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Auburn softball walks to 10-run rout of Arkansas

Sports such as softball, which have no time constraints, lend themselves to statistical anomalies and firsts. Even for teams who have already played more 40 games in a season.

The Broadway Club: Jordan-Hare Stadium premium seating space named for generous supporters – Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site


Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site

The Broadway Club: Jordan-Hare Stadium premium seating space named for generous supporters
Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site
AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn University's Board of Trustees approved naming Jordan-Hare Stadium's newest premium seating location the Broadway Club, in honor of Tigers Unlimited donors Bob and Julie Broadway. The Broadway Club, located at midfield on the

AU BLOG MAILBAG: Should Auburn be concerned about its young secondary?

The first round of the NFL Draft takes place next Thursday. It’s one of my favorite days of the year. It’s also my 27th birthday, but I don’t care about that. I care about the NFL Draft.

‘A relentless approach’ – How Jeff Holland projects in the NFL – Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site


Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site

'A relentless approach' – How Jeff Holland projects in the NFL
Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site
One thing that can't be questioned about Holland is his effort, and that's why ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit thinks the 6-foot-2, 249-pound pass rusher could go higher and even sneak up into the second round depending on how the draft

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Auburn board of trustees approves $11 million in athletic facility upgrades

The Auburn University board of trustees gave final approval for $11 million in athletics facility upgrades at Auburn Arena, Plainsman Park and Jane B. Moore Field on Friday.

NFL Network’s Mike Mayock gives final pre-draft evaluation of Auburn’s Kerryon Johnson

Kerryon Johnson will likely hear his name called during the NFL Draft one week from today.

NFL Network’s Mike Mayock gives final pre-draft evaluation of Auburn’s Kerryon Johnson

Kerryon Johnson will likely hear his name called during the NFL Draft one week from today.

Kerryon Johnson will likely hear his name called in one week during the NFL Draft.

The former Auburn running back is widely projected as a second or third round pick, including by NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock.

“There’s an average of seven running backs go in the first three rounds and I’ve got him as my seventh running back,” Mayock said. “So technically he’s in my third-round stack. I think he could go in the second or third round. He’s kind of a leggy, jump-cut guy. Good athlete, finishes runs, but I see him somewhere late two to mid-three.”

Kerryon Johnson Road to the Pros: Part I | Part II

Mayock has been consistent on his evaluation of Johnson, who had 1,391 rushing yards with 18 touchdowns and 24 receptions for 194 yards and two scores and a passing touchdown en route to being named SEC Offensive Player of the Year. Two months ago Mayock had Johnson as “solid second-round pick” and his last rankings before next week’s draft didn’t see much of a change.

Mayock’s top running backs in order at Penn State’s Saquon Barkley, Georgia’s Sony Michel, LSU’s Derrius Guice, Georgia’s Nick Chubb, USC’s Ronald Jones II and San Diego State’s Rashaad Penny.

Fellow NFL Network analysts Daniel Jeremiah has Johnson projected in the second round and ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. believes Johnson could be the first Auburn player drafted this year.

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

NFL Network’s Mike Mayock: Auburn’s Jeff Holland 1 of many ‘undersized edge guys’ in NFL Draft

Jeff Holland was clearly Auburn’s top edge rusher last season, but he might not be utilized in the same way in the NFL

NFL Network’s Mike Mayock: Auburn’s Jeff Holland 1 of many ‘undersized edge guys’ in NFL Draft

Jeff Holland was clearly Auburn's top edge rusher last season, but he might not be utilized in the same way in the NFL

Jeff Holland was clearly Auburn’s top edge rusher last season, but he likely won’t be utilized in the same way in the NFL and that could impact when he comes off the board in next week’s NFL Draft.

NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said Holland, who had 45 tackles with 13 for loss including 10 sacks and forced four fumbles last season, is “an interesting player” because of his position fit.

“At Auburn he was an edge rusher, in the NFL he might have to stand up,” Mayock said. “There are more of those type of players in this draft than I’ve ever seen primarily because the college game’s getting smaller and quicker to deal with these spread offenses. We’re getting all these undersized edge guys that we have to figure out what to do. Jeff Holland’s one of them.

“Even though he showed he can rush the quarterback, he’s going to have to be an off-the-ball linebacker that in a sub package may be able to be a Joker, in other words, moved around a little bit and provide extra value. I’ve got him in my fourth-round stack, end of four to beginning of the fifth and I think special teams are going to be important for him early.”

Most projections have settled on Day 3 for Holland.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. had Holland as the No. 10 outside linebacker and projected from the third to fifth rounds. Walter Football‘s analysts have Holland going in the fourth or sixth round and NFLDraftScout.com and  DraftAnalyst.com have him in the fourth or fifth rounds.

At the Combine, Holland ran the 40-yard dash in 4.79 seconds, 13th of the 19 edge players to run and including linebackers he was 37 of 46 players. The 6-foot-1-3/8, 249 pounder improved his broad jump by two inches at Auburn’s pro day, with his 9-foot-10-inch mark moving him from 14th to 12th among 18 edge players.

His 31.5-inch vertical jump at pro day would’ve tied for 13th among 18 edge players to jump at the Combine. Holland did not perform the bench press due to what he said was a strained pectoral muscle.

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

Board of Trustees approves Athletics facility upgrades – Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site


Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site

Board of Trustees approves Athletics facility upgrades
Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site
By Jeff Shearer AuburnTigers.com. AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn University's Board of Trustees gave final approval Friday to player development improvements for baseball at Plainsman Park, softball at Jane B. Moore Field, and enhancements to the locker rooms

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Auburn searching for momentum, and maybe some revenge, at Alabama

Casey Mize wanted to be able to say that last year’s series against rival Alabama has no bearing on this weekend’s. The next three games are crucial to Auburn. The team should be focusing on that and that alone.

Where Kam Martin improved during Auburn’s spring practices

Kam Martin put together a “really consistent” spring that helped establish him as the favorite for Auburn’s starting running back job this season.

Where Kam Martin improved during Auburn’s spring practices

Kam Martin put together a "really consistent" spring that helped establish him as the favorite for Auburn's starting running back job this season.

Kam Martin’s name wasn’t frequently mentioned this spring when discussing Auburn’s running back competition, though that was largely because he is the most known quantity in the backfield for the Tigers.

Still, the junior put together a solid spring and established himself as the frontrunner for Auburn’s starting running back job heading into fall camp.

“He had a real solid spring,” Auburn running backs coach Tim Horton said. “You know, explosive plays. I think that’s something he can give us, and he did during the spring… Kam was really consistent all spring.”

Martin, who was Auburn’s second-leading rusher last season, is the Tigers’ most experienced running back on the roster this year. He has rushed for 773 career yards over two seasons, and last season he averaged 6.12 yards per carry in a limited role while playing behind SEC Offensive Player of the Year Kerryon Johnson and averaging just five carries per game.

Martin produced when called upon, though his usage was sporadic last season. He appeared in all 14 games, but had four games in which he did not record a carry. Martin received double-digit touches out of the backfield just three times and had two other games with nine carries apiece as coaches often appeared reluctant to play him in key situations. Fifty-seven of his 74 carries last season came with Auburn leading by at least eight points.

“He’s got a little more experience and really I think sometimes people misrepresent a kid not playing into the sense that, boy, he’s not doing very good,” Horton said. “Well, Kam Martin had two good players in front of him…. He just had some guys who were in front of him that were pro football players and not necessarily a case of Kam not doing well, there were just some guys in front of him.

“I think the year of experience and another year in the weight room is going to help him be a better player.”

One of the other factors that played into Martin’s sporadic usage last season was his size. At 5-foot-10 and 182 pounds, Martin is smaller than Auburn’s typical featured backs. Following the loss to Clemson last season, which came a week after a 136-yard effort by Martin, offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey explained that Martin didn’t receive a carry because Clemson “was a big football team,” which required a bigger and more effective pass protector in the backfield.

To that end, Horton said Martin is up to 195 pounds this spring as the junior has put on between 20 and 25 pounds since first arriving on campus nearly two years ago.

That has helped him improve his ability to pass protect — which is something both Lindsey and coach Gus Malzahn have said will be one of the deciding factors in naming a starting running back for 2018. Horton said pass protection is one of the five criteria coaches will be looking for in their starting running back.

“He really has (improved in pass protection),” Horton said. “I think it starts with his willingness to do it, and he’s very willing. At times, there’s mismatches that you’ll get in spring practice where you’ve got a really big, physical, heavy rusher at defensive end and you get him matched up with Kam, and we know we can’t do that. In the spring, we really don’t gameplan a whole lot to prevent that mismatch, obviously in the fall you do, so we’ll be able to help him out a little more in the fall. But as long as they’re willing, you’ve got a chance.”

The biggest question surrounding Martin, now that he has cemented his spot as the favorite in the running back battle, is whether he can be an every-down back in the SEC. It’s a question that loomed over his predecessor, Johnson, last season as well.

“That’s probably more of a question this year than it was with Kerryon or (Kamryn) Pettway or Cameron Artis-Payne or Tre Mason or guys before because I don’t know,” Horton said. “The one thing that I do know about the running backs that we’ve had in the past is they’ve all been 210 pounds, 215 pounds. Well, Kam Martin is 195. And so, I don’t know that answer.”

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

Malik Miller still ‘in the equation’ at RB despite limited A-Day workload

SCOTTSBORO — Malik Miller was a player Auburn wanted to get more touches on A-Day. The reason he didn’t had nothing to do with his performance.

Milliet, Cerio and Watson to represent Auburn gymnastics at NCAA Championships

Despite failing to qualify as one of the top two teams in the NCAA Salt Lake City Regional two weeks ago, Auburn will still have representation in St. Louis.

Auburn sports: Gus, Kristi Malzahn deserve cheers for picture-perfect opportunity – SECcountry.com


SECcountry.com

Auburn sports: Gus, Kristi Malzahn deserve cheers for picture-perfect opportunity
SECcountry.com
Kam Martin exits spring as leader in Auburn football's starting running back race; In-state linebacker Vonta Bentley clarifies where Auburn stands compared to top schools after most recent visit; Who should get credit for success of Auburn wide

Dee Ford on injury: ‘Imagine your leg randomly going numb’

A back injury limited Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Dee Ford to six games last season. The former Auburn standout said this week he feels “excellent” now. But last season, he was far from that.

Dee Ford on injury: ‘Imagine your leg randomly going numb’

A back injury limited Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Dee Ford to six games last season. The former Auburn standout said this week he feels "excellent" now. But last season, he was far from that.

A back injury limited Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Dee Ford to six games last season. The former Auburn standout said this week he feels “excellent” now. But last season, he was far from that.

“Just imagine your leg randomly going numb,” Ford said. “That’s just what it was. Then when the feeling came back, it was pain.

“Like I said, I did not want to leave my team hanging. We was on a good roll. We had just beat New England, Philly. I couldn’t miss out on that, but unfortunately — well, fortunately now because I feel awesome.”

Ford suffered the injury early in the 2017 season. After playing in the Chiefs’ first three games, he sat out two games. After returning to play in three more games with the injury, which Ford called “pretty dangerous,” he headed for the disabled list and back surgery.

“It was frustrating, but it’s a lesson learned,” Ford said. “Players have a tendency to ride the wheels until they fall off. It really don’t work that way. So I did the best thing by getting that surgery. I feel excellent now.”

Ford made his remarks at a press conference this week as the Chiefs opened their offseason program. Ford’s back surgery came with an expected recovery time of six months. So while he should be ready when Kansas City heads to training camp in July, it remains to be seen how much he’ll be able to participate in the Chiefs’ offseason work.

“We’re taking it day by day,” Ford said. “I feel excellent. With this thing, you want to time it right, so we’re really taking it week by week. I’ll go back to see my doctor here soon, so we’re just taking it week by week.”

In 2016, Ford broke out with a 10-sack season. In May, the Chiefs picked up their option for a fifth season on Ford’s rookie contract. That will pay him $8.718 million for the 2018 season, which is about $560,000 more than the first four years of the contract combined.

Unless re-signed by Kansas City, Ford will become a free agent after the 2018 season.

Ford was an All-State defensive lineman for St. Clair County High School in 2008. He earned All-SEC recognition at Auburn in 2013, then won the MVP Award for the Reese’s Senior Bowl in Mobile. Ford entered the NFL as the 23rd player picked in the 2014 NFL Draft.

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

Dee Ford on injury: ‘Imagine your leg randomly going numb’

A back injury limited Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Dee Ford to six games last season. The former Auburn standout said this week he feels "excellent" now. But last season, he was far from that.

A back injury limited Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Dee Ford to six games last season. The former Auburn standout said this week he feels “excellent” now. But last season, he was far from that.

“Just imagine your leg randomly going numb,” Ford said. “That’s just what it was. Then when the feeling came back, it was pain.

“Like I said, I did not want to leave my team hanging. We was on a good roll. We had just beat New England, Philly. I couldn’t miss out on that, but unfortunately — well, fortunately now because I feel awesome.”

Ford suffered the injury early in the 2017 season. After playing in the Chiefs’ first three games, he sat out two games. After returning to play in three more games with the injury, which Ford called “pretty dangerous,” he headed for the disabled list and back surgery.

“It was frustrating, but it’s a lesson learned,” Ford said. “Players have a tendency to ride the wheels until they fall off. It really don’t work that way. So I did the best thing by getting that surgery. I feel excellent now.”

Ford made his remarks at a press conference this week as the Chiefs opened their offseason program. Ford’s back surgery came with an expected recovery time of six months. So while he should be ready when Kansas City heads to training camp in July, it remains to be seen how much he’ll be able to participate in the Chiefs’ offseason work.

“We’re taking it day by day,” Ford said. “I feel excellent. With this thing, you want to time it right, so we’re really taking it week by week. I’ll go back to see my doctor here soon, so we’re just taking it week by week.”

In 2016, Ford broke out with a 10-sack season. In May, the Chiefs picked up their option for a fifth season on Ford’s rookie contract. That will pay him $8.718 million for the 2018 season, which is about $560,000 more than the first four years of the contract combined.

Unless re-signed by Kansas City, Ford will become a free agent after the 2018 season.

Ford was an All-State defensive lineman for St. Clair County High School in 2008. He earned All-SEC recognition at Auburn in 2013, then won the MVP Award for the Reese’s Senior Bowl in Mobile. Ford entered the NFL as the 23rd player picked in the 2014 NFL Draft.

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

How Auburn will try to solve late-season dropoff at tailback – 247Sports


247Sports

How Auburn will try to solve late-season dropoff at tailback
247Sports
SCOTTSBORO, Alabama — The last two seasons have not provided storybook endings for Auburn's running backs. Injuries to Auburn's top rushers slowed the Tigers' offenses as they finished both seasons on two-game skids. A lack of depth or simply a solid
Kam Martin exits spring as leader in Auburn football's starting RB raceSECcountry.com



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No. 2 Auburn Downs No. 6 TCU to Reach NCEA Team Final – Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site


Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site

No. 2 Auburn Downs No. 6 TCU to Reach NCEA Team Final
Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site
Photo Gallery. WACO, Texas — The No. 2 Auburn equestrian team put together a huge performance Thursday afternoon, defeating No. 6 TCU to reach the 2018 National Collegiate Equestrian Association Championship final. The Tigers bested the Horned Frogs

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Kam Martin finishes spring atop Auburn’s running back depth chart

SCOTTSBORO — If Auburn had to play a game this Saturday, Kam Martin would get the first carry out of the backfield.

Auburn identifies frontrunner for starting running back job

Auburn running backs coach Tim Horton discussed the Tigers’ post-spring depth chart in the backfield on Thursday in Scottsboro.

Auburn identifies frontrunner for starting running back job

Auburn running backs coach Tim Horton discussed the Tigers' post-spring depth chart in the backfield on Thursday in Scottsboro.

The picture in Auburn’s backfield is becoming somewhat more clear.

The Tigers, who entered spring with five scholarship running backs competing for the starting job, haven’t quite narrowed down the competition as offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey had hoped to at the end of spring, but there is a leader in the clubhouse as the Tigers head into the offseason.

“If we were to play today it would be Kam Martin,” Auburn running backs coach Tim Horton said Thursday before speaking to the Jackson County Auburn Club in Scottsboro. “He would be the first one to go out on the field. Obviously we don’t play today and so is he going to start against Washington? That kinda remains to be seen but Kam would be first-team if we played today.”

Lindsey said last month that the hope was for the Tigers to establish a pecking order at running back upon the completion of spring practices. Following review of the A-Day game on April 7 and the final practice of spring on April 10, Horton wasn’t ready to rattle off a top three and left open the possibility for the Tigers to take a by-committee approach to the position this fall.

The veteran assistant was also hesitant to name a No. 2 running back behind Martin at this time, adding that he has been “really pleased” with the entire group, which includes Martin, Malik Miller, JaTarvious Whitlow, Asa Martin, Devan Barrett and even walk-on C.J. Tolbert, who was the A-Day offensive MVP.

“If we had to play today it would probably be situational football,” Horton said. “There’s one guy that’s probably a better pass protector. There’s one guy who is probably a better runner. There’s one guy who might be a better pass receiver out of the backfield. It would be very situational in the sense that whatever the down and the distance and the situation dictates.” 

Martin was long expected to be in the mix for the starting job following the departures of Kerryon Johnson and Kamryn Pettway. The junior is Auburn’s most experienced running back, having rushed for 773 yards and five touchdowns in a backup role over the last two seasons.

The 5-foot-10, 182-pounder was Auburn’s second-leading rusher last season, finishing the year with 453 yards and a pair of touchdowns while averaging an impressive 6.12 yards per carry. Martin saw plenty of time with the first-team offense this spring but was held out of the spring game due to a minor hamstring injury. 

Horton said Thursday that if it were the regular season, Martin probably would have missed the opener but would have been available by Week 2 or Week 3. Martin has been a full participant in the team’s offseason workouts, which began this week.

Whitlow was perhaps the Tigers’ most impressive running back behind closed doors this spring. The redshirt freshman out of LaFayette received rave reviews from teammates, who compared watching him run to watching “Madden” video game highlights due to his ability to reverse field and keep plays alive.

The 6-foot, 216-pound Whitlow is built more in line with the type of running back Auburn has relied on in years past under Malzahn, and the former three-star prospect — who played quarterback in high school and signed with Auburn as a receiver — excelled on A-Day. He rushed for 98 yards on 14 carries while displaying solid vision and elusiveness in the open field.

Miller is Auburn’s second-most experienced running back, with 50 career carries for 204 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He was lauded as a “steady force” in the backfield by Lindsey this spring, and he started with the first-team offense on A-Day. His spring game was cut short due to a knee injury after recording just three carries for 1 yard and a fumble. 

Asa Martin is a true freshman who enrolled early this semester after winning Alabama’s Mr. Football award as a senior in high school, and Barrett saw the field in a limited capacity last season and split time at running back and receiver late in the spring.

Auburn is looking for five criteria in evaluating its running back situation, according to Horton.

“Can they protect the ball? Can they protect the passer? Are they going to miss assignments; do they know what to do? No. 4: Attitude, effort and body language; how do they present it? And then the last thing, and really the most important thing, at least in this competition for me is who can make a play? Who can go make the play?” Horton said. “That’s where, hopefully, we’ll continue to find guys who can create separation and make more plays, but that’s kind of what we’re looking for. Each one of them have done those things, but at this point I think Kam would be the first one.”

Horton would feel comfortable playing multiple running backs this season and wouldn’t be surprised if it took a couple of games to establish a No. 1 option in the backfield.

“We’ve had success playing multiple players but sometimes the cream rises to the top and one just kinda separates themselves,” Horton said. “That’s really what’s happened the last two years.”

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

Auburn identifies starting running back after spring practices – 247Sports


247Sports

Auburn identifies starting running back after spring practices
247Sports
“He just had some guys who were in front of him that were pro football players and not necessarily a case of Kam not doing well, there were just some guys in front of him,” Horton said. “I think the year of experience and another year in the weight
Why RB Malik Miller only had 3 carries in Auburn football's spring gameSECcountry.com



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Auburn offers 2020 Hoover quarterback

Robby Ashford also has offers from Georgia, N.C. State and others.

Hoover‘s Robby Ashford hasn’t started a varsity high school football game yet, but that hasn’t stopped the college offers from arriving.

Ashford picked up another SEC offer today, this time from in-state powerhouse Auburn. The 6-foot-3 quarterback is a rising junior, putting him in the Class of 2020, and he’s also a standout baseball player.

He tweeted the news of his Auburn offer.

Ashford also has offers from North Carolina State, Missouri, Georgia and others. He served as a back-up quarterback to senior Jalen Parker as the Bucs won the Class 7A state championship last season.

Hewitt-Trussville QB commits to Bama

Ashford is expected to be Hoover’s staring quarterback this fall.       

“You’re going to see a guy who is big and athletic and knows how to make big plays,” Hoover receiver and Auburn commit George Pickens said earlier this spring when AL.com asked about Ashford.

George Pickens is  listening to all schools

Auburn received an offer from Pinson Valley senior Bo Nix in January, giving the Tigers its quarterback of the future in the Class of 2019. Ashford can’t sign college football scholarship papers until December 2019 at the earliest.

Watch some of Ashford’s highlights:

Auburn offers 2020 Hoover quarterback

Robby Ashford also has offers from Georgia, N.C. State and others.

Why Auburn running back Malik Miller only had 3 carries on A-Day

Redshirt sophomore running back Malik Miller started with the first-team offense but had just three carries during Auburn's spring game.

As Auburn aimed to pare down its running back competition, its second-most experienced rusher made only a brief appearance on A-Day.

Malik Miller got the start with the Tigers’ first-team offense with Kam Martin sidelined due to a hamstring injury, but the redshirt sophomore finished the game with just three carries for 1 yard and a fumble, and he did not see the field after the first quarter.

Miller’s limited role on A-Day wasn’t due to performance, but rather due to a knee injury he sustained on the “eighth or ninth play,” according to running backs coach Tim Horton.

“We were hoping to get both those guys more reps, but again, that’s just another situation and another case of you better have depth, because you can go from five to three in a hurry,” Horton said Thursday in Scottsboro before speaking to the Jackson County Auburn Club. “That’s really what happened there.”

Horton added that both Miller and Martin are “doing great” after the injuries late in the spring but said he doesn’t know if they would have been able to play if it was a regular-season game.

“Sometimes you’re a little precautionary, but I don’t think they could have played if that was the Washington game,” Horton said. “But the second game or the third game of the year, they would’ve been able to come back and play. They’ve been in our offseason program since we started it this week and have looked good.”

Miller entered spring as one of five scholarship players competing for Auburn’s starting running back job following the departures of Kerryon Johnson and Kamryn Pettway for the NFL Draft. The 5-foot-11, 229-pounder competed alongside Martin, redshirt freshman JaTarvious Whitlow, sophomore Devan Barrett and true freshman Asa Martin for the No. 1 job throughout the spring.

Miller, who has 50 career carries for 204 yards and a pair of touchdowns, is the Tigers’ second-most experienced running back behind Kam Martin, who was the team’s second-leading rusher last season while backing up Johnson. Miller had 16 carries for 69 yards and a touchdown in three games as a freshman before sustaining a knee injury that sidelined him for the rest of the 2016 season.

After being granted a medical redshirt, Miller returned to the fold last season, though he was the Tigers’ fourth running back behind Johnson, Pettway and Kam Martin. He finished last year with 34 carries for 135 yards and a touchdown in largely mop-up duty, and he added a touchdown on a blocked punt recovery on special teams.

This spring, Miller was lauded by offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey as a “steady force” in Auburn’s running back competition despite often being overlooked when discussing the position battle.

Horton said people shouldn’t read too much into Miller’s brief appearance and small workload on A-Day, which from the outside appeared similar to then-backup quarterback Woody Barrett’s last season, when he saw the field for two ineffective drives in the first half but did not appear in the second half and then transferred about a month later.

“He’s obviously in the equation (at running back,” Horton said. “I think when you talk about pass protectors, Malik is really good at that.”

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

Why Auburn running back Malik Miller only had 3 carries on A-Day

Redshirt sophomore running back Malik Miller started with the first-team offense but had just three carries during Auburn’s spring game.

No. 11 Tigers set to host Arkansas for final home series of 2018 – Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site


Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site

No. 11 Tigers set to host Arkansas for final home series of 2018
Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site
Auburn Game Notes. AUBURN, Ala. – No. 11 Auburn softball is set to host their final home regular season series as the Tigers welcome No. 16 Arkansas this weekend for a three-game series starting on Friday, April 20 at Jane B. Moore Field. First pitch

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Auburn Track and Field look to host competitive field at War Eagle Invitational – Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site


Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site

Auburn Track and Field look to host competitive field at War Eagle Invitational
Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site
By Hays Kassen, Auburn Athletics. AUBURN, Ala – Auburn track and field will host the War Eagle Invitational this Friday and Saturday at the Hutsell-Rosen Track and Field Complex in Auburn, Alabama. Saturday will mark the last home meet for 12 seniors

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No. 2 Auburn Advances to NCEA Semifinal with 12-3 Win – Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site


Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site

No. 2 Auburn Advances to NCEA Semifinal with 12-3 Win
Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site
Photo Gallery. WACO, Texas –The No. 2 Auburn equestrian team put together a strong showing Thursday afternoon, defeating No. 7 Baylor, 12-3, to advance to the 2018 NCEA Championship Semifinal. The Tigers will take on No. 6 TCU later in the day. “We are

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Early 2018 season-opener preview: Beating Washington would be great start, but won’t be easy for Auburn – SECcountry.com


SECcountry.com

Early 2018 season-opener preview: Beating Washington would be great start, but won't be easy for Auburn
SECcountry.com
AUBURN, Ala. — With spring practice finished and “talking season” approaching full swing, plenty of Auburn football fans are focused on the Tigers' Week 1 matchup against Washington. Auburn will return to Mercedes-Benz Stadium after back-to-back

Seniors set tone as Auburn prepares for what could be final home series

When Sunday’s finale in Columbia, Mo., was cancelled and Auburn’s fate — a two-game sweep at the hands of a Missouri team that entered the weekend in last place — was sealed, Mickey Dean gathered the team in the batting…

‘Sky is the limit’ for Auburn defensive back signee Roger McCreary

Roger McCreary, who never left the field as a senior at Williamson High school, is expected to settle in at defensive back for Auburn this summer

‘Sky is the limit’ for Auburn defensive back signee Roger McCreary

Roger McCreary, who never left the field as a senior at Williamson High school, is expected to settle in at defensive back for Auburn this summer

With his focus now solely on playing one position, Auburn signee Roger McCreary’s potential could be unlimited.

The 6-foot, 190-pound former Williamson High standout is expected to settle in at defensive back for the Tigers after playing all over the field in high school. He will officially report in late May.

“It wouldn’t surprise me to see him go in and contribute right away,” Williamson coach Dedrick Sumpter said. “The sky is the limit. I don’t think conditioning will be an issue. He could find his way into the rotation quickly. He will have to refine some things as a cornerback because he was such a two-way player for us, but that won’t be an issue for him.”

Early impact?

McCreary’s overall stats in 2017 across a number of positions are hard to match. The Class 5A All-State and All-Coastal Alabama pick made 100 tackles and eight interceptions on defense, and that was just the start.

He also rushed for 802 yards and eight touchdowns on offense, caught 65 passes for 702 yards and seven scores and completed 50-of-60 passes for 675 yards and six TDs.

“Roger will be a great defensive player and he was for us,” Sumpter said. “A hundred tackles and eight picks is nothing to take for granted. A lot of people saw him as an offensive guy because he was so dynamic there, but he was special on defense as well.”

McCreary and teammate Jamal Hickbottom were committed to their hometown school, South Alabama, for several months. However, as McCreary, continued to pile up stats during the fall, other teams became more interested. Auburn, Duke and N.C. State all offered. Ole Miss and Vanderbilt also were in talks with him.

Saraland DB commits to Auburn

He de-committed from South and eventually picked Auburn. It seemed only appropriate since his high school has a history of sending stellar defensive players to the Plains. That list includes Williamson’s current defensive coordinator, Antonio Coleman, and Nick Fairley.

Hickbottom remained committed and signed with the Jaguars.

AL.com caught up with McCreary this week to talk about his high school career and future with the Tigers.

Since signing day, have you heard any more about what position you will play at Auburn and how early you might play?

“I think it’s the same as before. They want me to play cornerback. They love my speed (4.43 in the 40). They have told me they don’t show favoritism. The coaches have told me that if I come out and work hard there will be a spot for me, but I have to earn it.”

You never left the field as a senior at Williamson. Are you OK settling for playing just one position?

“I think it actually will help me. If I can focus on one position, I think I can really improve rather than trying to balance several different duties. At cornerback, I can play man and get up in the receiver’s face. I like that. It’s more of a 1-on-1 deal, and that’s a challenge.”

What was your biggest takeaway from the recruiting experience?

“It was great. It can get overwhelming, but you just have to realize how fortunate you are to be offered college scholarships to do something you love. Not everyone has that chance. I loved the experience.”

Did you ever get frustrated during the season when bigger offers weren’t coming?

“When I got the South offer, coach Coleman said there would be plenty more to come. As the summer went on and those Division 1 offers didn’t really come, I just tried to stay patient. I thought by the end of the year there would be some other schools interested because of my statistics. I didn’t let it get to me. I was willing to let the Lord lead me down the right path.”

When did you know Auburn was the right place for you?

“When I went to visit. I loved the staff. Coach (Travis) Williams was the first to speak to me. Coach (Kevin) Steele told me he really liked me and that he was going to offer me and, a couple of days later, he did. I really have a good relationship with the coaches and especially my position coach (Larry Woodson). I liked the atmosphere. I was there for the Georgia and Alabama games, and it was unbelievable. It really is like a big family.”

You and Jamal were both going to South Alabama for a long time. Did it bother you to make the switch?

“We really wanted to play together on the next level, but we knew we might have to go different ways. It was a little weird that he stayed at South and I didn’t, but he knew I had to do what was best for me. I’ll follow him and his career, and he’ll do the same for me I’m sure.”

Do you have any regrets about the recruiting process?

“No regrets. I’m happy with the decision I made. I’m just going to remain humble and do what I do best.”

What are your early impressions of Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn and defensive coordinator Kevin Steele?

“Coach Malzahn really was able to speak to my mom and dad. They really liked him. I think they feel comfortable with him being my coach. He’s a great guy.
With coach Steele, that is really the relationship that helped me pick Auburn. He was really honest with me about everything. He came and visited a couple of times and that is when I knew they were really interested.”

What has Antonio told you about Auburn that could help down the road?

“He’s helped me just to get ready for the summer semester. He said it’s going to be a tough adjustment so just be ready to go and be who you are. The rest will take care of itself.”

How well do you know former Vigor star and current Auburn linebacker DeShaun Davis?

“I’ve spoken to him. I saw him when I went up for the spring game. He told me he would take care of me. I’ve also talked to (former Vigor QB) Devin (Adams). It’s comforting knowing I’ve got those guys from Mobile up there to lean on and help me adjust.”

Auburn sports: Most motivational staff; equestrian enjoys first day in Texas – SECcountry.com


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Auburn sports: Most motivational staff; equestrian enjoys first day in Texas
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The Washington effect: What an Auburn win in season opener could mean for Tigers. Why next two weeks, good or bad, will determine tier of Auburn's recruiting class. Will Jakai Clark's commitment help Auburn land teammates Owen Pappoe, Wanya Morris

Auburn ‘worked hard’ with tight ends during spring

There may not be a position on Auburn’s football team that mystifies fans more than tight end.

Auburn ‘worked hard’ with tight ends during spring

There may not be a position on Auburn’s football team that mystifies fans more than tight end.

Defensive Superlatives?

It’s going to be tough for any offense to run the ball, with 10 defenders in the box.
(Photo by Acid Reign.)

     War Eagle, everybody! It is time now for a post-spring look at the Auburn defense. It is hard not to be excited about this year’s prospects, after a dominant A-Day performance. The top two units started A-Day holding the respective offenses to 0 first downs in 10 drives, and the passers connected on just 4 of 13 attempts for 4 yards. While offensive numbers improved in the second half, it was against walk-ons and scout team members.

     The starting defense was astonishingly stingy. The starters held the opposing offense to minus 5 yards, total, in the first half of A-Day. There was nowhere to run for backs, and no time to throw for the quarterbacks. Some folks may like a high-scoring A-Day. To me, a lot of points surely will mean defensive struggles in the fall. With a brutal schedule ahead this year, I do not mind seeing the defense winning battles in the spring, well into the depth chart.

     To build a defense, I’ve heard that the place to start is to have a couple of good cornerbacks, and a disruptive defensive tackle. That’s where it all starts, it is said. For the past couple of seasons, that disruptive guy has been rising senior Dontavius Russell. It doesn’t necessarily show in the statistics, but more often than not, opposing offenses seem to feel the need to either double team Russell, or get the ball to the edge. Unfortunately for those offenses, there are more ridiculously good players on the Auburn line, than just Russell.

     Lining up next to Dontavius Russell last season was sophomore Derrick Brown, who had a tremendous year. As a junior this season, Brown and Russell give Auburn the best tackle tandem in the SEC. And it does not stop there. The depth is good, too, with Andrew Williams, Tyrone Truesdale, and Alec Jackson able to fill in here and there with little drop-off.

     At strong side end, junior Marlon Davidson finally looked healthy on A-Day, and he’s a terror when he’s not playing hobbled. With Nick Coe coming off the bench, Auburn is really solid across the front. At buck end, T. D. Moultry and Big Kat Bryant are also making some noise.

     As I’ve written post-game reviews the past couple of seasons, it’s pretty telling how many times I pointed out that the defensive line contributed 20 to 30 total tackles. Typically, a college defensive line might post 10-15 tackles in a game. If the line is producing double the normal average, most likely things are not progressing well for the offense!

     Auburn returns 3 seniors in the linebacking corps that have tons of experience. Deshaun Davis, Darrell Williams and Montavious Atkinson can all fly, wrap up and make tackles in the open field. They know how to play with leverage, and string speedy SEC backs out. Using the sideline as an extra defender, all of these guys are really hard to turn the corner on.

     What was encouraging this past A-Day was that we saw similar play from others, such as K. J. Britt, Chandler Wooten, and Richard McBryde. This might be the deepest front seven Auburn has ever had.

     I mentioned good cornerbacks as a cornerstone for a defense, earlier. Auburn will start veterans Javaris Davis and Jamel Dean this fall. Both of those guys are shifty and fast, and can play the ball in the air. We were concerned about depth earlier this year, but I felt like guys down the depth chart played well on A-Day, as well. I saw good things from John Broussard Jr, Jamien Sherwood, Christian Tutt and Smoke Monday. Jordyn Peters is another veteran corner that was limited this spring, but saw action and made plays last fall.

     Auburn lost 3 of its top 4 safeties to graduation, this year. I was interested to see how this year’s crew looked. The answer was that there was nothing allowed over the top in the game, and I was particularly impressed at the closing speed of this group, and their ability to roll down on running plays, and make the tackle. Daniel Thomas and Jeremiah Dinson lead this group, and have experience.

     I will go ahead and include special teams in this review, as well. On A-Day, Auburn does not have live punts, or any kickoffs. About all that can really be judged is leg strength and accuracy. The real concern coming out of last season was coverage on both punts and kickoffs. Auburn suffered several back-breaking returns last season, including a punt return that directly led to a loss against LSU.

     The punting duel between Aiden Marshall and Ian Shannon remains up in the air. Usually the punters are the first ones out on the field for warmups, and this is where an observer can really focus and count yards on punts. The coaches made it hard, this year. All warmup punts were into a pretty stiff wind, and rarely carried more than 35 yards. During the A-Day game, the wind-aided punts were pretty good.

     From what I could see on A-Day, Auburn will be just fine again at placekicking. Redshirt freshman Anders Carlson stepped in with a near-flawless performance, missing only 1 kick in warmups, and none during the A-Day game. That he did this in bad weather and often against the wind makes it even more impressive.

The post Defensive Superlatives? appeared first on Track 'Em Tigers, Auburn's oldest and most read independent blog.

SEC, NCAA pave way for full-fledged NFL junior pro days

The NCAA is paving the way for full-fledged football pro days in which NFL personnel evaluate underclassmen considering entering the next year’s draft.

SEC, NCAA pave way for full-fledged NFL junior pro days

The NCAA is paving the way for full-fledged football pro days in which NFL personnel evaluate underclassmen considering entering the next year's draft.

Thanks to a proposal from the SEC, the NCAA is paving the way for full-fledged football pro days in which NFL personnel evaluate underclassmen considering entering the next year’s draft.

Earlier this week the NCAA Division I Council adopted proposal 2017-80, legislation from the SEC, which will help up to five underclassmen per school to be evaluated by NFL personnel during a separate pro day each year.

“Our proposal would make it easier to facilitate our student-athletes being observed under the revised NFL rules,” an SEC spokesman said. “Our motivation is to help young people receive the best information possible on which they base decisions about their future.”

The change will allow each school to conduct a the pro day practice and specify that both the college team’s coaches and NFL personnel can be present and conduct the practice and that the practice won’t count towards the college team’s practice limit (i.e., 15 spring practices).

The proposal specifies the players involved can’t miss class to participate, the practice is non-contact, as pro days presently are, and it’s limited to four hours.

American Football Coaches Association executive director Todd Berry said coaches were “frustrated” at the inaccuracy of draft grades and evaluations for younger players and the goal of the junior pro days is to “get a really accurate grade” for players most likely considering entering the next year’s draft.

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

The Washington effect: What an Auburn win in season opener could mean for Tigers – SECcountry.com


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The Washington effect: What an Auburn win in season opener could mean for Tigers
SECcountry.com
MORE: How Gus Malzahn, Auburn football offense could get tricky during coming season. Auburn has a history of slow starts, especially during its last two seasons. Malzahn's teams that have taken the field in September have been entirely different from
Alabama's Lewis takes issue with Auburn's new blingTouchdown Alabama Magazine (press release)


Player from rival school takes shot at Auburn's SEC West ringsColumbus Ledger-Enquirer

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Alabama’s Scott Cochran, Auburn’s Kevin Steele to speak at L’Arche event in Mobile in May

24th annual L’Arche Football Preview Dinner takes place May 31 at Mitchell Center

Alabama’s Scott Cochran, Auburn’s Kevin Steele to speak at L’Arche event in Mobile in May

24th annual L'Arche Football Preview Dinner takes place May 31 at Mitchell Center

Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele and Alabama’s head strength coach Scott Cochran will be among the featured speakers at the 24th Annual L’Arche Football Preview dinner May 31 at the Mitchell Center in Mobile.

Joining Steele and Cochran on the program are South Alabama football coach Steve Campbell, Reese’s Senior Bowl executive director Phil Savage, ESPN football analyst Trevor Matich, SiriusXM host Taylor Zarzour and WSNP radio program director Randy Kennedy. Other speakers are expected to be added in the coming weeks.

In addition, three local high school coaches will be honored at the event. Steve Mask of St. Paul’s will receive the Lefty Anderson Service Through Coaching Award, Baker’s Clem Richardson will receive the L’Arche Mobile Lifetime Achievement Award and the late Glen Yancey of Vigor will receive the Chuck Maxime in Memoriam Award.

The program, which begins at 6 p.m. and includes dinner and a silent auction in addition to the speakers, benefits L’Arche, an organization benefiting those with intellectual disabilities. Tickets are $50, with tables for eight available for $400.

For more information, contact Marty O’Malley at (251) 438-2094 or via email at larchmobdev@hotmail.com.

Could Auburn’s Kamryn Pettway be the next LeGarrette Blount?

ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. invoked Blount's career path when discussing Pettway's draft stock on Wednesday.

Could Auburn running back Kamryn Pettway be the next LeGarrette Blount?

ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. recalled the former Oregon running back’s name when discussing Pettway’s draft stock during a pre-draft teleconference on Wednesday.

“I remember LeGarrette Blount went undrafted coming out of Oregon, and look at the kind of career he had,” Kiper said. “Pettway will be interesting to see what happens with him.”

There are natural parallels between the two running backs, of course.

Blount rushed for 1,003 yards and 17 touchdowns as a junior at Oregon in 2008 before appearing in just three games as a senior the following season due to a suspension that stemmed from punches he threw following the Ducks’ season opener against Boise State. Blount finished the 2009 season with 82 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns before going undrafted in the 2010 NFL Draft.

Pettway, who at 6-foot, 235 pounds is built similarly to Blount, rushed for 1,224 yards and seven touchdowns as a redshirt sophomore in 2016, when he led the SEC in rushing yards per game, and returned for his redshirt junior season — which was ultimately disappointing. Pettway appeared in just five games, rushed for 305 yards and six touchdowns but missed most of the season due to suspension and injury.

Pettway addresses questions of character, explains why he left Auburn for NFL

“I don’t know about flying under the radar; I don’t think anybody right now would be in that category of a guy who could go and nobody’s going to know much about,” Kiper said. “I think if you look at the guys we talked about that are going to go early, and who could be the stars of this group (of Auburn players), I think Kamryn Pettway — two years ago, last year he was talked about as an early-round pick and now he’s a later-round possibility.”

Kiper went on to imply that “if you know what you’re getting with Pettway,” then he could potentially carve out a career similar to Blount’s. Over the last eight seasons, Blount has appeared in 116 games for four different NFL teams, rushing for 5,888 yards and 51 touchdowns while winning three Super Bowls — two with the Patriots and then one this past season with the Eagles.

Pettway, who like Blount is facing questions about his character coming out of college, could be a Day 3 pick in the draft or sign with a team as an undrafted free agent next weekend.

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

Could Auburn’s Kamryn Pettway be the next LeGarrette Blount?

ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. invoked Blount’s career path when discussing Pettway’s draft stock on Wednesday.

Mel Kiper Jr. sees Braden Smith as ‘plug-and-play starter’ in NFL – Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site


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Mel Kiper Jr. sees Braden Smith as 'plug-and-play starter' in NFL
Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site
By Greg Ostendorf AuburnTigers.com. AUBURN, Ala. — The NFL draft is a little over a week away, and the conversation surrounding it continues to pick up. What will this team do? How will this player fit their scheme? What will a team get if they draft
Kirk Herbstreit says two Auburn players could be early-round draftees in 2018 NFL DraftSECcountry.com



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Mel Kiper Jr. thinks Braden Smith is ‘most underrated’ Auburn player in NFL Draft

Braden Smith could hear his name called on Day 2 of next week's NFL Draft.

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Braden Smith may not be the first Auburn player selected in next week’s NFL Draft, but the talented offensive lineman may be a bit undervalued in the months-long evaluation process, at least in the view of one NFL Draft analyst.

“‘I like Braden Smith; I think Braden Smith’s the most underrated of this group (of Auburn players),” ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said Wednesday on a pre-draft teleconference. “I like the way he tested, the way he played.”

The 6-foot-6, 303-pound Smith was a four-year contributor at right guard for Auburn, where he started 41 consecutive games and appeared in 53 games while being named an All-American and All-SEC selection as a senior.

Smith was one of the top performers among offensive linemen at last month’s NFL Combine, finishing with 35 reps on the bench press, a 9-foot-5 broad jump, a 33.5-inch vertical and a 5.22 in the 40-yard dash. His performance, paired with his film from his four seasons at Auburn, has him among the top interior linemen in this class — and a potential steal for a team in the early rounds.

“I think if you get into the third round for Braden Smith, you got a plug-and-play rookie,” Kiper said.

Smith shares Combine experience, team visits, recent engagement to Courtney Shea

Smith may not make it that far into Day 2 of the draft, however. Kiper’s ESPN colleague, Todd McShay, said he believes Smith could potentially land in the second round of the draft, with the Minnesota Vikings a possible landing spot with the 30th pick of the second round and No. 62 overall selection if the team doesn’t address its offensive line need in the first round.

While Kiper believes Smith is somewhat “underrated” heading into the draft, McShay touched on how the overall value of guards in the draft has increased “slightly” in recent years due to trends in the way the game is played at the professional level.

Over the last decade, McShay said, pass attempts have gotten shorter in the NFL in terms of how far the ball travels in the air per pass attempt, which generally translates to quarterbacks having less time to get the ball out of their hands–and fewer opportunities to attack in the vertical passing game. As a result, the importance of protecting the quarterback from being hit has increased further.

“Quarterback has become invaluable in the game, so protecting your quarterback has become hugely important, and on the defensive side what’s happened is if you can find a guy who can rush from the inside, it’s obviously the fastest path to getting to the quarterback,” McShay said.

That has put more value on interior offensive lineman, though McShay didn’t go as far as to proclaim that guard is the new tackle in terms of sheer value and importance.

“There’s a little bit more priority for a lot of teams to make sure they’re squared away at the guard position,” McShay said. “It’s still not a priority position but I do think there’s a little bit more emphasis, but I do think you’re going to see a lot more guard go in the first couple of rounds this year than we normally see, and it has everything to do with just the talent…. You’re talking about seven, eight guys you can see come off the board in the first couple of rounds.”

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

Mel Kiper Jr. thinks Braden Smith is ‘most underrated’ Auburn player in NFL Draft

Braden Smith could hear his name called on Day 2 of next week’s NFL Draft.

Former Auburn K Daniel Carlson explains why he’s not excited about college football’s new kickoff rule – SECcountry.com


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Former Auburn K Daniel Carlson explains why he's not excited about college football's new kickoff rule
SECcountry.com
Former Auburn kicker Daniel Carlson sees college football's new kickoff rule changing the sport in a significant way. And he's not a huge fan. On Wednesday, Carlson appeared on WJOX 94.5 FM and gave his opinion on the recent move by the NCAA Playing

Auburn adjusts starting pitching rotation for Alabama series

Auburn has used the same starting pitching rotation in every weekend series it has played this season — junior ace Casey Mize on Friday, sophomore Davis Daniel on Saturday and freshman Tanner Burns on Sunday.

With 1 week until NFL Draft, ‘mixed opinion’ remains on Auburn’s Carlton Davis

Carlton Davis was a three-year starter at corner for Auburn and an All-American as a junior, but there doesn't seem to be a consensus on when he will be picked in the NFL Draft.

With about a week to go before the NFL Draft, there still appears to be no consensus on the grade for Auburn cornerback Carlton Davis.

While NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said last week that he could see Davis being selected in the first round, ESPN draft experts Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr. differ on that viewpoint of the former Tigers All-American.

“There’s some mixed opinion on Carlton Davis,” Kiper said Wednesday on a pre-draft teleconference. “I’ve thought second round all along but we keep hearing third round. I think he’s in that next tier of defensive backs, not the elite tier that would be first round, even though he has the great length. I would say for him maybe third, fourth (round).”

Kiper has Davis somewhere between the eighth- and 12th-best cornerback in this class, while McShay’s grade is slightly higher for the 6-foot-1, 203-pounder out of Miami. In rattling off the top corners in this class, McShay put Davis behind the likes of Ohio State’s Denzel Ward, Louisville’s Jaire Alexander, UCF’s Mike Hughes, Iowa’s Josh Jackson, LSU’s Donte Jackson and Colorado’s Isaiah Oliver.

Davis believes he’s top corner in NFL Draft

All of those players, Davis included, have first- or second-round grades, according to McShay, who believes between 15 and 16 defensive backs could be selected in the first two rounds of this year’s NFL Draft.

“I would say it’s kind of an average class,” McShay said. “I wouldn’t say it’s a weak class (for defensive backs) … There have been a lot of good defensive backs the last two of three years, and I think this year’s going to produce another handful.”

Davis has ideal length to be an effective cornerback in the NFL and he has shown the ability to be a shutdown defender in the secondary. According to Pro Football Focus analysis, Davis was targeted 190 times during his Auburn career and allowed just 103 receptions. Last season as a junior, when he totaled 36 tackles, 11 pass breakups an interception and a forced fumble, he limited opposing receivers to a 48.1 percent catch rate and allowed just a 74.7 passer rating when targeted — which was 15.7 points below the national average.

Why there’s ‘a lot of buzz’ around Auburn cornerback Carlton Davis ahead of NFL Draft

While his film has generally impressed, Davis had some mixed results during Combine testing, which likely impacted his stock.

“He has the length; he’s certainly flashed,” Kiper said. “You mention what he needs to work on, and sometimes that never changes even once you get into the league, but that’s the reason why instead of being a late one, early two, he’ll probably get pushed down a bit. He’s got talent. He’s got the length, and that’s a rarity from a lot of these corners; you don’t see that.

“If you can get him — I thought at one point he could be a late one, but he just never materialized into that kind of prospect, but late two, mid-three I think is where he probably will come off the board.”

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

With 1 week until NFL Draft, ‘mixed opinion’ remains on Auburn’s Carlton Davis

Carlton Davis was a three-year starter at corner for Auburn and an All-American as a junior, but there doesn’t seem to be a consensus on when he will be picked in the NFL Draft.

NFL Draft analyst: Jarrett Stidham may have been 1st-round pick this year

NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein believes Jarrett Stidham had a chance to be a mid-first round pick in this year’s NFL Draft had he declared early.

NFL Draft analyst: Jarrett Stidham may have been 1st-round pick this year

NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein believes Jarrett Stidham had a chance to be a mid-first round pick in this year's NFL Draft had he declared early.

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Jarrett Stidham may have turned down an opportunity to hear his name called on the first day of next week’s NFL Draft.

Stidham, who opted to return for his redshirt junior season instead of turning pro early, could have potentially been a first-round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, according to one analyst.

“There’s nothing that is going to stand out as a great big checkmark for Stidham, but when you start checking off the boxes and you say, ‘You know, he doesn’t have a lot of minuses here,'” NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein said Tuesday on WJOX’s 3 Man Front. “That’s the kind of guy that starts to get pushed up the board. I think somebody might have dipped into the late part of the first round, and worst-case scenario he would have been a second-round pick.”

This year’s draft features a strong quarterback class at the top, with some projecting six quarterbacks being taken in the first round — including four in the top 10. While Stidham may not have a “great big checkmark,” Zierlein believes that, had Stidham entered his name into the draft, he would have compared favorably to many of the quarterbacks expected to be selected early on.

“Jarrett Stidham has football intelligence, he has size, he has accuracy, he has some mobility,” Zierlein said.

While most mock drafts have Wyoming’s Josh Allen, USC’s Sam Darnold, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield and UCLA’s Josh Rosen as the consensus top-tier quarterbacks in this class, Zierlein said he thinks Stidham would fall behind Allen “from a size and arm talent” standpoint but would be ahead of Rosen in terms of his “football make-up.”

Ultimately, he thinks Stidham would have been selected ahead of both Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson and Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph.

“My guess would have been that he would have had a chance to work his way up, potentially, ahead of Rosen, who I think is sliding a little bit,” Zierlein said. “My guess would be, worst-case scenario, he would be the fifth quarterback off the board, back end of the first. Best-case scenario he could have moved his way into the middle of the first round.”

Instead, Stidham opted to return to Auburn for at least one more season in hopes of building off of his 2017 campaign and further developing as a quarterback.

Last season, during his first on the Plains, Stidham thrived as Auburn’s starting quarterback. He became just the second quarterback in school history to throw for at least 3,000 yards — joining Dameyune Craig — after he completed 66.5 percent of his passes for 3,158 yards, 18 touchdowns and six interceptions while adding another 153 yards and four touchdowns on the ground.

Stidham played through shoulder injury for most of Auburn’s 2017 season

He struggled at times with decision-making early in the year, holding onto the ball too long at times in the pocket, and he had issues with ball security late in the year, particularly during the Tigers’ final two games of the season against Georgia and UCF.

Stidham, who underwent offseason surgery on his non-throwing shoulder, was limited in spring practices while recovering. He participated in individual drills and 7-on-7 drills but did not scrimmage with the team, including on A-Day, when he was limited to a 10-minute 7-on-7 period before the start of the spring game.

Although Stidham could have heard his name called early had he declared this year, Zierlein believes he has a chance to go even higher in 2019 if Stidham builds off his 2017 season.

“With all that said I think if he goes and does what he’s capable of doing at Auburn,” Zierlein said, “we’re talking about him being a top-10 pick next year.”

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

Kerryon Johnson recalls each year of his Auburn journey

Check out Part Two of AL.com’s “Road to the Pros” documentary series

Kerryon Johnson recalls each year of his Auburn journey

Check out Part Two of AL.com's "Road to the Pros" documentary series

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Kerryon Johnson left his mark at Auburn, but it didn’t come without some twists and turns.

Part Two of AL.com’s “Road to the Pros,” a four-part documentary series chronicling the former Auburn star running back’s journey from childhood through his pursuit of an NFL career, chronicles his three-year college career.

It was clear from Gus Malzahn’s remarks about Johnson on National Signing Day in 2015 that the expectations were high for Alabama’s Mr. Football and he would go on to live up to them, though it took time for Johnson to become the Tigers’ every-down back.

Johnson began his career behind Peyton Barber, Roc Thomas and Jovon Robinson. When each of those three backs left for different reasons, there was some uncertainty as to whether Johnson would be able to handle the workload.

“So now you’re sitting there with pretty much KJ,” former Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said.

Johnson calls 2016 a “strange year” because of the various offseason departures of the more experiences running backs, the questions of his durability enough and then the ankle sprain that sidelined him and allowed Kamryn Pettway to take over as Auburn’s leading rusher.

“That fall camp we were scrambling,” Johnson said. “We’re Auburn University and we don’t have a running back that has played more than eight plays a game. I mean how does that happen? …

“(Pettway) kind of took over that year once I went down with that sprained ankle. That year could have easy went a different way.”

After rushing for 895 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2016, Johnson was confident both he and Pettway would top 1,000 yards last fall.

“He had no doubt in his mind that was going to happen,” said Kerry Johnson, his father.

Of course, that didn’t happen either as Pettway went down with ankle and shoulder blade injuries and Johnson, who pulled his hamstring in the season opener, eventually got on a roll and went on to rush for 1,391 yards and 18 touchdowns en route to being named SEC Offensive Player of the Year.

Part Two of the series also delves into Johnson’s social media personality, which has drawn attention over the years.

From former Georgia and L.A. Rams running back Todd Gurley and Olympic sprinter Lolo Jones tweeting Johnson to his comedic remarks and crush on Rihanna, he discusses how he tries to have fun with Twitter.

“Rihanna is a hard female to get in contact with,” Kerryon Johnson said. “Eventually it’ll happen I’m sure. Maybe, maybe one day if I get really famous we’ll bump into each other. Still no luck with that.

“I’ll keep trying. I promise you that.”

James Crepea is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @JamesCrepea. If you missed Part One of Road to the Pros, Check it out below.

Auburn leans on veteran leadership at linebacker

There are only four defensive coordinators in the SEC who are going into their third seasons with the same school.

Auburn sports: Tigers show off new bling just in time for Hump Day – SECcountry.com


SECcountry.com

Auburn sports: Tigers show off new bling just in time for Hump Day
SECcountry.com
Auburn football battled through the month of November, taking down No. 1 Georgia and then top-ranked Alabama. The Tigers successfully navigated arguably the country's toughest schedule and ended up with a SEC West title. On Tuesday, coach Gus Malzahn

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Auburn equestrian set to compete in 2018 NCEA Championship

The No. 2 seed Auburn equestrian team caps the 2017-18 season at the National Collegiate Equestrian Association National Championship held April 18-21 at the Extraco Events Center in Waco, Texas.

Midweek Ramblings From The Plains

After losing seven of nine SEC games Auburn baseball fell out of the top 25 this week in both Baseball America Top 25 and  D1Baseball Top 25 major national polls. This despite winning the series against Mississippi State over the weekend. However, the Tigers are ranked at No.25 in USA Today Coaches Poll.

The Tigers broke out of a hitting slump drought with a 7-run 6th inning against the Bulldogs Sunday and continued their offensive resurgence last night with a 12-2 victory over UAB. Hopefully the return of the bats will get them back in the post season picture.

The Tigers (26-12, 6-9 SEC) face a huge challenge though with road trips remaining against Alabama, No. 1 Florida, No. 18 LSU and home series against No. 6 Vandy and No.7 Ole Miss. It can’t get much tougher than that. The Tigers need to win at least one series and not be swept in the others to make a case for an NCAA regional. The gauntlet begins Friday at 6 pm CT in Tuscaloosa.

***
Speaking of falling in the polls, Auburn softball slipped three spots from No.8 to No.11 in the USA Today/NFCA coaches poll and from No. 10 to No. 13 in the ESPN/USA Softball Top 25 after dropping the series against Missouri on Sunday. The good news is the Tigers are No 14 in RPI. If they can win the Arkansas series this weekend and take two at Texas A&M next week they have an excellent chance at being a national seed.

***
The National Collegiate Equestrian
Association National Championship begins today in Waco, Texas. The Tigers will attempt to win their fifth national title and third in three years. No.2 seed Auburn will face No. 7 seed Baylor tomorrow at 8:30 CT at the Extraco Events Center in Waco. Head coach Greg Williams said his team is focused and,  “Looking forward to this full week of competition and ready to put it together a great run.”

***
Coach Bruce Pearl finally hired an assistant head coach Monday when he brought in former Auburn great Wes Flanigan. The Auburn alum says he’s always dreamed of returning to coach on the Plains. The two time All-SEC guard played from 1993 to 1997 for coach Cliff Ellis. He scored 1,228 career points and led the team in scoring his senior year. And still remains second on Auburn’s career assists lists with 573.

Flanagin has spent 18 years coaching with his last stop at the University of Arkansas Little Rock. This writer believes Pearl made a great hire. Wes not only knows basketball, he knows what it means to wear the Orange and Blue. Until next time …

War Eagle!

The post Midweek Ramblings From The Plains appeared first on Track 'Em Tigers, Auburn's oldest and most read independent blog.

Analyst: Jarrett Stidham could have been a first-rounder in 2018 – 247Sports


247Sports

Analyst: Jarrett Stidham could have been a first-rounder in 2018
247Sports
"You have to compare him to the other guys there," Lance Zierlein of NFL.com said Tuesday on "3 Man Front" on WJOX-FM. "I think his football make-up would have checked above (UCLA quarterback Josh) Rosen's. I think he probably would have fit behind

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Auburn routs UAB for first set of back-to-back wins this month

It took 11 games and three full weeks, but for the first time since late March, Auburn has picked up back-to-back wins.

NCAA tables proposal to allow redshirts to play in up to 4 football games, could vote in June

A vote was expected, but the proposal was tabled until at least June

College football players could soon be allowed to play in up to four games and maintain their redshirt if the NCAA approves a rules proposal that’s been in the works for years.

American Football Coaches Association executive dorector Todd Berry said the NCAA Division I Council tabled a proposal (2017-17) from the ACC, which would go into effect Aug. 1, on Tuesday but could vote on it in June.

“Our coaches are obviously extremely hopeful,” Berry told AL.com after having met with the Division I Council in Indianapolis on Tuesday. “It’s something we’ve been working for for quite some time.”

Reiterating the position of the AFCA, which he voiced following the organization’s annual convention for each of the past two years, Berry said the proposal is “the only thing we’ve been unanimous on.”

College football coaches want redshirts able to play 4 games

Berry has been championing the cause for the rule change, which would most benefit true freshmen as they get acclimated later in the season, players recovering from offseason injuries that might otherwise sideline them for a whole year and players who were going to redshirt but lost a year of eligibility late in the season due to a lack of depth and injuries at their position.

“The current rule often places coaches in a difficult position to decide whether to play a student-athlete in a limited amount of competition or to preserve the student-athlete’s season of eligibility,” according to the proposal. “The opportunity to play in a small number of games will ease this decision for coaches and help the student-athlete’s development and transition to the college game. Additional flexibility with substitutes may allow starters and more experienced student-athletes additional rest and/or to feel less pressure to play through injuries. The opportunity to play will help student-athletes who might otherwise ‘redshirt’ to remain engaged with the team and may reduce the number of transfers that occur annually in football.

“Another potential benefit of this legislation is the opportunity for younger student-athletes to participate in bowl games, which are often as much about preparing for the following season as completing the current season.”

Berry was extremely optimistic about the proposal’s chances following the AFCA Convention in January, but sounded far less so in an interview last month with The Athletic. He implored college coaches to convey the importance of the rule change to their athletic directors and university presidents and chancellors over the last month and believes it “seemed to turn the tide a little bit” back towards likely passage.

One aspect of the original proposal that raised some concerns, according to Berry, was a potential loophole that would’ve allowed midyear enrollees to play in the College Football Playoff or bowl games and not have it cost them a year of eligibility. Berry said the proposal has been amended to close that loophole, which could have presented a massive issue with the new early singing period in mid-December.

While all programs could benefit should the rule change be approved, Auburn would possibly see a benefit late this fall if either wide receiver Will Hastings or Eli Stove, both of whom tore anterior cruciate ligaments during spring practice, were to recover in November.

Gus Malzahn didn’t want to speculate about the potential timetable for the two receivers to return, but said there is “no doubt” he’s in favor of the rule proposal.

Auburn junior defensive tackle Derrick Brown, a member of the SEC’s Football Leadership Council, supports the proposal.

“I think that would be beneficial because coaches would get a chance to see how (players) respond to everything,” Brown said. “But yet if they need a year that will give them what they needed.”

Several players in this year’s NFL Draft who redshirted during their college careers, felt having the opportunity to play in up to four games while redshirting either would’ve helped them or will benefit players in the future.

“I feel that definitely can benefit somebody,” said former Missouri wide receiver J’Mon Moore, who redshirted in 2013. “You can get a little bit of experience, a little bit of how fast the game is played and then I guess the coaches can judge on if you’re ready to play on that level or not. But I definitely feel like that benefits the player.”

Several tight ends, which is typically more of a developmental position, were particularly supportive of the proposal.

“I think that would be awesome,” former Oklahoma tight end Mark Andrews said. “I think guys just being able to get game reps. If you blow a team out and you want to put a guy in, why not? Why not let them get some game reps in front of 85.000 fans? It’s just going to make them better.”

Former Notre Dame tight end Durham Smythe said felt he benefited from redshirting but knew friends elsewhere who lost a year of eligibility while playing in three or four games as a freshman

“I wouldn’t call it a wasted year,” Smythe said, “but I do think there’s much better ways they can spend that (eligibility).”

NCAA Transfer Working Group supports 2 transfer rule changes

Former Virginia and East Carolina quarterback Kurt Benkert redshirted in 2013. He said he took reps as the backup in practice at ECU, but didn’t get into a game due to the need to preserve the redshirt.

“There was a point in the year where the year was halfway over and there was opportunities for me to play as a backup and we were kind of were like ‘nah, we don’t want to waste the redshirt,'” Benkert said. “If I was able to get my feet wet a little bit earlier, get that first two-three games of jitters out, I think it would have helped a lot in my development.”

Former Tulane defensive end Ade Aruna, who moved from Nigeria, said game experience as a true freshman would have helped him learn the game much faster.

“I didn’t play football growing up,” Aruna said. “To me, the way I can learn is to get on the field and get more experience. Truly, I can learn and know what I’m doing. It wasn’t because I wasn’t big enough.”

The Sun Belt has a separate proposal (2017-21) pertaining to redshirts, but not only for football, that would allow players who redshirt due to institutional or coaching decision but later suffer a significant injury and miss a season of play to not lose a year of eligibility.

“This proposal recognizes that many redshirt decisions are made by a coaching staff member for a variety of reasons beyond the control of the student-athlete and may have a negative impact on a student-athlete’s five-year period of eligibility,” the proposal states. “If adopted, this proposal would provide the opportunity for a student-athlete who was otherwise eligible for competition but was redshirted during his or her initial season, to receive an extension of the five-year period of eligibility, provided the student-athlete was denied an opportunity to participate in one additional season for reasons beyond the control of the student-athlete or institution.”

It’s unclear when the NCAA Division I Council will vote on that proposal and whether or not it would apply retroactively to current college athletes.

Auburn had two former players, Alex Kozan and T.J. Davis, lose years of eligibility in 2014 and 2015, respectively, due to injuries after they already redshirted.

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

NCAA tables proposal to allow redshirts to play in up to 4 football games, could vote in June

A vote was expected, but the proposal was tabled until at least June

Serious summer: Washington opener means Auburn football can’t wait for answers – SECcountry.com


SECcountry.com

Serious summer: Washington opener means Auburn football can't wait for answers
SECcountry.com
In some years, Gus Malzahn would have the luxury of not needing answers to those questions until the second or third week of the season. But 2018 isn't one of them — not with the Tigers opening their season against the Washington Huskies. In the wake
Check out Auburn's 2017 SEC West championship rings247Sports


LOOK: Auburn shows off 2017 SEC West championship ringsSaturday Down South

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No. 2 Auburn Set to Compete at 2018 NCEA Championship – Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site


Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site

No. 2 Auburn Set to Compete at 2018 NCEA Championship
Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site
Photo Gallery. No. 2 Auburn at NCEA Championship. Auburn. Meet Notes · Tournament Central. AUBURN, Ala. — The No. 2 seed Auburn equestrian team caps the 2017-18 season at the National Collegiate Equestrian Association National Championship held April

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NCAA Transfer Working Group supports 2 transfer rule changes

The proposal to prevent schools from restricting where athletes can transfer will be voted on by the NCAA Division I Council in June.

NCAA Transfer Working Group supports 2 transfer rule changes

The proposal to prevent schools from restricting where athletes can transfer will be voted on by the NCAA Division I Council in June.

The NCAA Transfer Working Group maintains “strong support” for proposals to stop schools from restricting where athletes can transfer and to allow athletes who sign National Letters of Intent to transfer and play immediately should their head coach leave, continues to discuss allowing all athletes to transfer and play immediately if they reach a benchmark grade-point average but membership is “deeply divided” on a proposal for graduate transfers in men’s basketball.

Members of the NCAA Transfer Working Group, which met earlier this week, have been mulling various changes to transfer rules for the past year.

The proposal to prevent schools from restricting where athletes can transfer will be voted on by the NCAA Division I Council in June.

“We have strong support from the membership for allowing student-athletes to transfer and be recruited without losing their scholarships,” Transfer Working Group chair and South Dakota State athletic director Justin Sell said in a statement. “We will ask the Division I Council to move forward with a vote on that proposal in June. This is meaningful change that will benefit student-athletes, schools and coaches.”

How drastic will changes be to NCAA transfer rules?

Restricting transfers is common practice among Power 5 conference football and basketball programs, including Alabama and Auburn.

Typically, most coaches prevent athletes wishing to transfer from going elsewhere in the conference and to schools on the schedule for the next year or two, though there have been instances of much more extensive restrictions.

The discussion continues regarding allowing all athletes to transfer and play immediately if they have a benchmark GPA, which “has not yet been determined but would be between 3.0 and 3.5,” according to the NCAA.

Another option was to eliminate the one-time transfer exception in sports that allow transfers to play immediately.

An NCAA release states it will refer to the Conference Commissioners Association (CCA), which governs the NLI, to permit athletes to transfer and play immediately should they sign an NLI and their head coach leaves, including even if the athlete enrolls in class and begins practicing but the coach leaves before the season.

“The working group believes all students who haven’t begun the academic year or competitive season should have the ability to transfer and play immediately,” according to an NCAA release.

The forthcoming report from the Commission on College Basketball, headed by Condoleezza Rice, is expected next week and will also impact the Transfer Working Group’s views as it pertains to college basketball.

A proposal from the Atlantic 10 Conference calls for graduate transfers in men’s basketball to count against a team’s scholarship limit (13) for the duration of the graduate program they enroll in. Since graduate transfers largely only have one year of eligibility remaining, this potential change would create a new challenge for coaches and programs looking to fill out their rosters with veteran players.

The NCAA notes “opinion was deeply divided” on the proposal (2017-55), which would go into effect Aug. 1, 2019 if approved by the Division I Council.

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

Q&A: Dontavius Russell talks final spring, goals for senior season – Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site


Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site

Q&A: Dontavius Russell talks final spring, goals for senior season
Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site
Russell: "The thing is, last season I thought it was going to be my last everything. So I've already went through, 'This is my last spring' and 'This is my last first game' and all that different type of stuff. So now I feel like I'm just at ease

Auburn softball falls out of top 10 after 2-loss weekend at Missouri

Auburn’s momentum changed with one night’s sleep.

Kirk Herbstreit says two Auburn players could be early-round draftees in 2018 NFL Draft – SECcountry.com


SECcountry.com

Kirk Herbstreit says two Auburn players could be early-round draftees in 2018 NFL Draft
SECcountry.com
Kirk Herbstreit spent plenty of time watching Auburn football last season and the ESPN analyst believes several Tigers will be picked up early in the 2018 NFL Draft. After cornerback Carlton Davis, who's been projected as a first-round pick by many

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Auburn ‘worked hard’ with its tight ends this spring, but will it mean more production come fall?

Auburn’s tight ends have not factored into the team’s offense much in recent seasons.

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