He played high school football at Shades Valley in Irondale.

No. 96: Dee Liner, defensive lineman, Kansas City Chiefs, 6-3, 337 — Liner joined the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent. He played high school football at Muscle Shoals.

Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @AMarkG1.

State NFL rookies by the numbers: Who’s wearing which jersey in the pros

Still in college football last year, 45 players with Alabama roots now have completed their first NFL offseason programs. Their next pro stop will be training camp starting in late July.

Next on Driving Plains: Gus Malzahn – 247Sports


247Sports

Next on Driving Plains: Gus Malzahn
247Sports
Auburn knocked off the Bulldogs 40-17 in a blowout at Jordan-Hare Stadium, but the Bulldogs went on to win the SEC Championship in a rematch against the Tigers before facing Alabama in the College Football Playoff national championship. What Kirshner …

and more »

2018 Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game Tickets On Sale to the General Public Tomorrow – Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site


Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site

2018 Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game Tickets On Sale to the General Public Tomorrow
Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site
Tigers Unlimited Foundation football season ticket holders had the opportunity during the month of May to pre-order tickets through their TUF account with a Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game application and tickets are also on-sale to current Auburn University

2018 NCAA Rule Changes—The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

It’s that time of year when the NCAA passes rule changes to clear up muddy college athletics. In the last few days and weeks there have been several controversial moves that could possibly have a big impact on college football.

As one who doesn’t like to see a lot of  changes, I have to admit some are good for the game. Take for example the new rule passed last week that will allow redshirt football players to play up to four games without losing the redshirt status. Under the new rule, if a school finds its depth chart depleted by injuries late in the season, a redshirt player can step in and gain valuable game experience without losing his eligibility. And that’s a good thing—a positive move for both the school and the athlete.

The NCAA also just passed a new no-permission transfer rule, long supported by NCAA President Mark Emmert. The change, although applauded by many, leaves this writer with a lot of skepticism. While on the surface it sounds like a positive, in the long run it could wind up being bad for college football.

Prior to the rule change, a scholarship player wanting to transfer needed a release from his school to play at another institution. While that may be a positive for graduate transfers, it could be another step toward making the college game like professional leagues. What the rule does is essentially grant “free agency” to student-athletes. Therein lies the problem.

When a player announces he wants to transfer, a school will be required to enter his name into a national transfer database within two days of his announcement. Then he essentially becomes a free agent (just like in the NFL), and coaches across the country will be free to recruit him.

However, players are not professionals. They are “student” athletes. If they can transfer any where, any time, how can a coach enforce discipline? Under the new rule, if a player gets upset when benched for a discipline reason, he can opt to transfer somewhere else. That ultimately hurts not only the program but the player himself because he misses out on a life lesson.  Many a student-athlete has thanked a college coach later in life for the discipline he received, though at the time he didn’t like it.

Or what about a running back or quarterback competition? If a kid doesn’t get the starting position, he can take his frustration out by transferring to your rival, thereby hurting the depth chart. Again, if a player can transfer whenever he wants, for whatever reason he wants, how can that help the game? We’re not talking about hardship cases like transferring to be near a sick relative. It’s the apparent free-agency that makes this a bad rule change for both the players and the programs.

If the NCAA really wants to look out for the student-athlete why not do away with the rule that prevents a football player from returning to play for his college after he has declared for the draft? Now that one is really a bad rule. I have never understood why basketball and baseball players can test their draft status without losing their eligibility but a football player cannot.

The end of May saw another inexplicable rule change that limits the number of headsets coaches and players can utilize on the sideline to communicate with the coaches in the press box as well as the number of analysts that can help out in the box during the game.

It’s a change that could result in producing ugly games across the nation this fall. Analysts gather a lot of information that can help the coaching staff both during the game as well as with halftime adjustments. The rule was ostensibly passed to control the number of analysts a team can have, but in reality it just limits the ability of the coaching staff to produce the best quality game possible.

Gus Malzahn called it a joke and said, “I don’t know why people care [,but] it’s a game changer with just the way you go about getting information for your game and halftime approach.” Nick Saban was even less charitable. “I don’t know how we’re going to manage all of that. I think it’s very short sighted,” Saban said. “I don’t know who is driving all this stuff? But it’s kinda like [dealing with] mouse manure when you’re up to your ears in elephant doo-doo.”

The answer to that question is the NCAA has a lot of people making decisions who have little or no experience in playing or coaching football. The game would be more attractive and better off if there were some retired D1 coaches helping with the decision-making process. But that would make too much sense to an organization that is used to doing things the hard way.

The post 2018 NCAA Rule Changes—The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly appeared first on Track 'Em Tigers, Auburn's oldest and most read independent blog.

Is Jamel Dean ready for role as Auburn football’s new No. 1 cornerback? – SECcountry.com


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Impact Analysis: The Jaren Handy commitment – 247Sports


247Sports

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Switching Tigers: Auburn lands pledge from former LSU commit, 4-star DE Jaren HandySaturday Down South


Mississippi defensive end prospect Jaren Handy commits to AuburnSECcountry.com

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Switching Tigers: Auburn lands pledge from former LSU commit, 4-star DE Jaren Handy – Saturday Down South


Saturday Down South

Switching Tigers: Auburn lands pledge from former LSU commit, 4-star DE Jaren Handy
Saturday Down South
LSU's loss appears to be Auburn's gain as one of Mississippi's top prospects has just committed to the Tigers. This time it's the Auburn Tigers that hold Jaren Handy's interest, as the four-star pass rusher from the Magnolia State was at one time an
4-star DE Jaren Handy commits to Auburn247Sports



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4-star defensive end Jaren Handy commits to Auburn

Handy is the second player from Mississippi to commit to Auburn's 2019 class.

Auburn is dipping into Mississippi to fortify its defensive line in 2019.

Two days after three-star defensive end Jamond Gordon committed to Auburn, the Tigers added a commitment from four-star strongside defensive end Jaren Handy. Handy gives Auburn 11 commits in the 2019 class, two along the defensive line and two from Mississippi — a state the Tigers have not traditionally recruited heavily but have put an emphasis on this cycle.

Handy, who announced his decision on Twitter on Monday afternoon, is ranked as the No. 8 strongside defensive end in the 2019 class, the sixth-best player in Mississippi and the 108th-best player in the nation, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. The Hattiesburg, Miss., prospect is listed at 6-foot-5 and 278 pounds.

“First of all, I just want to thank the man upstairs for all the continued blessings and support,” Handy wrote in a note posted to Twitter. “Without him none of this would possible (sic). I would also like to thank ALL the schools that gave me opportunities that many people dream off(sic). Thanks to all my family, friends, and student peers for all your constant support. And thank you to all those that told me I couldn’t do it, and drove me to prove against the odds. I don’t look at offers as numbers, but an opportunity to have a FREE education and play the sport I love. I’m announcing my commitment to THE Auburn University.”


 

Tom Green is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Tomas_Verde.

4-star defensive end Jaren Handy commits to Auburn

Handy is the second player from Mississippi to commit to Auburn’s 2019 class.

Cincinnati Bengals tight end C.J. Uzomah working to earn ‘good second deal’

Tight end C.J. Uzomah spent Cincinnati’s offseason program trying to make sure the Bengals’ coaching staff sees him “as a vital part of the team.”

Cincinnati Bengals tight end C.J. Uzomah working to earn ‘good second deal’

Tight end C.J. Uzomah spent Cincinnati's offseason program trying to make sure the Bengals' coaching staff sees him "as a vital part of the team."

Tight end C.J. Uzomah spent Cincinnati’s offseason program trying to make sure the Bengals’ coaching staff considers him “as a vital part of the team.”

“It’s Year 4. It’s a big year for me,” Uzomah said on the Cincinnati Enquirer’s “Bengals Beat Podcast.” “And I’m going to do everything in my power to propel myself to be the best I can.”

What makes the 2018 NFL season particularly important for Uzomah is that it’s the final year of his $2.5 million rookie contract, which he signed after the Bengals selected him out of Auburn in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

Cincinnati’s offseason program ended Thursday without Tyler Eifert or Tyler Kroft, the tight ends ahead of Uzomah on the Bengals’ depth chart, taking part in mandatory minicamp because of injuries.

Uzomah said he thought that gave him the opportunity to “showcase himself.”

“I feel like I’ve been putting myself in great position for the coach’s eyes,” Uzomah said. “I’ve been doing the majority of — not the majority of — but a good bit of the reps with the first team and still doing stuff on special teams, so kind of just like a utility player. I’m hoping they see, like ‘Oh, we can use him in this situation or play him on special teams.’ Again, like a vital part of the team is what I’m hoping they kind of see.”

In Uzomah’s rookie season, he played in five games and caught one pass while Eifert earned Pro Bowl recognition. But Eifert has missed 22 of the Bengals’ 32 games since 2015 because of back problems.

Uzomah caught 25 passes for 234 yards and one touchdown in Eifert’s absence in 2016, even though he missed six games with a calf injury.

Last year, Uzomah played in 14 games, but his production dropped to 10 receptions for 92 yards and a touchdown, and he played 200 fewer snaps with the Bengals’ offense (although his special-teams work jumped to 249 plays, fourth-most on the team). Meanwhile, Kroft stepped up to catch 42 passes for 404 yards and seven touchdowns in 2017.

Cincinnati offensive coordinator Bill Lazor has spent the offseason program installing a new scheme that shifts the Bengals’ tight ends into H-backs and fullbacks at times.

Uzomah said he thinks he’s picked up the new offense “as well as anyone.”

“There are a lot of moving parts for us,” Uzomah said. “When we go into those two-tight end sets, it’s not like this is what you’re going to do no matter what on every play. You’ve got to know what this person and this person do because if we call a certain personnel group, we might just throw you out there with a different formation.”

Cincinnati tight ends coach Jonathan Hayes said the Bengals like Uzomah’s versatility for the new offense and recognize the improvement he’s made as a blocker since entering the NFL.

“From the business aspect of it, I’m trying to do everything I can to raise my level in terms of the eyes of the owners and coaches, and I’m looking forward to a good second deal,” Uzomah said. “Obviously, it’s a brand new offense. Everyone has a clean slate, level playing field, and, hopefully, I can use that to my advantage.”

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

The Bengals will resume their preparations for the 2018 season on July 26, when they’ll hold their first training-camp practice.

C.J. UzomahCincinnati Bengals tight end C.J. Uzomah practices at the NFL team’s mandatory minicamp on Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Cincinnati.  

Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @AMarkG1.

Auburn sports: Why right start for football is so important – SECcountry.com


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Auburn sports: Why right start for football is so important
SECcountry.com
Auburn football is the No. 1 topic in the War Eagle Wakeup every day — but we cover news, notes and analysis from across the Tigers sports world. Join us each morning to get caught up on everything you missed in the world of Auburn football

Gus Malzahn and Auburn had a successful recruiting weekend. – SECcountry.com


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SECcountry.com
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Auburn involved in 4 of the best college football games of 2018 – 247Sports


247Sports

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247Sports
AUBURN, Alabama — There are 13 weeks in the regular season, including the bye week. And somehow Auburn is included in four of the “best games of each week” of the upcoming 2018 season, according to SBNation.com. The says something about …

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