Gus Malzahn provides injury updates for 6 Auburn players

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn updated the injury statuses of six players as the team reconvened for its first practice following spring break.

John Franklin III to work with Auburn wide receivers the rest of spring

John Franklin III's days as a quarterback at Auburn are all but completely over.

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John Franklin III’s days as a quarterback at Auburn are all but completely over.

The former junior college transfer and dual-threat signal caller will be spending the remaining nine spring practices at wide receiver and working on special teams, as he has done for at least the past three practices.

“John Franklin will work primarily at wide receiver the rest of the spring,” Malzahn said following Tuesday’s practice, Auburn’s sixth of spring. “He played some before we left (for spring break), did some things on special teams. Everybody knows he’s a very good athlete and he’s got a great attitude (and) wants to help the team anyway he can. He’s really done a good job at that.”

Franklin was working predominantly with the wide receivers by the fourth spring practice and was not wearing an orange no-contact jersey for at least the past three practices. He took reps with wide receivers and punt returners during Tuesday’s practice.

“He’s great; athletic, he knows the game, he can be a good receiver,” wide receiver Eli Stove said. “He knows where to put the ball as a quarterback. His routes, his depths are good. His trying to get open is pretty good, too. He’s fast.”

John Franklin III embraces wide receiver role in spring break videos

Fellow wide out Ryan Davis said Franklin, who has not been available for interviews this spring, “looks natural” are receiver and his “real deadly” speed sets him apart.

“He looks like somebody who has the God-given ability to be able to do what he does,” Davis said. “He has great hands, great speed, and he just keeps working on it every day. He’s getting better, he’s learning from (wide receivers coach Kodi) Burns, and he’s staying after and doing extra stuff.”

Malzahn did not rule out Franklin taking any reps at quarterback going forward but he would not commit to it either.

“He could (take reps at quarterback),” Malzahn said, “but we’re really focusing primarily the rest of spring just on his development at wide receiver and special teams. We feel like he can be an impact player on special teams too. … I think everybody knows when he has the ball in his hands, he’s got a unique ability to change the game.”

Franklin was 14 of 26 for 204 yards with a touchdown and had 430 rushing yards and two touchdowns while appearing in all 13 games last season and started against Vanderbilt, but was replaced at halftime by Sean White.

John Franklin III to work with Auburn wide receivers the rest of spring

John Franklin III’s days as a quarterback at Auburn are all but completely over.

Rewinding what Gus Malzahn said about Auburn’s sixth spring practice

Follow along with updates from tonight's press conference with Gus Malzahn after Auburn's sixth spring practice

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Auburn returned to the field for its sixth spring practice on Tuesday

Gus Malzahn recapped his team’s performance in its return from spring break, addressed some personnel matters and looked ahead to Saturday’s scrimmage.

Here is a brief recap from tonight’s press conference.

GUS MALZAHN

— Today was “mostly review” and not install. Says energy was good.

— Thursday will be “red zone oriented” and scrimmage Saturday, “basic football”

— John Franklin will work primarily at wide receiver the rest of spring. Says he “could” take reps at QB still, but sounds unlikely.

— Wide receiver Kyle Davis is still taking care of “personal business” and may not be back until the fall

— Sean White did 7-on-7 drills, not team drills, and won’t do so going forward.

— Hasn’t ruled out QBs being live in the scrimmage

— Says defense is “night and day” difference compared to last year with a returning staff and coordinator

— Adding RPOs was “part of the plan” with bringing in Chip Lindsey

— Woody Barrett is “more urgent” this spring, which is his first chance to compete for playing time. More will be known over the next 2 weeks regarding his development.

— Cornerbacks Jamel Dean and Jayvaughn Myers are “very limited” for the rest of spring

— Nick Coe and Paul James III are both practicing, not 100 percent, but “improving”

Rewinding what Gus Malzahn said about Auburn’s sixth spring practice

Follow along with updates from tonight’s press conference with Gus Malzahn after Auburn’s sixth spring practice

Auburn football spring practice observations: Tigers return from break for Day 6 – SECcountry.com

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Auburn football spring practice observations: Tigers return from break for Day 6
SECcountry.com
AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn football returned from spring break for its sixth practice of preseason camp, but not all the Tigers were present and accounted for Tuesday. The top news from a rather uneventful 15-minute media viewing period centered on the…
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Observations from Auburn’s 6th spring practice

Auburn didn't show the media much during Tuesday's 15-minute viewing period of the team's sixth spring practice.

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Auburn didn’t show the media much during Tuesday’s 15-minute viewing period of the team’s sixth spring practice.

The Tigers did not run any pace drills,but here are a few observations:

— Wide receiver Kyle Davis remains absent from practice.When Auburn opened spring practice Feb. 28, head coach Gus Malzahn said Davis was dealing with “personal business” and was expected to return after spring break, which was last week.

— Wide receiver Darius Slayton appeared to remain limited in his return from hernia surgery. He was dressed out at practice but did not appear to be active.

— Auburn’s second-team offensive line wasPrince Tega Wanogho Jr., Tucker Brown, Kaleb Kim, Tyler Carr and Bailey Sharp.

— Quarterback Tyler Queen, who announced his plans to transfer from Auburnbefore practice started, was not present.

— Cornerbacks Jamel Dean and Jayvaughn Myers, who are both returning from ACL injuries, were both dressed out with braces on their surgically repaired knees.

— On special teams, Kerryon Johnson, Eli Stove and Kam Martin saw work at kick return while Stephen Roberts, Ryan Davis and John Franklin III worked on punt returns. Franklin did not throw with the quarterbacks.

John Franklin III embraces WR role in new videos

— Linebacker K.J. Britt remains sidelines with his leg injury and was spotted with a crutch on the sidelines.

— Former Auburn head coach Pat Dye was in attendance, as was former offensive lineman Alex Kozan and 2019 offensive tackle prospect Devonte Dobbs.

Gallery preview

Observations from Auburn’s 6th spring practice

Auburn didn’t show the media much during Tuesday’s 15-minute viewing period of the team’s sixth spring practice.

Spring practice observations: WR Kyle Davis still absent as Auburn returns from spring break

Auburn allowed reporters into football practice on Tuesday for the third of four times this spring.

Auburn wide receiver still absent from spring practice

Davis missed the first two weeks of spring practice while taking care of “personal business.”

Auburn receiver Kyle Davis was absent from the Tigers’ first practice after spring break.

Davis missed the first two weeks of practice while dealing with what head coach Gus Malzahn described as “personal business.”The Tigers’ coach said Davis would return when the team reconvened after spring break, but the rising sophomore was absent during the 15-minute window open to the media on Tuesday afternoon.

The 6-foot-2, 213-pound Davis is expected to be one of Auburn’s starting receiversin 2017.

As a freshman in 2016, Davis appeared in all 13 games, including one start against Alabama A&M late in the season. He finished the year with 12 receptions for 248 yards and two touchdowns. He flashed big-play potential while averaging 20.67 yards per reception, which was most among Auburn players with at least three catches last season.

Malzahn will meet with the media at approximately 6 p.m. with an update on Davis’ status.

AL.com will update this story.

Auburn wide receiver still absent from spring practice, return uncertain

Davis missed the first two weeks of spring practice while taking care of “personal business.”

Cam Newton to have shoulder surgery next week

The Carolina Panthers hope to have quarterback Cam Newton ready for training camp after the former Auburn star has surgery on his throwing shoulder on March 30.

The Carolina Panthers hope to have quarterback Cam Newtonready for training camp after the former Auburn star has surgery on his throwing shoulder on March 30.

The Panthers revealed on Tuesday afternoon that Newton had suffered a partially torn rotator cuff during a 28-16 victory over the San Diego Chargers on Dec. 11. Newton was Carolina’s quarterback in the three remaining games of the 2016 NFL season, although his throwing in practices was limited to late in the week.

Newton will have surgery after a treatment plan did not fix the problem.

“We developed a plan for Cam to take a period of rest, a period of rehabilitation and treatment, and then start a gradual throwing program the first part of March,” said Ryan Vermillion, Carolina’s head athletic trainer. “Cam started his program, and the early parts of his rehab had been going well. However, as we worked to advance him into the next stage – the strengthening stage, the throwing stage – he started to have an increase in his pain level and started having pain while throwing.

“As a result, Dr. Pat Connor (the Panthers’ head physician) felt the most prudent procedure would be to arthroscopically repair the shoulder.”

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

Vermillion said Newton wouldn’t throw for 12 weeks after surgery.

“Twelve weeks following surgery, Cam will begin an early throwing program with me,” Vermillion said. “If he progresses well, he will start throwing with the team at 16 weeks after surgery, and we’ll go from there. Our goal is to have him back at the start of training camp.”

In 2016, Newton’s completion percentage of .529 was the worst among the NFL’s regular quarterbacks and his passer rating of 75.8 exceeded only the Houston Texans’ Brock Osweiler and the New York Jets’ Ryan Fitzpatrick. In the second half of the 2016 season, Newton completed only 48.7 percent of his passes.

Newton won the 2010 Heisman Trophy while leading Auburn to the BCS national championship. He entered the NFL as the first player picked in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Newton won the NFL’s Most Valuable Player Award for the 2015 season and has been invited to the Pro Bowl three times.

In his six seasons, Newton has completed 1,710-of-2,928 passes for 21,772 yards with 136 touchdowns and 78 interceptions. He’s also run for 3,566 yards and 48 touchdowns on 689 carries. Newton holds the NFL record for most rushing TDs by a quarterback.

Cam Newton to have shoulder surgery next week

The Carolina Panthers hope to have quarterback Cam Newton ready for training camp after the former Auburn star has surgery on his throwing shoulder on March 30.

Quarterback Tyler Queen announces he will transfer from Auburn

Auburn quarterback Tyler Queen announced on Tuesday that he would be transferring from Auburn.

Auburn quarterback announces he’s transferring

Tyler Queen is leaving the Plains

Auburn quarterback announces he’s transferring

Tyler Queen is leaving the Plains

Quarterback Tyler Queen announced his plans to transfer from Auburn Tuesday.

He revealed the news on his personal Twitter account.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 [?] [?] pic.twitter.com/a2uLlH4aec

— Tyler Queen (@TQueen_15) March 21, 2017

AL.com will update this post.

Auburn ‘still recruiting’ Bo Jackson’s speedy nephew Shedrick

Hoover wide receiver Shedrick Jackson appears primed to raise his recruiting stock this spring after another successful season with the Bucs.

Auburn ‘still recruiting’ Bo Jackson’s speedy nephew Shedrick

Hoover wide receiver Shedrick Jackson appears primed to raise his recruiting stock this spring after another successful season with the Bucs.

More than 30 years after Bo Jackson won a Heisman Trophy at Auburn and became an NFL star, his nephew is beginning to make a name for himself on the gridiron.

Hoover wide receiver Shedrick Jackson appears primed to raise his recruiting stock this spring after another successful season with the Bucs.

“One of the things I respect the most about him is there is a little bit of pressure with him being Bo Jackson’s nephew,” Hoover wide receivers coach Aryvia Holmes told AL.com. “You would think a lot of kids in that position will kind of maybe walk around a little entitled and not necessarily being the guy that works hard. He works extremely hard. He’s all A’s and B’s in the classroom. Very, very, very talented.”

Arkansas State, Bowling Green, Memphis, Mississippi State and Troy have all offered scholarships to Jackson. He’s visited Auburn multiple times, including a trip earlier this month. As continues to build a relationship with Auburn wide receivers coach Kodi Burns, he’s patiently waiting for the Tigers to pull the trigger with an offer.

“(Auburn’s) still recruiting and looking at me,” Jackson said after Auburn’s recent Junior Day. “Coach (Burns) is going to come back in the spring and look at me and he wants me to come to a camp.”

How would an offer from Auburn affect Jackson’s recruitment?

“It’s always great to get an SEC offer,” he said. “The SEC’s the biggest conference in the league, so it’d be great… I look at every team not the same way, but I give them an equal chance. Get to know the coaches, campus, everything about it.”

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

“I think he’s just starting to break the surface on some of the stuff he can do on the football field,” Holmes said. “Probably the fastest kid on our football team and the strongest kid pound for pound. I haven’t coached anybody like him to be honest with you. What he can do — explosiveness, power — he’s just a different type of receiver. He’s a speed, down-the-field guy but you can hand him a jet sweep and he can run through tackles too. He’s just a different animal. It’s obviously genetic for sure.”

Despite his name and the powerhouse football team he plays for, Jackson is still an under-the-radar prospect. 247Sports ranks him as a three-star prospect and the nation’s No. 116 wide receiver in the 2018 recruiting cycle.

2018 Auburn football commits

Bucs head coach Josh Niblett has no doubt Jackson has the ability to be a college football star..

“He’s got unbelievable top end speed,” Niblett said. “Unbelievably physical. Physique wise, he’s just a really really muscular kid and very strong in the weight room, but very flexible. He’s not a stiff kid, and he’s so explosive. You have to make a decision defensively if you’re going to play somebody over the top. It doesn’t matter if you’re off coverage, he’ll run by you.

“I think this spring will be big for him when coaches come through… He’ll be a game-changer. I guess people just want to see him a little bit more, and I think the offers will start adding up.”

AL.com All-Access: Who leads Alabama in rushing in 2017? Who leads Auburn in receiving?

The Crimson Tide is suddenly overloaded with top-flight running backs. And the Tigers have a half-dozen or more capable receivers.

AL.com All-Access: Who leads Alabama in rushing in 2017? Who leads Auburn in receiving?

The Crimson Tide is suddenly overloaded with top-flight running backs. And the Tigers have a half-dozen or more capable receivers.

There are several positions to watch in spring practice for Alabama and Auburn, but one on each side seems particularly crowded.

The Crimson Tide is suddenly overloaded with top-flight running backs. And the Tigers have a half-dozen or more capable receivers.

So who leads Alabama in rushing in 2017? Who leads Auburn in receiving?

Let’s take a look at the candidates:

Alabama

Bo Scarbrough (6-2, 232, Jr.) — All that is holding back Scarbrough from being the Crimson Tide’s next backfield star is health, as he’s yet to make it through a full season without some sort of injury. He’s got a bruising running style, and the odds of him staying on the field all year are slim.

Najee Harris (6-2, 227, Fr.) –The most highly regarded running back to enter the SEC since Leonard Fournette, Harris has yet to take his first college snap. However, top freshmen backs (T.J. Yeldon, Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson) tend to force their way onto the field at Alabama, and Harris should be no different.

Damien Harris (5-11, 216, Jr.) — If you knew Harris rushed for 1,000-plus yards in 2016, you’re ahead of some people, as the former 5-star recruit tends to be forgotten among flashier players. Still, he proved last year that he’s dependable, and should have every opportunity to keep his starting spot.

Jalen Hurts (6-2, 214, Soph.) –The bull-strong Hurts rushed for 954 yards last season, far and away the best total by a quarterback in school history. Nevertheless, given Alabama’s change in offensive coordinator and the need to keep him healthy, Hurts is likely to run less –not more –in 2017.

Joshua Jacobs (5-10, 209, Soph.) –An afterthought as a recruit, Jacobs was a key player for the Crimson Tide in 2016, particularly earlier in the season. However, there just seems like there’s too much talent ahead of Jacobs for him to play a serious role again this fall.

B.J. Emmons (6-0, 219, Soph.) — There were question as to whether Emmons would be eligible last season, but the 5-star recruit wound up qualifying and got on the field as a true freshman in 2016. A foot injury kept him out for the second half of the season, and it’s difficult to see him catching up to those ahead of him for playing time.

Auburn

Kyle Davis (6-2, 213, Soph.) — Davis has missed part of spring practice for “personal reasons,” but is still in good standing with the team and expected back today. He is Auburn’s leading returning receiver in touchdowns (2) and yards per catch (20.7), and showed flashes of big-play ability in 2016.

Eli Stove (6-0, 179, Soph.) –Stove might be the winner here in terms of volume, as he “caught” 23 passes last season, but many of those on speed sweeps. He did have a 55-yard reception against Alabama, so he’s a potential deep threat as well.

Ryan Davis (5-9, 174, Jr.) –Like Stove, Davis was used on a number of short passes last season. His longest catch of the year went for just 23 yards. He’s an ideal slot receiver at his size, and is the most experienced of the Tigers’ returning receivers.

Sal Cannella (6-6, 230, Jr.) –Auburn has been looking for a dependable red zone tight end since the days of Philip Lutzenkirchen, and might have found its man in Cannella. The tall and rangy junior-college transfer could form an instant bond with quarterback Jarrett Stidham.

Darius Slayton (6-2, 191, Soph.) –Raise your hand if you knew Slayton was Auburn’s returning leader in receiving yards (292) and had the Tigers’ longest catch of 2016 (56 yards vs. Oklahoma. He’s recovering from hernia surgery, so he might get lost in the shuffle heading into the fall.

Nate Craig-Myers (6-2, 208, Soph.) –The third member of Auburn’s outstanding 2016 freshman receiving class (along with Stove and Kyle Davis), Craig-Myers battled injuries for much of last season and didn’t produce much. However, he was the highest rated out of high school, so the talent is there.

Jalen Harris (6-4, 257, Jr.) –Harris has two career receptions, both for touchdowns. With Cannella around now, however, it’s unlikely Harris has much of a role as a receiver going forward.

Jason Smith (6-1, 190, Sr.) –An outstanding dual-threat quarterback in high school and junior college, Smith might be the most under-utilized player on the Auburn roster. That doesn’t seem likely to change, though.

John Franklin (6-1, 183, Sr.) — The former quarterback appears to have embraced the transition to slot receiver, but it’s not for certain he’ll be able to make that move without a hitch. Auburn will surely try to put the ball in the speedy Franklin’s hands on occasion, but probably not more than a few times a game.

Will Hastings (5-10, 167, Jr.) –Hastings is a nice story, a former kicker who turned into a walk-on success and even caught a touchdown pass last year. But if he has much of a role in 2017, that’s a problem for Auburn.

So make your picks, one from each list? We’ll talk about that and more beginning at 10 a.m.

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ESPN
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ESPN
… football is that only a handful of those teams have a legitimate chance of winning the 2017 College Football Playoff. The return of 18 starters from a Sugar Bowl squad and the addition of ex-Baylor quarterback Jarrett Stidham landed the Auburn …
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True freshman Auburn QB Malik Willis reminds Gus Malzahn of Nick Marshall

Most of the talk surrounding Auburn’s quarterback race this spring has centered, fairly, on Jarrett Stidham, Sean White and Woody Barrett.

Projected Auburn depth chart for Week 3 of spring practice

The projected depth chart for Auburn's third week of spring practice,

After each week of Auburn’s spring practice AL.com will project the team’s depth chart.

Injuries and expected absences and returns will be noted and updated.

Here is the projected depth chart for Auburn’s third week of spring practice, following a 12-day hiatus for spring break.

QUARTERBACK
Jarrett Stidham, redshirt-sophomore
Sean White, redshirt-junior (limited as he recovers from broken right forearm)
Woody Barrett, redshirt-freshman
Malik Willis, freshman
John Franklin III, senior (splitting time at wide receiver)
Tyler Queen, redshirt-sophomore (announced he is transferring)

RUNNING BACK
Kamryn Pettway, redshirt-junior
Kerryon Johnson, junior
Kam Martin, sophomore
Malik Miller, redshirt-freshman (recovering from season-ending left knee injury)

H-BACK
Chandler Cox, junior
Keenan Sweeney, junior

TIGHT END
Jalen Harris, junior
Sal Cannella, junior

SPLIT END
Kyle Davis, sophomore (expected to return after missing two weeks due to “personal business”)
Darius Slayton, redshirt-sophomore (expected to return due to hernia surgery)
Nate Craig-Myers, sophomore
Marquis McClain, redshirt-freshman

FLANKER
Eli Stove, sophomore
Ryan Davis, junior
John Franklin III, senior
Kyle Davis, sophomore (expected to return after missing two weeks due to “personal business”)

SLOT
Jason Smith, senior
Will Hastings, junior
Ryan Davis, junior

Y/BIG SLOT
Kyle Davis, sophomore (expected to return after missing two weeks due to “personal business”)
Marquis McClain, redshirt-freshman
Jalen Harris, junior
Sal Cannella, junior
Logan Rice, junior

LEFT TACKLE
Darius James, senior
Prince Tega Wanogho Jr., redshirt-sophomore
Prince Michael Sammons, redshirt-freshman

LEFT GUARD
Marquel Harrell, redshirt-sophomore
Mike Horton, redshirt-sophomore
Bailey Sharp, redshirt-sophomore
Brodarious Hamm, freshman (cleared but limited after missing last year due to Hodgkin’s lymphoma)
Nick Brahms, freshman (out until summer due to broken fibula and torn ligaments)

CENTER
Austin Golson, senior
Kaleb Kim, redshirt-sophomore

RIGHT GUARD
Mike Horton, redshirt-sophomore
Braden Smith, senior
Tyler Carr, redshirt-sophomore
Brodarious Hamm, freshman (cleared but limited after missing last year due to Hodgkin’s lymphoma)

RIGHT TACKLE
Braden Smith, senior
Prince Michael Sammons, redshirt-freshman
Prince Tega Wanogho Jr., redshirt-sophomore

BUCK
Jeff Holland, junior
Tre Threat, sophomore
Paul James III, redshirt-junior
Nick Coe, redshirt-freshman (limited due to undisclosed injury)

NOSE TACKLE
Dontavius Russell, redshirt-junior
Derrick Brown, sophomore
Jauntavius Johnson, redshirt-sophomore (out due to knee injury)
Antwuan Jackson Jr., redshirt-freshman

DEFENSIVE TACKLE
Andrew Williams, redshirt-junior OR
Derrick Brown, sophomore
Byron Cowart, junior
Tashawn Manning, freshman (cleared by limited after missing last year due to acute promyelocytic leukemia)

DEFENSIVE END
Marlon Davidson, sophomore
Byron Cowart, junior
Tyler Carter, redshirt-sophomore

STRONG-SIDE LINEBACKER
Deshaun Davis, redshirt-junior
Montavious Atkinson, junior
Richard McBryde, redshirt-sophomore

MIDDLE LINEBACKER
Tre’ Williams, senior
Darrell Williams, junior
Richard McBryde, redshirt-sophomore
K.J. Britt, freshman (out due to leg injury)

WEAK-SIDE LINEBACKER
Darrell Williams, junior
Chandler Wooten, freshman
Tre Threat, sophomore
Josh Shockley, junior (out due to arm injury)

NICKEL
Daniel Thomas, sophomore
Jeremiah Dinson, redshirt-sophomore
Michael Sherwood, senior
John Broussard Jr., redshirt-freshman

BOUNDARY CORNERBACK
Javaris Davis, redshirt-sophomore
Jamel Dean, redshirt-sophomore (out due to torn ACL)
John Broussard Jr., redshirt-freshman
Michael Sherwood, senior

STRONG SAFETY
Tray Matthews, senior
Nick Ruffin, senior
Marlon Character, redshirt-freshman

FREE SAFETY
Stephen Roberts, senior
Michael Sherwood, senior
Marlon Character, redshirt-freshman

FIELD CORNERBACK
Carlton Davis, junior
Marlon Character, redshirt-freshman
Jayvaughn Myers, redshirt-freshman (out due to torn ACL)
Malcolm Askew, freshman

PUNT RETURN
Stephen Roberts, senior
Jason Smith, senior

KICKOFF RETURN
Kerryon Johnson, junior
Kam Martin, sophomore
Jason Smith, senior

KICKER
Daniel Carlson, redshirt-senior
Ian Shannon, redshirt-sophomore

PUNTER
Ian Shannon, redshirt-sophomore

HOLDER
Tyler Stovall, senior
John Franklin III, senior

LONG SNAPPER
Ike Powell, senior
Zach Wade, junior

Projected Auburn depth chart for Week 3 of spring practice

The projected depth chart for Auburn’s third week of spring practice,

Tigers Softball Update

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The Tigers emerged from the SEC opener against LSU victorious but didn’t exactly escape without any lumps. The Yellow and Purple Tigers from Louisiana actually outscored Auburn 16–10, winning game two by run-ruling the Orange and Blue, something softball fans haven’t seen in quite some time. Auburn beat LSU 5–4 in games one and three to take the series.

The next two games against Tennessee in Columbia, TN and MTSU in Murfreesboro, TN were canceled due to inclement weather. Coach Clint Myers and his team made the most of five off days to prepare for the USF Invitational, which took place in both Clearwater and Tampa. 

The Tigers had all they wanted from North Dakota State in their first game. While Kaylee Carlson held the Bisons to just three hits, Auburn needed a Madi Gipson walk-off single to score pinch runner Bree Fornis in a 2–1 win. The Tigers had eight hits, but they couldn’t string enough together to do much damage. 

Auburn turned it around against USF in the second game of the double-header. Makayla Martin took the circle for the Tigers and shut out the Bulls, giving up just two hits on four strikeouts despite five walks. The Bulls’ two hits came in the first and last innings. In the meantime, Victoria Draper logged three hits on four at-bats, but it was Carlee Wallace’s two run homer in the 4th broke the game open for the Tigers. 

On the 18th against Illinois, Martin started Auburn’s first game of the double header. In six innings of work, she allowed two earned runs on five hits while adding four strikeouts. Kasey Cooper made it into the record books for Auburn with her two hits and four RBIs, becoming the second player in SEC history to have 250 hits and 250 RBI’s. 

However, it was Kaylee Carlson who stole the show later that afternoon.She did so in an 8–0 run-rule win against Ohio State. While she must be given credit for a masterful game, she didn’t do with with strike-outs. She forced the Buckeyes to hit at her defense. That defense was flawless. Along the way, Carlee Wallace added three RBI’s. 

A transformation continues for the young Auburn program. Last year’s hot bats have cooled dramatically, but the pitching has been phenomenal. Both Carlson and Martin have ERA’s under one, an amazing statistic. Reliever Jenna Abbott has an ERA of 1.00 in her five appearances. Young Ashlee Swindle has struggled thus far, with a 3.78 ERA in ten appearances. On the hitting side, Kendall Veach leads in home runs, having hit seven dingers, though she posts the worst batting average of the regular starters. On the other end of the order, Draper is hitting .411 with no homers and a .492 on-base percentage. Haley Fagan has become the hitter Tiger fans remember from 2015 with five homers, a .337 average and an OBP of .450. Her 30 hits are more than any player on the team, and her slugging percentage is at the top.

Up next are the Florida Gators in Gainesville. While Auburn can claim two straight SEC championships and a WCWS Finals appearance, Florida has been Auburn’s kryptonite. The Gators moved up to number two this past weekend and received five votes as the best team in the nation. The Tigers slipped from No. 2 to No. 4. This will be a premier matchup and kicks off Saturday night at 5:00 p.m. central. Game two is Sunday at 5:00 p.m. and game three is at 6:00 p.m. Monday. Games one and two are scheduled to be aired on ESPN2. 

Coach Myers is scheduled to give an update on Washington transfer Tannon Snow, missing on the field since before the season began.

The post Tigers Softball Update appeared first on Track 'Em Tigers, Auburn's oldest and most read independent blog.

Auburn gymnastics learns its postseason fate, earns 4th seed in NCAA Fayeteville Regional

Normally, coach Jeff Graba said, a team recording the best score of the season in its final meet before regionals wouldn’t be that big of a deal. Teams are supposed improve as the season goes along.

The Bodda Getta Bracket: Who is the best team in Auburn Tigers … – 247Sports

247Sports
The Bodda Getta Bracket: Who is the best team in Auburn Tigers …
247Sports
Which team is the best in Auburn history? Fans decide in The Bodda Getta Bracket.

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After preseason hospitalization, catcher Blake Logan excelling for Auburn behind the plate

In January, Blake Logan felt worse than he ever had in his entire life.

What to watch for when Auburn football resumes spring practice this week – SECcountry.com

SECcountry.com
What to watch for when Auburn football resumes spring practice this week
SECcountry.com
AUBURN, Ala. — After 11 days away from the field, Auburn football returns to spring practice Tuesday afternoon. And, judging by the schedule the rest of the way, the intensity will ramp up over the next 10 practices. Auburn football will take the …
Jackets Renew Rivalry with Auburn on Tuesday at 6 pmGeorgia Tech Official Athletic Site

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Auburn infielder Will Holland named SEC Freshman of the Week

Going into the first weekend of SEC play, it wasn’t clear whether or not Will Holland would start for Auburn.

Auburn in the mix for Louisiana lineman Cameron Wire

Auburn offered Wire Feb. 17

After picking up an offer from Auburn last month, Cameron Wire is planning his second trip to the Plains.

“I love (Auburn offensive line) Coach (Herb) Hand and his o-line coaching techniques,” Wire told AL.com’s Drew Champlin last weekend at Nike’s The Opening Regional camp in New Orleans. “He said I can come in (and play) as a freshman.”

Auburn offered Wire Feb. 17, and he said the news made him “very excited.” He plans on attending an upcoming Junior Day on campus and possibly the A-Day spring scrimmage at Jordan-Hare Stadium April 8.

The 6-foot-6, 270-pound offensive tackle at East Ascension in Gonzalez, La., has only been to Auburn once for a camp during his sophomore year.

“It got me a whole lot better,” he said. “Coach Hand is a really great coach.”

According to his 247Sports profile, Wire has received 30 total offers. In addition to Auburn, he said Baylor, Texas, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Oregon and Arizona are standing out. Heplans onrevealing his top contenders this summer and making a commitment before the his senior football season begins.

What is he looking for in a school?

“Where I can come in and have a big impact my freshman year and potentially get better throughout the year and potentially go to the draft,” he said.

Auburn picked up its first offensive line commitment of the 2018 recruiting cycle March 8 when four-star guard Jalil Irvin gave his pledge to the Tigers. The Tigers signed three 2017 offensive linemen in February — tackles Calvin Ashley and Austin Troxell and guard Nick Brahms.

What Irvin’s commitment means for Auburn

Wire is ranked as a three-star prospect and the No. 48 offensive tackle in the 247Sports Composite. Check out hisjunior highlights in the Hudl video below.

Auburn in the mix for Louisiana lineman Cameron Wire

Auburn offered Wire Feb. 17

John Franklin III spent his spring break working out and making hype videos

No matter what you did over your spring break, you probably didn’t work as hard as John Franklin III.

Fast-rising in-state defensive standout Andres Fox restructures top 3 to include Auburn rival – SECcountry.com

SECcountry.com
Fast-rising in-state defensive standout Andres Fox restructures top 3 to include Auburn rival
SECcountry.com
Welcome to SEC Country's daily Auburn football recruiting notebook with Auburn recruiting beat writer Benjamin Wolk. Today, we look at a major DE target for Auburn and the latest wrinkle in his recruitment.

Elite receiver Jacob Copeland has strong bond with Auburn assistant

The four-star recruit talks Auburn interest

Elite receiver Jacob Copeland has strong bond with Auburn assistant

The four-star recruit talks Auburn interest

Auburn had success with Florida panhandle receivers two years ago, signing Eli Stove and Marquis McClain.

The Tigers are right in the thick of things with another elite receiver in the area for this year’s class in Jacob Copeland from Pensacola.

The 6-foot-1, 188-pound Copeland is ranked as the No. 45 prospect nationally and No. 9 receiver recruit per the 247Sports composite. He’s the No. 10 prospect in Florida.

Copeland said Sunday at the New Orleans Opening Regional that Auburn was one of his top schools along with Miami, Clemson, Florida and North Carolina.

The biggest reason is receivers coach Kodi Burns.

“Kodi Burns, he played there,” Copeland said. “It’s not all about football with him. He’s always asking me about school. He’s like a big brother or father figure. He always wants me to stay focused. Everything will always be good with me and him, no matter where I go to school.”

Copeland caught 29 passes for 516 yards and five touchdowns and rushed for 215 yards and three touchdowns for Pine Forest (Fla.) last season, but recently transferred to Escambia High School for his senior year.

Copeland said Auburn likes him as a slot receiver.

“Coach Burns, he wants me to succeed everywhere I go,” Copeland said. “That’s why I can relate to him. He said it doesn’t matter if you go to Auburn, I want you to succeed. You’ve got a skillset that can make you money.

“I’m trying to see the big picture degree-wise. I love the game, but this is a decision for a lifetime.”

Copeland said he has been to Auburn “three or four times” and hopes to visit for the spring game on April 9.

He’ll have a different offense to look at with new offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey running the show and former Baylor quarterback Jarrett Stidham in a battle for the starting job.

“I’m trying to check and see how their offense is now that they have Coach Lindsey,” Copeland said. “I want to see what they are going to look like passing-wise.

“That’s one of the things that I’m trying to see, how (Stidham is) going to do, check them out and see how they’re going to pass the ball around.”

Copeland said he plans to make his commitment at the Under Armour All-American Game, which will be sometime around the start of the new year.

More from The Opening New Orleans Regional

Saraland QB Jack West earns Elite 11 invite, plus other notes

Why elite WR Terrace Marshall isn’t considering Alabama any more

Why Auburn target Timaje Porter pushed back commitment date

Check out Copeland’s junior highlights.

Alabama Roots: Which NFL free agents still need contracts?

NFL teams began signing free agents on March 9, but 14 players from Alabama high schools and colleges who played in the league in the 2016 season don't have a team for 2017 yet.

Cancer survivor Tashawn Manning ‘happy to be out there’ in first spring at Auburn

A few times per week this spring, Kevin Steele has gathered Auburn’s defense for what he likes to call “life lessons.” The focus, the second-year defensive coordinator said, is “being grateful on what you have.”

Alabama Roots: Which NFL free agents still need contracts?

NFL teams began signing free agents on March 9, but 14 players from Alabama high schools and colleges who played in the league in the 2016 season don’t have a team for 2017 yet.

Sweep of No. 5 Florida Prove Tigers Can Play With the Best

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“Nobody can take that moment from me … Those are those little moments I take that I don’t need a penny for.” That’s the way  Auburn baseball coach Butch Thompson felt after watching his team charge the field following opening SEC play with a sweep of No.5 Florida.  

The Auburn skipper had reason to be excited. It was a big moment for a team that went 8-22 in SEC play last season and hadn’t won a series win over a Top 5 ranked opponent in seven years. The Tigers completed the sweep with a walk off 6-5 victory over the Gators Sunday at Plainsman Park.

A preseason favorite to win the conference, Florida was swept by Auburn (17-5) for the first time in three decades. After dispatching the Gators 2-1 in game one and dominating them 14-3 in Saturday’s contest Auburn got four unearned runs off three Florida errors. It was one of those errors by Gator pitcher Frank Rubio, when he overthrew third base after fielding a Jonah Todd bunt, which allowed pinch runner J.J. Shafffer to score the winning run.

Auburn upped their winning streak to seven and just may crack the Top 25 this week as a result. Pitching was the key as Casey Mize dominated for seven innings with one unearned run while Cole Lipscomb got his third save, Mize had eight strikeouts, Keegan Thompson got eight K’s in getting his fourth win, and on Sunday Calvin Coker pitched a career-long four innings in relief while Andrew Mitchell picked up his fourth win.
 
The MVP of the series has to be catcher Blake Logan who was just released from the hospital a month before the season began. Doctors doubted whether he would be ale to play this year but the senior proved them wrong. He not only should be given credit for calling the pitches but the senior had his first three-hit day and is batting .346 on the year. It was his single that Shafffer scored the game winning pinch run.

These Tigers are  fun to watch and if they keep playing with confidence they have a chance to return to the post season for the first time since 2010. “We still got some lessons to learn,” said Thompson. “But I  think we got seven [nation leading] shutouts that tell us we can do this, and now we got something on our resume that says, man, we can play.”

 
Watch Tigers charge the field after sweeping Gators.

Editors note:
Auburn goes on the road Tuesday to play long time rival Georgia Tech. First pitch will be at 5 p.m. CT on WatchESPN .

The post Sweep of No. 5 Florida Prove Tigers Can Play With the Best appeared first on Track 'Em Tigers, Auburn's oldest and most read independent blog.

Stanford QB commit Jack West earns Elite 11 invite, plus more from New Orleans Opening Regional

The Stanford commit also talks recruiting

Stanford QB commit Jack West earns Elite 11 invite, plus more from New Orleans Opening Regional

The Stanford commit also talks recruiting

Saraland’s Jack West showed why he is one of the top quarterbacks in the country on Sunday at the Opening Regional in New Orleans.

The 6-foot-3, 200-pound West, a four-star recruit ranked as the No. 6 pro-style quarterback and No. 98 overall recruit, earned an invite to the Elite 11 finals. He’ll be one of 24 quarterbacks who go to California in June and compete for a spot at Nike Football’s The Opening Finals in late June.

“I’m competing with the top guys in the country and learning from some of thebest coaches in the country, so it’s going well,” West said earlier Sunday.

West and Justin Rogers, a 6-foot-4 four-star quarterback from Bossier City, Fla., earned Elite 11 invites.

West committed to Stanford before his junior season. He has been there for a game and for a campus visit. He’ll enroll there next summer.

“It’s a different atmosphere than down here, obviously, but it’s a beautiful stadium and a beautiful campus so I love to go out there as much as I can,” West said.

He said he’s in touch with Alabama, but nothing is changing his mind about Stanford.

“I stay in contact with them a little bit, but at the end of the day, I’m going to Stanford University and that’s my place,” West said.

West earned several offers before he started a varsity game. Now, he’s going into his third year as a starter for Saraland.

“No. 1, to grow as a leader and grow to get to know the game even better,” West said of his senior season goals. “Going out to Stanford, they have so many different things they put on a quarterback. It’s really just developing my game.”

Stanford commit, Saraland QB Jack West on the money @BenThomasPreps pic.twitter.com/42vaAe47W4

— Drew Champlin (@DrewChamplin) March 19, 2017

More from The Opening Regional in New Orleans

The following players earned invites to The Opening in Beaverton, Ore.

* Kelvin Joseph, a four-star cornerback from Baton Rouge, La. He is committed to LSU, but there is mutual Alabama interest.

* Corione Harris, a four-star cornerback from New Orleans. He is committed to Kansas.

* Micah Baskerville, a three-star linebacker from Shreveport, La., who is committed to LSU.

* Terrace Marshall, a five-star receiver from Bossier City, La. He is the top prospect in Louisiana.Here’s why he isn’t considering Alabama right now.

Alabama defensive end commit Jordan Davis from Memphis and Mobile Christian defensive end Andres Fox, an Alabama and Auburn target, each made the Final 5 defensive linemen.

More players from this regional, which featured recruits from Alabama, Louisiana, the Florida panhandle and other nearby states, will eventually get invited to The Opening finals.

Some other notes, which will lead to more stories throughout this week. AL.com will be at the Atlanta Opening Regional next Sunday.

** Read why Theodore DL Timaje Porterwon’t make his commitment this Friday between Auburn and LSU

** Murphy QB Maurice Robinson was throwing with the top group of quarterbacks at the event, though many schools want him as an athlete, including Alabama. He is set on playing quarterback, though.

** New Orleans, La., four-star receiver Devonta Jason is committed to Kansas. He said Auburn has tailed off a bit in his recruitment.

** The receiver group was strong here and I expect more Opening invites to come, including with four-star Jacob Copeland from Pensacola. He likes Auburn a lot. Alabama isn’t in the picture right now. Jason looked the part. Malik Heath is an Alabama target. Metairie, La., three-star JaMarr Chase also was impressive. He said he speaks to Kodi Burns at Auburn from time to time, and Burns really wants to get him on campus. If he comes to campus, his recruitment by Auburn could intensify.

** I thought for sure Alabama DE commit Jordan Davis would earn an Opening Invite. There’s a good chance he will. He was being coached on how he needs to be more consistent afterwards, but he looks the part. He’s very solid to Alabama but visited LSU this weekend.

Alabama commit Jordan Davis pic.twitter.com/G7AgqMQp3D

— Drew Champlin (@DrewChamplin) March 19, 2017

** Spoke with New Orleans three-star safety Joseph Foucha. He’s excited about his recent Alabama offer and how Auburn was one of the first schools to offer him. More on him this week.

** The combine had some 400 participants there. Plenty of under-the-radar guys stand out. One such was Carver-Birmingham receiver Cameron McKinney. He’s 6-foot-3 and 185 pound receiver who looks the part. He plays it for most of the time. He wasn’t perfect on the day, dropping a red zone pass in the end zone, but he showed some glimpses. Someone close to him told me they believe he’s a Power 5 guy but doesn’t have much exposure yet.

Check out the film.Army and Arkansas State have offered. Here’s one catch he made.

Carver Birmingham wr Cameron Mckinney looking good at New Orleans regional @mckinneycam9 pic.twitter.com/UDmjEjgusT

— Drew Champlin (@DrewChamplin) March 19, 2017

Auburn’s John Franklin III embraces wide receiver role in spring break videos

Franklin accounted for 634 total yards and four touchdowns last season

John Franklin III made a part-time move from quarterback to wide receiverthis spring and it appears he’s embraced the change.

The Tigers havebeen on spring break for the past week, butFranklin has been hard at work. Over the last few days, the rising senior posted a series of videos on social media that show him doing a variety of wide receiver drills.

Franklin played inall 13 of Auburn’s games last season and accounted for 634 total yards (430 rushing, 204 passing)and four touchdowns.

“John is a great athlete,” sophomorereceiver Nate Craig-Myers said earlier this month. “I think at receiver, that’ll be a nice way to get him out into the field. You give him the ball, he can make a guy miss. … He’s probably one of the fastest guys on the team.”

Check out the videos below and stay tuned to AL.com as spring practices resume Tuesday.

A little fun in the [?] to end off my Spring Grind [?] [?] #Slash2.0 [?] #AintNoSpringBreak
@theefitfactory @trainingmask pic.twitter.com/iNCEAdaycv

— John Franklin III (@jf3_5) March 19, 2017

Yea I’m BOTH!!! #Slash2.0 [?] @BozemanFootball pic.twitter.com/InmcuNIjyw

— John Franklin III (@jf3_5) March 17, 2017
//

// ]]>

They put in @KSlash10 for the win!!! Now it’s time for J5 to get live!!! #Slash2.0[?] pic.twitter.com/4coMil8PqH

— John Franklin III (@jf3_5) March 16, 2017

Auburn’s John Franklin III embraces wide receiver role in spring break videos

Franklin accounted for 634 total yards and four touchdowns last season

Walk-off error gives Auburn first series sweep of Florida since 1987

Jonah Todd’s bunt was supposed to put runners on second and third with less than two outs in a tie game.

Despite key absences, Auburn’s young receiver group ‘really improving’ in crucial spring camp – SECcountry.com

SECcountry.com
Despite key absences, Auburn's young receiver group 'really improving' in crucial spring camp
SECcountry.com
AUBURN, Ala. — New Auburn football offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey says he doesn't want to single out his young wide receivers for individual praise. What he can say, though, is that the overall group is taking some much-needed steps forward this…

and more

Why Auburn, LSU in-state defensive line target Timaje Porter pushed back commitment date

Timaje Porter won't announce his commitment on Friday

Theodoredefensive tackle Timaje Porterwon’t say if he would have committed to Auburn or LSU on March 24, but his visit to LSU on Saturday definitely gave him more to think about.

The 6-foot-2, 340-pound Porter, a three-star recruit per the 247Sports composite rankings, announced late Saturday night that he was pushing back his commitment date to a date to be determined.

“I thought I had my mind made up, but I had a good visit to LSU,” Porter said Sunday at the New Orleans Opening Regional. “I’m going to sit down and talk to my parents more about it. I just feel like it would be better to wait instead of rush through it.

“I know I said it would be better to get it done and focus on my team, but now I need to focus on what’s best for me. It’ll be soon, but it won’t be as soon as I thought it would be.”

Porter, who is going into his third season as a starter for the Bobcats, is hoping to make trips again to LSU and Auburn. He said other schools like Mississippi State, Southern Miss and South Alabama are trying to get in the mix, but he will choose between Auburn and LSU.

“That visit went well,” Porter said of Saturday’s Junior Day trip to LSU. “I talked to (defensive line) Coach (Pete) Jenkins and he said it would be nice to have me out there again. I’ll definitely go to another practice and get some 1-on-1 time with him and Coach Orgeron. I also want to try and make another visit to the Plains.”

Auburn has long been one of the top schools for Porter.

“There’s nothing I don’t like about Auburn,” Porter said. “I love everything about it. The brotherhood, the coaches and players love each other and put real time in investing what they want to get accomplished out there.”

Porter has spent the offseason working on his conditioning. He said his weight is where it started, but he dropped the bad weight.

Porter ran a 5.6 in the 40-yard dash during Opening testing on Sunday, better than the 6.2 he was used to running. While his teammates did weight work in January and February, he was running to shed the weight. After that, he improved his bench press to 350 pounds and added good weight.

Porter still plans to commitin the next few months.

“It’ll get done before the start of my senior season,” Porter sai. “It’ll get done after spring ball or maybe during spring ball. Whenever I feel it and whenever God tells me it’s the right time to commit, that’s when I’ll do it.”

Why Auburn, LSU in-state defensive line target Timaje Porter pushed back commitment date

Timaje Porter won’t announce his commitment on Friday

Auburn softball caps perfect weekend with win over LIU

CLEARWATER, Fla. — The No. 4 Auburn softball team used six extra-base hits to key a 9-4 victory against LIU Brooklyn Sunday morning. The Tigers (27-3) capped off a perfect weekend on the field, winning all five of their contests.

Auburn receiver Nate Craig-Myers’ goal this spring after ‘frustrating’ freshman season

Nate Craig-Myers hopes to be a go-to receiver for Auburn after a “frustrating” freshman year that featured an array of minor injuries.

Auburn receiver Nate Craig-Myers’ goal this spring after ‘frustrating’ freshman season

Nate Craig-Myers hopes to be a go-to receiver for Auburn after a “frustrating” freshman year that featured an array of minor injuries.

Watch video

Nate Craig-Myers’ freshman year on the Plains wasn’t what he expected it to be, but he’s hoping Year 2 will make up for it.

The 6-foot-2, 208-pound receiver arrived at Auburn last summer with plenty of expectations after signing with the Tigers as a four-star prospect and the No. 6 wide receiver in the nation. He was the gem of a vastly talented corps of receivers who signed with the Tigers in 2016 — but that did not equate to the type of success Craig-Myers envisioned for himself as a freshman.

“Sometimes you get lost,” Craig-Myers said. “It was just being a freshman. I feel like this year is better.”

Craig-Myers finished his freshman year with just four receptions for 70 yards and a touchdown. He was 10th on the team in receiving, in both yards and receptions, and he appeared in just 10 games with one start (against Ole Miss) while battling an array of undisclosed minor injuries throughout the year.

“It was very frustrating feeling good one minute and then you get nicked and bruised,” Craig-Myers said. “Then you feel like you’re not your normal self. It was frustrating definitely.”

Craig-Myers hopes to leave those frustrations behind him as he enters his sophomore season at Auburn. Two weeks into spring practice, the Dade City, Fla., native said he feels “100 percent, with no nicks and bruises” as he competes for a starting job at wide receiver in offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey’s offense.

Who will Auburn turn to for leadership at wide receiver in 2017?

Craig-Myers has worked with the first-team offense at split-end through the first five practices, making the most of his opportunity at that position with Kyle Davis and Darius Slayton out of the picture early this spring. Davis, who is expected to play split-end or the big slot receiver, has been handling “personal business” and is expected to return this week, while Slayton, the team’s leading returning receiver, has been sidelined while recovering from hernia surgeryearlier this spring.

“I feel like I know the game now,” Craig-Myers said. “Coming in, coming from high school to college, the transition can be different. I feel like having a year under my belt now I can get up to speed and play.”

In order to do that, first he wants to build a strong rapport with the Tigers’ quarterbacks so that he’s on the same page with whichever one eventually earns the starting job, whether it be Sean White, Jarrett Stidham, Woody Barrett or Malik Willis. Once they’re clicking, Craig-Myers said, the passing game “will be big-time” — especially as Lindsey looks to expand the passing offense and the receivers’ route trees.

What changes should Auburn expect on offense under offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey?

“That’s every receiver’s dream,” Craig-Myers said of Lindsey’s system. “Your eyes light up. We’re a run team so when you hear the ball’s coming to the outside, the perimeter, it feels good because now we feel like we can make plays.”

Above it all, though, the rising sophomore receiver has one major goal in mind this spring so that he avoids a sophomore campaign similar to his frustrating freshman one.

“Just come every day at practice and make myself better, and then making my teammates better,” Craig-Myers said. “Coming out developing, that’s the biggest thing. Did I develop and be the receiver that I need to be going to the end of spring?”

5 home-and-home series Auburn should schedule – 247Sports

247Sports
5 home-and-home series Auburn should schedule
247Sports
This won't take into account the current state of any of the programs, as none of these potential series would come to fruition for at least eight years. Obviously, a lot can change in the college football landscape in that span. Instead, this list …
Carlson Tosses Perfect Game, Cooper Reaches Career Milestone in Saturday VictoriesAuburn Tigers Official Athletic Site
Kaylee Carlson throws perfect game as No. 4 Auburn softball sweeps Illinois and Ohio StateSECcountry.com

all 8 news articles

Chip Lindsey has ‘a lot of autonomy’ as Auburn’s offensive coordinator

Gus Malzahn has responded to nearly every question about Auburn’s quarterbacks this spring with a similar answer

Alabama Roots: Who got how much in NFL free agency

Since NFL free agency opened on March 9, nearly 200 players have gotten new contracts, including 16 from Alabama high schools and colleges, in the so-called “first wave” of signings. Here's a look at the deals signed by the state's free agents.

Alabama Roots: Who got how much in NFL free agency

Since NFL free agency opened on March 9, nearly 200 players have gotten new contracts, including 16 from Alabama high schools and colleges, in the so-called “first wave” of signings. Here’s a look at the deals signed by the state’s free agents.

Auburn gymnastics records season-high score, finishes 6th at SEC Championship

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The No. 21 Auburn gymnastics team put together its best performance of the season, finishing sixth at the 2017 SEC Championship with a season-best score of 196.550 Saturday in the Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla.

Kaylee Carlson throws 2nd perfect game in program history as Auburn sweeps doubleheader

CLEARWATER, Fla. – Kaylee Carlson threw the second perfect game in program history, while Kasey Cooper became the second SEC player all-time to amass 250 hits and 250 RBI in a career as Auburn defeated Illinois, 6-2, and Ohio State,…

Auburn wins tight contest with No. 5 Florida, clinches first SEC series of the season

Auburn won two of the 10 SEC series it played in 2016.

Approval rating for Auburn football coach Gus Malzahn: You decide – SECcountry.com

SECcountry.com
Approval rating for Auburn football coach Gus Malzahn: You decide
SECcountry.com
Heading into his fifth season, Gus Malzahn needs to have a strong year. And he might have the talent to do just that. After a run to the national championship game in his first season, the program has plateaued under Malzahn, as the Tigers have gone 15 …

Derrick Brown’s ‘rare’ versatility will be key for Auburn’s defensive line

At 6-foot-5, 317 pounds, Auburn sophomore Derrick Brown is poised to start at defensive tackle in 2017, but his versatility gives the Tigers' defense flexibility up front.

Watch video

When it comes to Derrick Brown, there’s not much the Auburn sophomore defensive lineman could do that would surprise defensive coordinator Kevin Steele.

It speaks to the versatility of the 6-foot-5, 317-pound former five-star prospect.

“He can play the six technique,” Steele said. “He can play the three technique. He can play the nose. He could probably play right guard, right tackle, maybe center, if he can snap it.”

It’s probably safe to say fans won’t see Brown working with the offensive line any time soon, but the rising sophomore is expected to be a key cog on the defensive line in 2017 as Auburn tries to replace the experience and production of Montravius Adams at defensive tackle.

Brown, who appeared in all 13 games as a freshman in 2016, will be the first to step up into that spot and try to fill that void for the Tigers. Through the first two weeks of spring practice, Brown has been receiving the bulk of the work with the first-team defensive line at defensive tackle, lining up between fellow tackle Dontavius Russell and Buck defensive end Jeff Holland.

“Derrick is a big, physical guy,” linebacker Deshaun Davis said. “He’s still getting his feet wet being with the ones and working with the ones, but when you’re with the starting group a lot is expected of you. A lot is expected of you on the defensive side of the ball anyway, but when you’re with the ones you really have to be on you’re A-game.”

Up close and personal with Auburn’s new defensive line

Auburn will look for Brown to build upon the foundation he set down during his freshman campaign. Last year, Brown played in all 13 of Auburn’s games as a reserve along the Tigers’ deep defensive line. He recorded 11 total tackles, including two for a loss and 1.5 sacks, while seeing time at both defensive tackle and defensive end, where he often lined up against — and held a significant size advantage against — blocking tight ends.

“He’s a real long guy and he’s stronger than he really looks,” Davis said. “When he grabs hold of you there’s not too much you’re really going to do with him…. When you see him, you think he’s about 290, but he’s not moving.”

While Brown will mostly play defensive tackle as a sophomore, his versatility along the line gives Steele and defensive line coach Rodney Garner flexibility to be creative in their approach to game-planning.

It’s something that Steele, who is entering his 37th season as an assistant coach, said is quite “rare” to come across — especially for a player of Brown’s rather imposing stature. It’s also a trait Brown shares with his predecessor, Adams, who saw time at both tackle and end during his Auburn career.

Derrick Brown ‘a mouthful’ when moved to defensive end

“It’s a key piece, because he’s a very, very talented young man,” Steele said. “Very athletic. He’s smart. He’s got a tremendous amount of pride and work ethic. When you can command double teams inside, when you can play a zero or head up two-gap guys, that’s a rare — that’s talked about often — but there’s a rare people who can do that every day.

“But then the other thing that’s kind of fun to watch is you put him at six technique and he lines up on a tight end and you see a little different expression. ‘Woah.'”

If Brown can step in and be a difference-maker up front, it will help ease the blow from the loss of Adams as well as help the defense pick up where it left off after a resounding turnaround in 2016. Part of that, of course, is building off the success the defensive line had last year when it helped contribute to the team’s 86 quarterback hurries, 25 sacks and 83 tackles for a loss — all of which were the Tigers’ most since 2013.

That couldhelp the defensive line not only avoid a significant drop-off in production, but rather take another step forward in Year 2 under Steele and have residual effects on the rest of the defense.

“He makes my job easier,” Davis said. “Every time you see me get a tackle you’re going to see me pat him and Dontavius and all of them because they make our job a lot easier.”

Derrick Brown’s ‘rare’ versatility will be key for Auburn’s defensive line

At 6-foot-5, 317 pounds, Auburn sophomore Derrick Brown is poised to start at defensive tackle in 2017, but his versatility gives the Tigers’ defense flexibility up front.

Alabama, Auburn, in-state targets to watch at New Orleans Opening Regional

Top recruits going to The Opening Regional in New Orleans

AL.com is on hand this weekend in New Orleans for The Opening’s area regional. Nike Football puts on regionals all over the country and selects the best players who participate for this summer’s Elite 11 and Opening Finals in Beaverton, Ore.

Why is this important? Why should you care? It’s a chance for people who write about recruits or assign star ratings to see them in person against mostly equal competition. It’s also a better chance to talk to the recruits and see where they stand in terms of picking a school.

Here are some Alabama, Auburn and in-state targets we’ll be looking out for on Sunday.

Maurice Robinson, QB, Murphy – Alabama offered Robinson as an athlete, but he’ll be throwing here.

Jack West, QB, Saraland – Alabama and Auburn each offered West before he started a varsity game, but he committed to Stanford before his junior year.

Lawrence Keys III, WR, New Orleans – The 5-foot-11, four-star receiver has offers from Alabama and Auburn

Jacob Copeland, WR, Pensacola, Fla. – The four-star receiver is one ofthe most highly-touted recruitshere, and he’s also high on Alabama and Auburn. He has a great relationship with AU receivers coach Kodi Burns.

Trey Sanders, RB, Port St. Joe, Fla. (IMG Academy) – The 2019 running back has been committed to Alabama for around a year and he’s on the roster for this event.

Malik Heath, WR, Jackson, Miss. – The four-star receiver is committed to Mississippi State, but has an Alabama offer.

Terrance Marshall, WR, Bossier City – The elite receiver has Alabama and Auburn offers and plays for the schoolwhich fired its coach after he said Nick Saban wasn’t welcome on his campus anymore.

Devonta Jason, WR, New Orleans – The physical four-star receiver is committed to Kansas, but has Alabama and Auburn offers

Kelvin Joseph, DB, Baton Rouge, La. – The cornerback is pushing five-star status and is high on Alabama even though he is committed to LSU.

Andres Fox, DL, Mobile Christian – The 6-foot-5 Fox has earned offers from powerhouses all over the country this spring, including Alabama and Auburn.

Timaje Porter, DL, Theodore -Porter is set to commit to Auburn or LSU soon.

Jordan Davis, DL, Memphis – The 6-foot-6 end committed to Alabama last December.

Dare Rosenthal, DL, Ferriday, La. – The 6-foot-6 Rosenthal told us last spring at this event that he was wavering on his Alabama commitment, and he soon decommitted. He’s still on Alabama’s radar, though.

Ishmael Sopsher, DL, Amite, La. – Sopsher is one of the top recruits in the 2019 class and he’s a teammate of Alabama signee DeVonta Smith.

This is not a complete list of prospects, and AL.com will certainly be monitoring and writing about others at the event. Stay tuned for coverage.

Alabama, Auburn, in-state targets to watch at New Orleans Opening Regional

Top recruits going to The Opening Regional in New Orleans

Auburn kicks off SEC play with 14-3 shellacking of No. 5 Florida

Friday’s SEC opener between Auburn and Florida was billed as a game where one run either way could decide the outcome.

Montravius Adams believes he has helped NFL Draft stock since end of Auburn career

Montravius Adams has been telling his mother, Debbie Young, since he was 7 years old that he would one day play in the NFL. The former Auburn defensive tackle is just a few months away from proving himself correct.

Auburn’s Darius James working on ‘being a dominator’

James started at left tackle for the final eight games of Auburn’s 2016 season

Auburn’s Darius James working on ‘being a dominator’

James started at left tackle for the final eight games of Auburn's 2016 season

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Around this time last year, Darius James was having a tough time keeping up during Auburn’s spring practices.

The offensive lineman had just sat out the 2015 season after transferring to Auburn from Texas and wasfighting for reps, but often found himself to be worn out.

“I was barely making it through workouts,” James told reporters earlier this month. “Really struggling.”

When Auburn’s 2016 season opener against Clemson came around, James was coming off the bench. However, a key injury eventually allowed him to move up the depth chart by October.

Starting center Xavier Dampeer got hurt against LSU in Week 4, so Auburn moved left tackle Austin Golson to center and gave James the starting nod at left tackle. James impressed in his first start against ULM and remained the starter for the final eight games of the year.

Now, James has a new approach to the offseason.

“I took it upon myself to do a little extra running, do some more core and really hone in and try to be a top player here, and not just somebody in the middle of the pack,” he said. “It’s already helped me a lot because I’m not as blowed out there, I’m not really tired. Now that I know my position, I know what I’m supposed to be doing. I have a clear mind out there and I’m able to do stuff that I couldn’t do last year.”

The 6-foot-4, 327-pound junior from Killeen, Texas, has been working at left tackle during Auburn’s first five practices. He feels comfortable enough to play anywhere along the line and could potentially move to guard if redshirt sophomore Prince Tega Wanogho Jr. continues to impress.

Wanogho pushing for starting job

“I’m working on consistency and really being a dominator at my position and not just being a role player and really trying to be a leader on my team,” James said. “I’d rather play any of the positions on the o-line. I feel like I can snap the ball. I feel like I can play guard. I’ve played both tackles, so.”

James said his team is adapting well to new offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey while offensive line coach Herb Hand is pushing the unit “a little bit harder.”

“He yells a lot more because he expects more of us,” James said of Hand. “We’ve been under him for so long, but we welcome Coach Hand with loving arms. We were ready to listen to him because he knew what he was talking about. He explained to us why we needed to do what we’re doing. He’s a real unit person, so he likes the whole unit to get better.”

Auburn’s offensive line led the way for 271.3 rushing yards per game last season, a number that ranked first in the SEC and sixth nationally behind New Mexico, Army, Air Force, Navy and South Florida.

Departing guard Alex Kozan, who is preparing for the NFL Draft next month, believes Auburn’s unit is in good shape with James returning.

Shot at NFL means ‘everything’ to Kozan

“He’s got all the physical ability ability in the world,” Kozan said when asked about James at Auburn’s pro day last week. “For him to just be eating right, living right and just studying tape, that will be much as anything he can do in the weight room. So I think Darius James is going to take another step forward in his second year as a starter.”

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Brandon King goes beyond goal of playing in SEC to earn Super Bowl ring

New England Patriots safety Brandon King came home on Thursday as a Super Bowl champion. Pretty good for a player who never started a game in two seasons at Auburn.

New England Patriots safety Brandon King came home on Thursday as a Super Bowl champion. Pretty good for a player who never started a game in two seasons at Auburn.

Thompson High School in Alabaster welcomed King back on Thursday, when Mayor Marty Handlon read a proclamation honoring the former Warriors’ standout and King addressed students in the school gymnasium.

New England Patriot & THS Alum Brandon King comes back to visit his alma mater! #WarriorFamily #WarriorExcellence pic.twitter.com/w67KZqZbpm

— THS TV (@THSNewsTV) March 16, 2017

King capped his second season with the Patriots with a Super Bowl victory. New England defeated the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime in the NFL championship game on Feb. 5.

Walking off the field in the season’s final game as a Super Bowl champion wasn’t King’s ultimate goal, though, when he was playing at Thompson.

“Back then, my ultimate goal was to play in the SEC,” King told Neal Wagner of the Shelby County Reporter. “Growing up in Alabama, that’s like the ultimate goal. Honestly, I never imagined I would make it to the (NFL) or get a Super Bowl ring.”

READ NEAL WAGNER’S “HOMETOWN CHAMPION: THS WELCOMES SUPER BOWL-WINNING ALUMNI”

After two years at Highland Community College in Kansas made it to the SEC at Auburn and played on an league-championship team in 2013, when the Tigers went to the BCS national-championship game.

But King stayed a backup at Auburn, playing behind another future NFL’er, Robenson Therezie, in the secondary as well as helping out at defensive end. King made 19 tackles during his Auburn career.

King joined the Patriots at a tryout player at their rookie minicamp in May 2015 and showed enough to stick around. He made it through the offseason program, training camp and preseason to land a spot on the New England practice squad.

On Oct. 10, 2015, the Patriots put King on the active roster. He’s played in every New England game since.

But King has never played with the Patriots’ defense. His contributions have come on special teams. In 29 regular-seaosn and five playoff games, King has been on the field for 668 plays – all on special teams.

Although it hasn’t been announced by New England, reporters covering the Patriots deduced the NFL team has moved to make sure King is back for the 2017 season.

King was an exclusive-rights free agent entering the offseason, but when he didn’t appear on the league’s list of free agents when the NFL’s 2017 business year started on March 9, that meant the Patriots had tendered him for next season.

In addition to be hailed a hero at home, King also has found some fun as a Super Bowl celebrity.

Earlier this month, King served as the grand marshal for the annual Cape Cod St. Patrick’s Day Parade, following in the shamrocks of former Boston Bruins stars Bobby Orr, Terry O’Reilly and Derek Sanderson and ex-Boston Mayor Raymond Flynn, among others.

The annual #CapeCod St. Pattys Parade has ended! @Patriots safety, Brandon King & @yarmouthpolice showed their spirit! Rt 28 is now open. pic.twitter.com/DE02daAuCh

— WHDH Assignment Desk (@deskon7) March 4, 2017

Brandon King goes beyond goal of playing in SEC to earn Super Bowl ring

New England Patriots safety Brandon King came home on Thursday as a Super Bowl champion. Pretty good for a player who never started a game in two seasons at Auburn.

Injured Auburn defensive back ‘looks better now,’ awaits return during fall camp

Jayvaughn Myers tore his ACL in October and has been sidelined during spring practice.

Jayvaughn Myers won’t be cleared to practice until Auburn opens fall camp, but the redshirt freshman continues to progress in his recovery from a torn ACL.

Myers sustained the injury back in October, just five games into his freshman campaign, and underwent season-ending surgery on Oct. 6 to repair the torn ligament. The 6-foot-1, 188-pounder played did not record a stat last season, though he nearly had an interception against Arkansas State early in the season.

Although he played sparingly when healthy, the season-ending injury was still difficult for Myers to swallow.

“I think it kind of took a toll on him, but I feel like he’s ready to come out during fall camp,” said receiver Nate Craig-Myers, who is Myers’ half-brother. “I feel like he’s getting ready and he looks better now.”

Myers was not cleared for the start of spring practice, and coach Gus Malzahn said the rangy cornerback will not participate at any point this spring. Myers and cornerback Jamel Dean are both expected to return in the fall and provide more depth in the Tigers’ secondary.

Though the injury has been tough on Myers, the presence of his half-brother has provided him with some comfort and a nearby support system during the recovery process. The two arrived at Auburn last summer after signing with the Tigers on National Signing Day last year.

“During the injury, I tried to encourage him, talk to him,” Craig-Myers said. “I feel like he has the right mindset now. I feel like he’s ready to go.”

Injured Auburn defensive back ‘looks better now,’ awaits return during fall camp

Jayvaughn Myers tore his ACL in October and has been sidelined during spring practice.

AL.com All-Access: Which SEC West team has the best quarterback situation?

A wave of transfers has left the league — particularly the SEC West — with only a handful of experienced upperclassmen at quarterback.

AL.com All-Access: Which SEC West team has the best quarterback situation?

A wave of transfers has left the league — particularly the SEC West — with only a handful of experienced upperclassmen at quarterback.

This is not a particularly strong epoch for SEC quarterbacks.

We’ve seen several true freshmen win starting quarterback jobs in the league in the last couple of years, only partly because they were too talented to keep off the field. Largely, it’s been because the quarterbacks already on campus were not all that special.

A wave of transfers has left the league –particularly the SEC West –with only a handful of experienced upperclassmen at quarterback. So as we sit in the middle of the spring of 2017, which SEC West team has the best situation at the game’s most-important position?

I’ve ranked them 1-thru-7, considering the ability of a team’s starter equally with the quality of its depth at the position:

1. Auburn (Jarrett Stidham, Sean White, Woody Barrett): The Tigers are the only team in the division that has two quarterbacks who have started multiple games in the SEC. Stidham has the chance to be among the league’s best, while White has proven to be adequate-to-good when healthy.

2. Alabama (Jalen Hurts, Tua Tagovailoa, Mac Jones): Hurts is the reigning SEC Player of the Year, but his trouble throwing the ball downfield late last season is well-documented. Tagovailoa and Jones might be future SEC stars, but then they might be Blake Barnett and Cooper Bateman.

3. Arkansas (Austin Allen, Ty Storey, Cole Kelley): Allen is likely the best pure passer among the returning quarterbacks in the SEC West. But he also took a beating last year behind a subpar offensive line. Neither of the two players behind him have taken a snap in a game that counts.

4. Mississippi State (Nick Fitzgerald, Keytaon Thompson, Logan Burnett): Fitzgerald might be the most dynamic quarterback in the league, the worthy successor to Dak Prescott. However, all the scholarship QBs behind him transferred, leaving a true freshman and a walk-on as back-ups.

5. Ole Miss (Shea Patterson, Jason Pellerin, Jordan Ta’amu): After Chad Kelly was lost for the season due to injury, Patterson showed flashes of brilliance late in the year on a Rebels team that was going nowhere. Pellerin took a few snaps after Kelly was injured, while Ta’amu is a JuCo transfer.

6. LSU –Danny Etling, Justin McMillan, Lowell Narcisse: Etling is the very definition of serviceable, but isn’t going to push a team toward a championship. Brandon Harris’ departure as a graduate transfer leaves a large group of redshirt and true freshmen, with Narcisse or fellow freshman Myles Brennan likely the future at the position.

7. Texas A&M –Jake Hubenak, Kellen Mond, Nick Starkel: Hubenak has filled in off and on for the Aggies the last two years, but isn’t going to leave anyone with memories of Johnny Manziel. Mond and Starkel are true freshmen, though it’s not outside the realm of possibility that one will win the starting job.

What do you think of this list? Who would you put at the top?

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

‘Violent and fast’ Daren Bates knows ‘you have to be a little off’ to excel on NFL special teams

Former Auburn linebacker Daren Bates has the qualities the Tennessee Titans were looking for to beef up their special teams.

Linebacker Daren Bates has what Tennessee general manager Jon Robinson wanted to improve the Titans’ special teams.

“Bates is violent and fast,” Robinson said.”He really takes pride in being a factor on special teams. I like his intensity, like his instincts and his reckless abandon to throw himself in there to make a play.”

The former Auburnstandout liked what he heard from Tennessee general manager, too.

“I like to hear people say: ‘He’s tough. He has attitude. He plays aggressive. He has his teammates back,'” Bates said. “What Jon Robinson said about me and how he likes the way I play, it makes me smile. For other people to see what I am doing, it makes me excited. Hopefully, I can get Titans fans to feed off of me and my energy and what I bring to the team.”

Robinson brought the free agent to the Titans for a three-year, $6 million contractthat included a $500,000 signing bonus and $1 million in guaranteed money.

Bates started his Auburn career as a safety. After moving to linebacker, he led the Tigers in tackles in 2011 and 2012. But Bates has made his way in the NFL as a special-teams specialist since earning a spot on the St. Louis Rams as an undrafted rookie in 2013. After three seasons with the Rams, Bates played last season for the Oakland Raiders.

In his NFL career, Bates has played 64 defensive snaps and 1,343 special-teams plays. Last season, Bates was on the field for 397 special-teams plays, the second-most in the NFL. Los Angeles Rams linebacker Chase Reynolds played one more than Bates.

“To me, you have to be a little off,” Bates saidabout playing special teams. “You can’t be sensitive; you have to be violent. You have to be a different type player. You have to have a defensive player’s mindset, but just a little more off. I call it being crazy. You have to play with reckless abandon and be violent.”

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Among the NFL’s 32 teams in 2016, the Titans ranked 18th in kickoff coverage, 26th in punt coverage, 20th in kickoff returns and 26th in punt returns. Tennessee gave up two touchdowns on punt returns last season.

Bates wasn’t the only free agent signed by Tennessee with an eye toward improving those rankings. The Titans signedformer Troy standout Brynden Trawick, who was a teammate of Bates’ last season in Oakland, and Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Eric Weems.

“Obviously, they wanted a better core than they had in previous years, adding three of the top guys in the league from last year,” Trawick said. “It’s definitely going to be an improvement, and it’s definitely going to be fun to watch.”

In his four NFL seasons, Trawick has played 190 defensive snaps and 1,206 special-teams plays. Last year, he ranked second to Bates on the Raiders in special-teams action with 320 plays.

Trawick ranked among the NFL’s leaders in special-teams tackles with 15 in 2016.

“You follow him around, you’re going to find yourself at the ball,” Bates saidof Trawick.

‘Violent and fast’ Daren Bates knows ‘you have to be a little off’ to excel on NFL special teams

Former Auburn linebacker Daren Bates has the qualities the Tennessee Titans were looking for to beef up their special teams.

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