The Countdown to Kickoff: The SEC’s best No. 75

There are 75 days until the first Saturday of the SEC football season, and the No. 1 75 in SEC football history is Alabama offensive lineman Barrett Jones.

Could Auburn Football be a Contender for the Playoffs in 2018?

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It’s that time of the year, the beginning of conversations about the upcoming college football season. Last Thursday the SEC Network broadcast an interview with Auburn’s presumed starting quarterback, Jarrett Stidham in which the former Baylor quarterback seemed to be high on the Tigers’ chances in the SEC.

He told interviewer Tom Luginbill, “All the pieces of the puzzle are there. I think it’s just a matter of time of getting everybody on the same page and the ultimate goal is to win the SEC. Like I said, everything after that takes care of itself.”

While a quarterback being excited about his team’s prospects is to be expected, the pundits and polls seem to agree with the former Baylor standout’s optimism. ESPN and Athlon both have the Tigers ranked in the preseason at No. 8 in the country.

And a few days ago, noted prognosticator, Phil Steele even said the Tigers could be one of the teams to make the College Football Playoffs. His magazine is the most respected of the preseason dossiers. It doesn’t hit the stands for another week, but his on line version says Auburn should win at least 9 to 10 games in 2018 and maybe more.

Steele says the Tigers biggest flaw last year was at the signal caller position, a problem he expects Stidham to fix. However, his enthusiasm for the Tigers this year is based as much in confidence of the Tigers’ offensive line as with Stidham’s ability. Phil says the O-Line will be one of the most veteran units in the country while the Tiger D should be just as stout as last season.

Although Steele projects Auburn to ultimately finish second in the SEC West behind Alabama, he nevertheless sees a path to the playoffs if the Tigers can get by Clemson. “They can slip up against LSU,” Steele said. [But] if they beat Alabama, they can get there. They are one of the more experienced teams in the SEC.”

So here we go again, more pre season high expectations for another Auburn football season.

The post Could Auburn Football be a Contender for the Playoffs in 2018? appeared first on Track 'Em Tigers, Auburn's oldest and most read independent blog.

Auburn, Alabama make top 5 for state’s No. 1 recruit, Justyn Ross

Five-star receiver Justyn Ross released his top five schools on Sunday night.

Five-star receiver Justyn Ross took a step closer to making a college decision on Sunday night, and both Auburn and Alabama made the cut.

Ross, the state’s No. 1 recruit in the 2018 class and the nation’s fifth-best receiver, released a list of his top-five schools at 7 p.m. CT. Along with Alabama and Auburn, the Central-Phenix City prospect has Clemson, Florida and Florida State rounding out his top college choices.

At 6-foot-4 and 197 pounds, Ross is a dynamic downfield threat in the passing game. His high school coach, Jamey DuBose, compared him to former Alabama star and current Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones. Last season for the Red Devils, the then-junior hauled in 38 passes for 663 yards and eight touchdowns while often drawing double teams. He earned ASWA Class 7A All-State first-team honors and will be an Under Armour All-American this season.

Why recent visits to Auburn and Alabama have more meaning for elite WR Justyn Ross

Ross has made visits to Auburn, Alabama and Clemson this month. He was on the Plains for Big Cat Weekend earlier this month and brought his mother, Charay Franklin, along with him after she recently returned from a tour of duty overseas with the U.S. National Guard. Franklin also joined her son when he made a trip to Tuscaloosa that same weekend for a camp on Alabama’s campus.

Last week, Ross took an unofficial visit to Clemson.

RELATED:Auburn aiming for “special” class at receiver in 2018

While Ross is unlikely to make a commitment until after his senior season, he remains a high priority for both in-state programs. The five-star receiver also has ties to both schools, with former teammates on the roster at Auburn and Alabama. Former Central defensive back John Broussard is a sophomore for the Tigers, while former Red Devils linebacker Markail Benton signed with Alabama in February as part of its 2017 signing class.

God got me . [?] [?] Top 5 [?] pic.twitter.com/hcD5muqWg9

— Justyn Ross . [?] [?] (@_Jross5) June 19, 2017

Auburn, Alabama make top 5 for state’s No. 1 recruit, Justyn Ross

Five-star receiver Justyn Ross released his top five schools on Sunday night.

Central High WR Justyn Ross lists Auburn, Alabama among top 5 schools

The top-ranked recruit in Alabama is closely considering the state’s two biggest universities.

‘Best in Class’ — Auburn’s War Eagle Productions Leading in Live – Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site

Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site
'Best in Class' — Auburn's War Eagle Productions Leading in Live
Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site
Last month, War Eagle Productions, Auburn Athletics' video production program, won its second-straight best live game production award, given annually by the Sports Video Group. Three years ago, however, War Eagle Productions had yet to be created.

Auburn offers in-state, 6-foot-6 TE Michael Parker

Parker is a 2018 standout at Westminster Christian in Huntsville.

Auburn offers in-state, 6-foot-6 TE Michael Parker

Parker is a 2018 standout at Westminster Christian in Huntsville.

Westminster Christian 2018, 6-foot-6 tight end Michael Parker tweeted Saturday night that he has received an offer from Auburn.

The Tigers are the first SEC team to offer the 230-pound Parker, who is the brother of Alabama senior walk-on tight end Jacob Parker.

RELATED:6-foot-6 tight end intrigues recruiters

Michael’s other offers include Purdue, Troy, South Alabama, South Florida, Central Florida and Southern Miss.

Parker caught 35 passes for 561 yards – an average of 16 yards per catch – and five touchdowns last season.

“They like his speed and they kind of flirt with the idea of him being a guy who can split out and line up tight,” Westminster coach Louis LeBlanc said of college coaches during an interview with AL.com last month. “Hopefully he’ll give them an opportunity to line up in multiple personnel groupings but with the same people in the field.”

Blessed to have receive an offer from Auburn! pic.twitter.com/iXacMBsfze

— Michael Parker (@mwp_3) June 18, 2017

Ricardo Louis ‘a different guy’ in second year with Cleveland Browns

Wide receiver Ricardo Louis and his coaches on the Cleveland Browns see a big difference between last year's rookie out of Auburn and the player who got a lot of reps with the first-team offense in the NFL team's offseason program this year.

Wide receiver Ricardo Louisand his coaches on the Cleveland Browns see a big difference between last year’s rookie out of Auburnand the player who got a lot of reps with the first-team offense in the NFL team’s offseason program this year.

Cleveland wrapped up its offseason work with the last day of minicamp on Thursday, but Louis said he had plans to keep getting better during the summer break before training camp starts late next month.

Louis said he’s going to work with six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Brandon Marshall — finally. Like Marshall, Louis is a former Florida high school star, except Louis was a quarterback.

“It’s a funny story,” Louis saidduring a minicamp press conference. “About a year and a half ago, I sent him a message on Instagram. I was looking for advice because moving to receiver was kind of tough. So I had to find somebody who could help me figure it out. So I hit him up, and actually last week he hit me back after a year and a half. He was like, ‘Sorry, I just seen it.’

“And that just goes to show me what kind of guy he is. You can tell that he’s very genuine. He’s a very good guy, to me, just based on what he did with that, hitting me back after a year and to say, ‘I would love to get together with you.’ He’s going to have his assistant call me and set up everything. So I think that by him doing that, he really wants me to succeed.”

So do the Browns.

Cleveland drafted four wide receivers last year. First-round pick Corey Coleman of Baylor caught 33 passes in 10 games, and fifth-round picks Jordan Payton of Oregon and Rashard Higgins of Colorado State combined to catch seven passes.

A fourth-round pick, Louis played in every game and made three starts. He caught 18 passes for 205 yards and was on the field for more special-teams plays than any other Cleveland offensive player in 2016, including returning nine kickoffs.

Terrelle Pryor led Cleveland with 77 receptions for 1,007 yards last season, but he left for the Washington Redskins in free agency in March. Andrew Hawkins, who caught 33 passes for the Browns last year, is now with the New England Patriots.

Cleveland didn’t add any wide receivers in the draft, but did sign free agent Kenny Britt, who caught 68 passes for 1,002 yards for the Los Angeles Rams last year.

That would seem to leave Louis as the third option at wide receiver, putting him in line for more playing time in 2017. But he’s not ready to settle for the role just yet.

“We’re all competing to get on the field and play,” Louis said. “Nobody has a legit spot right now. Nobody’s No. 1. Nobody’s No. 2. Right now, we’re just all competing to see who can do things the best, who can play this position the best.”

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

Louis got a good look with the first team in the offseason program because injuries caused Coleman and Britt to miss chunks of practice. The Browns liked what they saw from Louis.

“Ricardo is a big, tall, athletic, fast guy, strong,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “And he’s really improved on his route running, improved initial quickness off the line. I think he understands the National Football League game better. I think he’s worked extremely hard. But it’s all relative right now. We’ve got to do it when the season starts.”

Louis said he could tell a difference in his play.

“I have definitely taken a step forward,” Louis said. “Commanding the offense a lot more, playing a lot faster, getting a lot more reps and just perfecting my craft. …

“I’m coming off the ball a lot faster. I’m able to use my speed and scare the DBs — give them fear. My route running is just a lot more advanced than it was last year as far as changing directions, coming out of breaks and creating separation.”

Cleveland wide receivers coach Al Saunders said there’s a noticeable difference in Louis year-over-year and it comes from working to become “fluent in the foreign language” of the Browns’ offense.

“It was funny because I went back and looked at our last year’s rookie minicamp, the OTAs and the veteran camp, and it’s a different guy,” Saunders told cleveland.com, “because when you know what to do, you can do it with speed and energy and effectiveness. …

“He’s really helped himself understanding what he has to do, and now he lines up at the line of scrimmage when he hears the play and sees the defense and recognizes the coverage, he goes 100 miles an hour. He is a talented young man, so I’m thrilled that he feels really comfortable in what he’s doing.”

Ricardo Louis ‘a different guy’ in second year with Cleveland Browns

Wide receiver Ricardo Louis and his coaches on the Cleveland Browns see a big difference between last year’s rookie out of Auburn and the player who got a lot of reps with the first-team offense in the NFL team’s offseason program this year.

Auburn lands commitment from VCU transfer Samir Doughty

Auburn coach Bruce Pearl received a Father’s Day gift in the form of VCU transfer Samir Doughty, who announced on Twitter than he has verbally committed to the Tigers.

Gus Malzahn believes 2 true freshmen could help with Auburn’s pass rush this season

Auburn lost its top two pass-rusher from last season in Carl Lawson and Montravius Adams, both of whom are now in the NFL.

Gus Malzahn believes 2 true freshmen could help with Auburn’s pass rush this season

Auburn lost its top two pass-rusher from last season in Carl Lawson and Montravius Adams, both of whom are now in the NFL.

Watch video

After losing its top two pass-rushers from last season, Auburn believes a pair of true freshmen can step in and help fill that void this fall.

With the departure of both Carl Lawson and Montravius Adams to the NFL, Auburn’s defense has a need to fill when it comes to pressuring the quarterback. Those two combined for 13.5 sacks and 39 quarterback hurries in 2016, and while Auburn has a wealth of returning depth up front to help replace that production, it will also look to freshmen Markaviest Bryant and T.D. Moultry to help with its pass rush in 2017.

“When we recruited those guys, we thought both those guys have the potential to be really good pass-rushers,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said earlier this month on Lake Martin. “So, that’s one of the things early in fall camp that I know the defensive coaches will put them in those situations and see if they’re ready.”

The Tigers return the likes of Jeff Holland, Marlon Davidson, Paul James III and Nick Coe, all of whom are expected to prevent the pass rush from taking a step back this season. However, as Malzahn said, the coaching staff will try to see if Bryant and Moultry are ready to make an early impact and find ways to get them on the field in pass-rushing scenarios this fall.

Bryant was Auburn’s biggest win on National Signing Day, when the Tigers secured a commitment from the four-star prospect out of Cordele, Ga. The 6-foot-5, 224-pounder is a true Buck, and he is expected to come in and provide depth at the position alongside Holland and James.

He arrived on campus this summer, and despite sustaining a hand injury last month, he has not been limited in summer workouts, according to Malzahn.

Moultry, meanwhile, was Auburn’s highest-rated linebacker signee this spring, and linebackers coach Travis Williams is excited about what the former four-star, U.S. Army All-American will bring to the fold.

Moultry could fill role left behind by Lawson

“He can play,” Williams told AL.com last month in Griffin, Ga. “He’s everything you’re looking for. He runs, he’s big, he’s fast, explosive. He likes football. He’s a smart linebacker. He has it all to be as good as he wants to be.”

The 6-foot-2, 240-pounder will start out at the Money linebacker position on the strong side of the defense, but Williams said Moultry will also be used as a pass-rusher on obvious passing downs. His skillset and flexibility gives Auburn some flexibility when it comes to how defensive coordinator Kevin Steele, Williams and defensive line coach Rodney Garner utilize him.

“With (defensive line) coach (Rodney) Garner, he’s done a really good job with young guys,” Malzahn said. “He plays young guys if they’re talented enough to do that. Coach Steele is really good at finding ways to let young guys play and be specific on the things that their strengths are.”

New NCAA rule will block Auburn from signing Opelika High football players for 2 years

Opelika High School has a history of sending football players down the road to Auburn University.

The Countdown to Kickoff: The SEC’s best No. 76

There are 76 days until the first Saturday of the SEC football season, and the No. 1 76 in SEC football history is Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel.

The Countdown to Kickoff: The SEC’s best No. 76

There are 76 days until the first Saturday of the SEC football season, and the No. 1 76 in SEC football history is Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel.

AL.com is counting down to the 2017 SEC football season on Sept. 2 by presenting the No. 1 player to wear each number 1 through 99 in the conference’s history. There are 76 days until the first Saturday of the SEC football season, and the No. 1 76 is Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel.

Texas A&M’s first season in the SEC turned out to be memorable. Quarterback Johnny Manziel became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy as the Aggies set a conference single-season record with 7,261 yards of total offense in 2012.

One of the big – 305 pounds — reasons for Texas A&M’s offensive success was the Aggies’ left tackle, Luke Joeckel.

While Manziel was a consensus All-American in 2012, he wasn’t a unanimous All-American. Joeckel was.

Joeckel also won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy as the SEC’s best blocker over another unanimous All-American – Alabama guard Chance Warmack.

Joeckel earned the Outland Trophy, too, which has been presented annually since 1946 to the nation’s best interior lineman. Joeckel is the only Texas A&M player who has won the Outland.

Runner-up at No. 76: Georgia defensive tackle George Patton

FOR MORE OF AL.COM’S COMPREHENSIVE COVERAGE OF THE SEC, GO TO OURSEC PAGE

Happy Father’s Day From Track ‘Em Tigers

Fathers-Day

Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads, step dads, and granddads in our Track ‘Em Tigers community. May you enjoy the warmth of family and the blessings of parenthood on your special day!

War Eagle!

The post Happy Father’s Day From Track ‘Em Tigers appeared first on Track 'Em Tigers, Auburn's oldest and most read independent blog.

Cam Newton steps in for Mike Shula at Carolina Panthers’ practice

While quarterback Cam Newton is prohibited from passing while recovering from shoulder surgery, the Carolina Panthers put the former Auburn star in charge of the play-calling during the final practice of their offseason program.

Cam Newton steps in for Mike Shula at Carolina Panthers’ practice

While quarterback Cam Newton is prohibited from passing while recovering from shoulder surgery, the Carolina Panthers put the former Auburn star in charge of the play-calling during the final practice of their offseason program.

As the Carolina Panthers prepared for the final week of their offseason program, coach Ron Rivera saidquarterback Cam Newtonmight resume throwing the football during the NFL team’s mandatory minicamp.

That didn’t happen, but the Panthers don’t consider it a setback in the former Auburn star’s recovery from surgery on his throwing shoulder. Rather it’s in line with the original timetable for his recovery.

Newton had surgery to repair a partially torn rotator cuff on March 30. Newton suffered the injury during a Dec. 11 game against the San Diego Chargers. He played in Carolina’s final three games of the season before starting a rest-and-rehab program. But that failed to solve the problem, leading to surgery.

“At this point, he’s right where he needs to be,” Rivera saidafter the Panthers wrapped up their offseason practices on Thursday.

The original schedule announced when Newton had surgery called for him to start throwing with trainers 12 weeks after the procedure and with teammates four weeks later. That timeline had Newton tossing the football overhand again in the third week of June. Throwing at minicamp would have been a week earlier than that schedule.

Even though he couldn’t throw, Newton attended all 13 of the Panthers’ OTA and minicamp practices. On Thursday, after consulting with Carolina offensive coordinator Mike Shula, Newton took over the play-calling duties for the Panthers’ offense.

“We gave him control of the mics, and he called plays today,” Rivera said. “He talked with coach Shula. They were moving the ball, and Cam controlled it. He made the calls. He communicated with the quarterbacks.

“He had a big smile on his face and said, ‘I’m not sure if I like doing this. I’d much rather be being told what to do.’ But I think that was good for him — to see exactly what a play-caller goes through.”

Rivera said he tends to be overly optimistic, such as his forecast last week on when Newton would begin passing again, and he reminded reporters of that when he was asked again after the final offseason practice to project when he thought Carolina’s QB would start throwing.

“I’m hoping it’s soon,” Rivera said. “It could be tomorrow. It could be next week. It’s really when (head athletic trainer) Ryan Vermillion and the doctors deem it’s necessary to start.”

The Panthers start training camp for the 2017 season on July 26.

Newton is preparing for his seventh NFL season. He joined the Panthers as the first player picked in the 2011 NFL Draft after earning the Heisman Trophy and helping Auburn complete an undefeated season by winning the BCS national championship for the 2010 campaign.

Newton has received a Pro Bowl invitation in every odd year of his career. He also won the NFL’s MVP Award for the 2015 season.

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

Cam Newton was not about to let a rookie go ahead of him [?] [?] pic.twitter.com/JYThOQBbDP

— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) June 15, 2017

Why offensive line commit Kameron Stutts chose to attend Auburn’s summer camp

Stutts committed on A-Day but decided to camp at Auburn this weekend anyway.

Auburn offensive line commit Kameron Stutts didn’t need to spend his Saturday participating in the Tigers’ half-day camp for offensive and defensive linemen. He didn’t need to impress any coaches, particularly with his spot in Auburn’s 2018 recruiting class secured.

Still, the three-star offensive tackle out of Brooks wanted to take advantage of an early opportunity to work with his future position coach, Herb Hand.

“He’s a really good offensive line coach,” Stutts said. “I thought, why not come out here and get some work done? It’s the summer and you’re supposed to be off, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go out and work.”

It’s somewhat unusual for a player already committed to a program to participate in one of the team’s camps, but that was fine with Stutts, who committed to Auburn on A-Day back in April. Stutts, rated the No. 41 offensive tackle in the nation according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, said he checked in at 6-foot-4 and 330 pounds during Saturday’s camp.

What Stutts brings to Auburn’s recruiting class

He believes he fared well during the camp, but noted one area he needed to work on: keeping his head up and using his hands more when blocking. He still enjoyed his time getting to work with Hand, whom he will spend the next several years playing for.

“I know it’s not easy,” Stutts said. “Most people don’t want to come up here and their days off and come over here and do camps and stuff, especially if they’re committed and think they have that spot. But you still have to work, because there’s definitely other people out there that still want to come out — even if I’m committed, there’s still people that want to come over here and try and beat me out.

“I still have to do my best and do as much as I can to better myself and better the team I’m going to play for.”

After the camp wrapped up, Stutts had a chance to sit down and speak with coach Gus Malzahn one-on-one for a bit. According to Stutts, Malzahn appreciated the fact that he came out to the camp even though he was already committed. He also told the offensive lineman that he was one of the leaders of the Tigers’ 2018 class, which is ranked 41st in the nation right now and holds commitments from six players.

Auburn wants to add 4-5 offensive linemen with 2018 recruiting class

Stutts is working to try to add to those numbers. He said he has been in frequent contact with four-star running back Asa Martin and five-star receiver Justyn Ross, as well as a couple other offensive linemen the Tigers are targeting this recruiting cycle.

In the meantime, Stutts plans to be back on campus next month when Auburn holds its next half-day camp for linemen on July 21.

“Just getting better as much as you can,” Stutts said. “You can’t ever miss an opportunity to get better. You just do as much as you can. If you want to be the best, that’s what you got to do.”

Why offensive line commit Kameron Stutts chose to attend Auburn’s summer camp

Stutts committed on A-Day but decided to camp at Auburn this weekend anyway.

Auburn signee Noah Igbinoghene soars to Birmingham Boys Athlete of the Year

In an era of sports specialization, several multi-sport stars in the Birmingham region found a way to be… extra special during the 2016-2017 season.

Hoover’s Garrett Farquhar played quarterback on the Class 7A state championship football team and shortstop on the 7A state championship baseball team. Shelton State, here he comes!

Baniko Harley led Ramsay to the Class 6A football state title, the first football championship in Birmingham City Schools in more than four decades. Harley then played catchup on the basketball team, leading the Rams to the playoffs. Up next? Leading a college football turnaround at Austin Peay.

Noah Igbinoghene of Hewitt-Trussville, the son of former Olympians, soared, skied and scored above the competition on the football field and in track, field events. He won dominated the indoor and outdoor state meets in the long jump and triple jump, setting records. Auburn football took notice. War Eagle!

And the winner is…

Noah Igbinoghene of Hewitt-Trussville – insert claps here.

“For me, I just wanted to be different than everybody and do something like playing two sports at a very high level,” he said.

RELATED:LSU signee, high jump extraordinaire JuVaughn Blake is the Huntsville Boys Athlete of the Year

RELATED: McGill-Toolen two-sport star Bubba Thompson named Coastal Alabama Male Athlete of the Year

FILLING STAT SHEETS

Igbinoghene ended last fall on the football field with 55 catches for 712 yards and eight touchdowns, leading Hewitt-Trussville to a perfect regular-season record of 10-0. With receiving options like Igbinoghene on the field, Huskies outscored opponents 552-289.

Hewitt-Trussville defeated Oak Mountain 63-21 in the first round of the playoffs before falling 29-28 the following week to Gadsden City.

Igbinoghene moved on to indoor track where in a span of two days, he set Class 7A state records in the long jump (24 feet, inch) and triple jump (50 feet, 3 inches).

Fast forward to outdoor track. Igbinoghene soared 23 feet, 11 inches to win the 7A boys long jump and won the long jump with a feat of 49 feet, 10.25 inches.

RELATED: Noah Igbinoghene could fit well at slot receiver for Auburn

COMMITTED!!🔶🐅🔷#Ambush17 pic.twitter.com/UDc4iNwmf0

— Noah Igbinoghene (@Noah_Igbo9) November 24, 2016

UP NEXT?

Look out for the nextIgbinoghene.

HopeIgbinoghene made an impact at the 7A outdoor state meet, finishing second in the 100 meters and fifth in the 200 meters.

“If Hope continues to work hard like she is now there is no limit to what she can achieve in the next few years,” Noah Igbinoghene said of his younger sister. “I’m very excited to see what she will accomplish.”

Auburn signee Noah Igbinoghene soars to Birmingham Boys Athlete of the Year

Jarrett Stidham says ‘all the pieces of the puzzle are there’ for Auburn’s offense in 2017

Jarrett Stidham has yet to play a real game in an Auburn uniform. He hasn’t even won the starting quarterback job yet.

The Countdown to Kickoff: The SEC’s best No. 77

There are 77 days until the first Saturday of the SEC football season, and the No. 1 77 in SEC football history is Georgia defensive tackle Bill Stanfill.

AL.com is counting down to the 2017 SEC football season on Sept. 2 by presenting the No. 1 player to wear each number 1 through 99in the conference’s history. There are 77 days until the first Saturday of the SEC football season, and the No. 1 77 is Georgia defensive tackle Bill Stanfill.

Bill Stanfill won the 1968 Outland Trophy, and it would be 20 years before another SEC player won the award as the nation’s best interior lineman.

Stanfill’s career landed him in the College Football Hall of Fame after he earned consensus All-American honors as the frontman of Georgia’s top-rated defense in 1968. The Bulldogs had another future Hall of Famer, defensive back Jake Scott, in the secondary.

The Bulldogs had led the SEC in scoring defense and total defense in Stanfill’s junior season, and they did that again in 1968, this time leading the nation in scoring defense by yielding an average of 9.8 points per game.

The Bulldogs won the SEC championship in 1968 after earning a share of the title in Stanfill’s sophomore season. During Stanfill’s three years between the hedges, Georgia lost two conference games.

Runner-up at No. 77: Tennessee halfback Bob Foxx

FOR MORE OF AL.COM’S COMPREHENSIVE COVERAGE OF THE SEC, GO TO OURSEC PAGE

The Countdown to Kickoff: The SEC’s best No. 77

There are 77 days until the first Saturday of the SEC football season, and the No. 1 77 in SEC football history is Georgia defensive tackle Bill Stanfill.

“There is No Better Time a Dad Can Invest” – Gene Chizik

xxx-bcs--eb19386-3_4In February former Auburn head coach Gene Chizik chose to step away from the only life he’s ever known, being a football coach. As the defensive coordinator at North Carolina, he had just helped land a great recruiting class and the news caught Tar Hill fans by surprise.

After being a long distance dad for two years, Chizik made a decision to leave football to be able to spend time with his three kids. This weekend he shared his thoughts about the importance of being a dad to Track ‘Em Tigers partner, USA TODAY. It makes for a great Father’s day read.

“One thing is certain as we celebrate Father’s Day,” said Gene. “Not one of us will ever regret a single moment spent with our children. One-on-one time with our kids means the world to them … [And] there is no better time a dad can invest.”

We recommend our readers read his full article at USA TODAY.

The post “There is No Better Time a Dad Can Invest” – Gene Chizik appeared first on Track 'Em Tigers, Auburn's oldest and most read independent blog.

Jarrett Stidham believes Auburn has ‘all of the pieces of the puzzle’ this season

Jarrett Stidham discussed Auburn's 2017 offense as well as his path to Auburn during an interview with ESPN that was published Friday.

The offseason buzz surrounding Auburn this summer is getting louder, and much of that is based on the beliefthat the Tigers’ offense will be much improved under first-year offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey.

While Lindsey is revamping Auburn’s scheme and making it more pass-heavy while staying true to the team’s run-first identity, the man likely tasked with running that offense appears confident in the Tigers’ ability to live up to the hype. Jarrett Stidham hasn’t won the starting job yet — that will be decided in fall camp — but the former Baylor transfer is widely expected to be Auburn’s quarterback this fall, and he is excited about what’s in store for the team on that side of the ball.

“We got playmakers everywhere on the field,” Stidham told ESPN’s Tom Luginbill during a video interview that was published Friday. “I think all of the pieces of the puzzle are there. It’s just a matter of time of just getting everybody on the same page.”

Auburn returns leading rushers Kamryn Pettway and Kerryon Johnson to form a formidable one-two punch in the backfield, as well as a young but promising group of receivers led by sophomores Darius Slayton, Nate Craig-Myers, Kyle Davis and Eli Stove. Auburn also brings back three starters along the offensive line while also adding a pair of experienced graduate transfers in FSU’s Wilson Bell and Jacksonville State’s Casey Dunn.

Infuse that with Lindsey’s scheme and the excitement brought from April’s A-Day showing from that side of the ball, and it’s easy to understand Stidham’s point of view.

While Stidham impressed on A-Day, earning offensive MVP honors in the process, the 6-foot-2, 214-pounder still has to prove himself against SEC competition if he wins the job as expected. Lindsey said last month that the biggest area Stidham needs to improve in is his ability to read defenses, a sentiment he echoed during his interview with Luginbill.

The biggest area Stidham needs to improve in this offseason

“At Baylor, the offense kind of speaks for itself — very explosive,” Stidham said. “Coming here, it is a little different, having to read defenses a little more.”

Still, Stidham remains confident in the offense’s ability to improve upon last year’s numbers and the defense’s prospects of building off of last year’s surprising turnaround.

“The ultimate goal is to win the SEC,” Stidham said. “Everything after that just takes care of itself.”

Watch Stidham’s full interview with Luginbill, which also touches on his year away from college football and his relationship with incumbent starting quarterback Sean White, below:

Jarrett Stidham believes Auburn has ‘all of the pieces of the puzzle’ this season

Jarrett Stidham discussed Auburn’s 2017 offense as well as his path to Auburn during an interview with ESPN that was published Friday.

Former Auburn OT Greg Robinson calls trade to Lions ‘refreshing’

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — Greg Robinson is thankful to have a fresh start that the Detroit Lions were desperate to give him.

Jarrett Stidham says Auburn’s 2017 offense has ‘playmakers everywhere’ – SECcountry.com

SECcountry.com
Jarrett Stidham says Auburn's 2017 offense has 'playmakers everywhere'
SECcountry.com
In the three-minute video with Luginbill, Stidham discussed his path to Auburn, which included a 2016 season away from football after his departure from Baylor. He also talked about the biggest change between running the Bears' prolific, wide-open …
Most important Auburn players in 2017 – No. 1: QB Jarrett StidhamMontgomery Advertiser
Jarrett Stidham: 'All the pieces of the puzzles are there'247Sports

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Tanner Burns, Steven Williams among Auburn baseball signees to earn national honor

Tanner Burns of Decatur and a signee for Butch Thompson’s Auburn baseball team has been tabbed Collegiate Baseball’s National Player of the Year, it was announced on Friday. Fellow signees Cody Greenhill, Judd Ward and Steven Williams were also named…

Senior Spotlight: Ike Powell – Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site

Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site
Senior Spotlight: Ike Powell
Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site
AUBURN, Ala. – The past four years have flown by for long snapper Ike Powell, who has made a major impact on Auburn's special teams. A senior from Tifton, Ga., majoring in exercise science, Powell is excited about the upcoming football season.

Addition of ‘mature’ graduate transfers could shake up Auburn’s offensive line

One of the biggest focuses for Auburn early on in fall camp, coach Gus Malzahn said, will be locking five guys into five positions along the offensive line.

Greg Robinson finds trade to Detroit Lions ‘refreshing’

The Los Angeles Rams replaced Greg Robinson as their left offensive tackle in the offseason, and the former Auburn star said he plans to make the most of his new opportunity after being traded to the Detroit Lions.

Greg Robinson finds trade to Detroit Lions ‘refreshing’

The Los Angeles Rams replaced Greg Robinson as their left offensive tackle in the offseason, and the former Auburn star said he plans to make the most of his new opportunity after being traded to the Detroit Lions.

Offensive tackle Greg Robinson found out on Wednesday night he had been traded by the Los Angeles Ramsto the Detroit Lions. On Thursday, the former Auburnstandout was at the Lions’ final practice of their offseason program. Although he didn’t participate, Robinson said he was “picking the brains” of his new teammates as he watched the Detroit offense at work.

“It was a big surprise,” Robinson saidabout the trade. “I found out last night, so quick turnaround. But I’m looking forward to the opportunity. …

“I plan on benefiting from it tremendously. I think throughout the course of my career, it’s really refreshing, and I plan to make the most out of it.”

Robinson’s career hasn’t gone the way either he or the Rams hoped since he joined the NFL as the second player picked in the 2014 draft. The Rams’ left offensive tackle of the future led the NFL in offensive-holding penalties in each of the past two seasons, was benched for two games during the 2016 campaign and garnered only a sixth-round pick in the 2018 draft in the trade with the Lions.

In March, the Ramssigned former LSU standout Andrew Whitworthas a free agent. A three-time Pro Bowler, Whitworth had spent the previous 11 seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, and he became the Rams’ left tackle.

Los Angeles’ new coach, Sean McVay, said Robinson would compete to be the Rams’ starter at right tackle. It looks as though Rob Havenstein will be in that spot now.

Detroit coach Jim Caldwell said the Lions weren’t concerned about what Robinson hadn’t done for the Rams, but instead looked at what he might do for them.

“I’m not concerned about that,” Caldwell saidduring a press conference after the final day of minicamp. “I’m concerned about what he does for us here and now from this point forward. I don’t look back much. Those are speculations and stuff. You guys can do that. It makes for interesting reading for someone. But for us, we know he’s got ability. He’s very capable, and we’re happy to have him. We’re looking forward rather than backward. …

“I just think that everybody’s a little different, asked to do different things in different systems and things of that nature. We think he fits well with us. We’ll see. He’s the kind of guy we’re looking for, and he’ll work at it.”

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

The Lions lost left offensive tackle Taylor Decker this month when he suffered a shoulder injury at practice. Decker had surgery on June 5 to repair a torn labrum and is expected to beout four to six months.

“My goal is just to come in and try to learn as much as possible,” Robinson said. “Then from there, just step in and take the coaching and perform to the best of my ability.”

On Thursday, Detroit announcedit had traded for Robinson and signed former Alabamaoffensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio. Kouandjio had played three seasons for the Buffalo Bills before being released on May 24.

Caldwell said both players are left offensive tackles.

“Good athletes that have ability and they’ve played a bit in the league, so we’re happy to have them,” Caldwell said. “Both guys give us the opportunity to get better, and that’s the key. …

“I think one of the things you have to understand about us — and it’s kind of been consistent — is we’re looking for every opportunity we can to improve our football team. That’s what we’re all about. We’re trying to get better, and we’ve got to get better fast. Any opportunity we see we can get some improvement, we’re going to certainly look at those closely.”

The Lions are off until training camp starts on July 31. Robinson said he’ll be busy during his summer break.

“Probably go see the family for a few days, and then from there jump in the playbook,” Robinson said. “Try my best to learn it as quickly as possible because I’m not sure what’s required of me here, but I know learning it is really, really required.”

Auburn football: Friday feeling, all-time team voting and a double recruiting dose – SECcountry.com

SECcountry.com
Auburn football: Friday feeling, all-time team voting and a double recruiting dose
SECcountry.com
Welcome to SEC Country's daily War Eagle Wakeup, a rundown of everything happening in Auburn football and Auburn Tigers athletics with Lauren Shute. Today, we discuss how Gus Malzahn's team tackled inflatables and time for a fan all-time team.
25 greatest SEC Football coaches of all timeFanSided
Pat Dye: '500 years' not enough for Auburn to match Alabama traditionGridiron Now
Alabama Football: Dye says Auburn could not catch the Tide in 500 years.BamaHammer
247Sports
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Auburn wants to add 4 or 5 offensive linemen with 2018 recruiting class

Auburn currently has two offensive linemen committed to its 2018 class.

Auburn believes it added the foundation for the future of its offensive line with its three freshman signees from the 2017 recruiting class: Calvin Ashley, Nick Brahms and Austin Troxell.

With five seniors — all of whom could either start of play meaningful time in 2017 — departing after this fall, Herb Hand knows the importance of identifying the next pieces to build around that foundation and bolster the future of the Tigers’ depth up front. So, a year after trying to land the nation’s top offensive line class, Hand is again aiming high on the recruiting trail when it comes to Auburn’s 2018 class.

“This year we would like to get four to maybe five, but certainly four,” Hand told AL.com last month in Nashville, Tenn. “You’d love to get two tackles, two interior guys and maybe the best available.”

Auburn has two linemen currently committed to its 2018 class in three-star offensive guard Jalil Irvin and three-star offensive tackle Kameron Stutts.

What Irvin’s commitment means for Auburn

Irvin is a 6-foot-3, 296-pounder who committed to Auburn on March 8 after its junior day. The Stone Mountain, Ga., native is rated as the No. 18 offensive guard in the country and is firmly committed to the Tigers. Stutts, a 6-foot-4, 329-pounder out of Brooks, committed to Auburn on A-Day. He is regarded as the 41st-best offensive tackle in the 2018 class.

That leaves Auburn looking to add another tackle, another guard and then whomever is the best available lineman — whether that be an interior or exterior player — this recruiting cycle. Hand added that he would like to add another center behind Kaleb Kim, who will be a redshirt junior in 2018, and Brahms, who enrolled in the spring.

One of Auburn’s top targets to fill one of those remaining spots is four-star lineman Tank Jenkins out of Park Crossing in Montgomery. Jenkins is a 6-foot-3, 325-pounder who could play either guard or tackle, though he is rated as the nation’s No. 13 guard in this class and is the top offensive lineman in the state of Alabama.

Auburn is among the favorites for Jenkins, who is also being heavily pursued by Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. He is still awaiting an offer from Alabama.

Where Auburn stands with Tank Jenkins

The Tigers are also pursuing four-star offensive tackle William Barnes out of Apopka, Fla. Barnes is a 6-foot-4, 312-pounder and a U.S. Army All-American who is rated as the nation’s fourth-best tackle in this class. Although Florida appears to be the favorite.

Barnes’ teammate at Apopka, three-star guard Ed Montilus, is also on Auburn’s radar and he has the Tigers among his top choices.Barnes and Montilus reportedly received a visit from Hand late last month during the evaluation period of the recruiting calendar.

Other possibilities for Auburn this cycle are three-star lineman Jerome Carvin of Cordova, Tenn., who will have Auburn among his top schools; four-star Tucker, Ga., tackle Dylan Wonnum, who visited campus earlier this month; four-star tackle Christian Armstrong, who was on campus for Big Cat Weekend; and four-star tackles Nicholas Petit-Frere and Richard Gouraige out of Tampa, Fla.

While it’s possible Auburn could sign four or five high school linemen, Hand didn’t rule out the possibility of once again dipping into the JUCO or grad transfer circuit, especially considering the team is losing five seniors after this year. Auburn recently added Wilson Bell and Casey Dunn as grad transfers from FSU and Jacksonville State, respectively, this summer to add some experienced depth up front for 2017. The same could happen this cycle.

“That’s where you start saying, ‘OK, does one of those guys need to be a junior college player to bring in a little bit older guy?'” Hand said. “We have our eyes on a few guys in that regards. The bottom line of it though is that the guys that are in the room right now and will be in the fall, including Trox and Calvin, those are the guys that are going to be the core as you go forward.”

Auburn wants to add 4 or 5 offensive linemen with 2018 recruiting class

Auburn currently has two offensive linemen committed to its 2018 class.

Danjel Purifoy to shift to ‘more natural position’ for Auburn this season

Danjel Purifoy spent the majority of his redshirt freshman playing out of position. Coach Bruce Pearl has acknowledged that fact.

The Countdown to Kickoff: The SEC’s best No. 78

There are 78 days until the first Saturday of the SEC football season, and the No. 1 78 in SEC football history is Tennessee offensive tackle Antone Davis.

AL.com is counting down to the 2017 SEC football season on Sept. 2 by presenting the No. 1 player to wear each number 1 through 99in the conference’s history. There are 78 days until the first Saturday of the SEC football season, and the No. 1 78 is Tennessee offensive tackle Antone Davis.

Antone Davis helped clear the way for three 1,000-yard rushers at Tennessee – Reggie Cobb, Chuck Webb and Tony Thompson.

By the time Davis reached his senior season in 1990, the Volunteers’ offensive production resulted in an SEC championship for Tennessee after it had shared the league title the previous year with Alabamaand Auburn.

The 1990 Volunteers averaged scoring 36.7 points per game, the highest output in the SEC in 17 years.

The team’s success translated into individual accolades for Davis. As a senior, he earned the Jacobs Blocking Trophy as the SEC’s top blocker and received recognition as a unanimous All-American.

Runner-up at No. 78: Ole Miss tackle Jim Dunaway

FOR MORE OF AL.COM’S COMPREHENSIVE COVERAGE OF THE SEC, GO TO OURSEC PAGE

The Countdown to Kickoff: The SEC’s best No. 78

There are 78 days until the first Saturday of the SEC football season, and the No. 1 78 in SEC football history is Tennessee offensive tackle Antone Davis.

Former Auburn receiver graduates after suffering career-ending injuries

Philip Pierre-Louis shares his emotional story

Former Auburn receiver graduates after suffering career-ending injuries

Philip Pierre-Louis shares his emotional story

Watch video

Philip Pierre-Louis’ college football career nearly ended before it began.

On the opening kickoff of Auburn’s first game of the 2008 season, the speedy receiver tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee while returning the ball upfield.

“All I remember is hobbling off to the sideline,” Pierre-Louis said. “They checked my leg out and (I remember) them whispering in my ear that I tore my ACL. Being that young, I didn’t know the injury time or if I could ever even come back. So I remember sobbing on the sidelines looking up at my parents.”

Following an excruciating year in rehab, Pierre-Louis returned to action in 2009. He appeared in six games for the Tigers, returning 11 punts for 49 yards and seven kickoffs for 140 yards.

A few months later, Pierre-Louis went down again. During an impressive performance at an April 2010 scrimmage, his knee buckled underneath him.

“I automatically knew then that I tore my ACL,” he said. “After that I was physically and mentally drained.”

Pierre-Louis managed to recover from his second injury and played on the scout team that fall, but never saw the field again at Jordan-Hare Stadium and finished his career without a single catch.

“It hurt a lot knowing I couldn’t help my team, my friends and the city itself out,” he said. “But I did what I needed to I guess you could say, because we ended up winning a national championship.”

Pierre-Louis was academically suspended twice and was in and out of school in the years that followed. He ultimately decided to buckle down, and graduated from Auburn last month with a degree in economics.

“That piece of paper is very powerful,” he said. “I always knew I was going to finish school, but I didn’t have a timeline when. I just had to.”

Watch Pierre-Louis share his story in the video above.

Gus Malzahn finalizes 6 changes to Auburn’s off-field administrative staff

Gus Malzahn announced the personnel moves on Thursday.

Gus Malzahn finalizes 6 changes to Auburn’s off-field administrative staff

Gus Malzahn announced the personnel moves on Thursday.

Gus Malzahn has finalized his off-the-field staff for the 2017 season.

Following last month’s departures of David Gunn and Jamie Croley, Auburn’s fifth-year coach announced the latest personnel moves via a story on the Tigers’ in-house website. Along with confirming the personnel moves involving Patrick Suddes, Brett Whiteside, Kenny Ingramand Stefan Schmidtthat were previously reported, Malzahn added Mollie Moore as Auburn’s director of recruiting operations.

Moore, an Auburn graduate, returns to Auburn after spending the past two seasons at Georgia. Moore was previously on Malzahn’s staff as the Tigers’ football recruiting administrative assistant in 2013. At Georgia, Moore was the Bulldog’s recruiting program coordinator.

Thank you for a wonderful 2 years UGA. Auburn, I’m coming home! #WDE

— Mollie (@mollieamoore) June 15, 2017

Malzahn also promoted Jorrell Bostrom, a former offensive lineman on the Plains, to the team’s director of player development. Bostrom previously served as the Tigers’ assistant director of player development.

“We have a great staff in place and the addition of Kenny, Mollie and Stefan, combined with the new duties for Pat, Brett and Jorrell are going to be very beneficial for our program and our players,” Malzahn said in the story on Auburn’s in-house website.

Suddes, who served as Auburn’s director of player personnel for the last 16 months, was promoted to assistant athletic director for football. Schmidt, who worked with Suddes at Texas in 2013, was added as the Tigers’ new director of player personnel.

Meet Auburn football’s behind-the-scenes star

Ingram, who worked as Auburn’s director of player development in 2013 and 2014, is now the Tigers’ director of player relations after spending the last two seasons as an assistant at Cincinnati.

Whiteside was Auburn’s director of recruiting operations since 2013 and will now serve as the program’s director of football operations, filling the void left by Croley’s resignation last month.

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn announces changes to football administrative staff

Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn announced changes to the football team’s administrative staff on Thursday, filling the positions vacated by Jamie Croley and David Gunn early last month.

Gus Malzahn announces administrative staff changes – Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site

Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site
Gus Malzahn announces administrative staff changes
Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site
AUBURN, Ala. – Gus Malzahn completed his administrative staff Thursday, announcing three hires, a promotion and two position changes, including Patrick Suddes' appointment to assistant athletic director for football. “I'm excited about Pat's leadership …

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Auburn wants to add 1 do-it-all tight end/H-back to 2018 recruiting class

Auburn signed two tight ends this past recruiting cycle.

The role of tight end and H-back has been an underutilized one in Auburn’s offense in recent years. That figures to change now that first-year offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey is at the helm.

If A-Day was any indication, the position’s usage will be expanded a great deal in 2017. During the Tigers’ annual spring game in April, the tight end position was targeted four times for three receptions; Auburn’s tight ends had just two catches total during the 2016 season.

With Lindsey wanting his tight ends to be among the offense’s best and most versatile playmakers, Auburn’s approach to recruiting the position, and what they look for in a recruit, has also changed. For the 2018 recruiting class, tight ends coach Larry Porter told AL.com in late April that Auburn wants to add a combo tight end/H-back this cycle — “one guy that we feel like can do it all” — as opposed to signing one true tight end and one true H-back.

“We’ll definitely sign one,” Porter said. “We’re looking forward to doing that. Any time that you go out and recruit, you try to recruit guys who are just as good as or better than what you have. That’s kind of our focus.”

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

Auburn currently has four tight ends and H-backs on scholarship. The Tigers return tight end Jalen Harris — who had two touchdowns in as many receptions last season — and H-back Chandler Cox, while also bringing tight ends Sal Canella (who was with the team during spring practices) and John Samuel Shenker into the fold. Harris, Cox and Cannella are juniors who will have a year of eligibility remaining after this season, while Shenker is a true freshman, meaning the Tigers should be good depth-wise at the position through 2018.

Still, the goal is to plan for the future, and Auburn wants to add one more to the position group with its 2018 signing class.

“I think the future is very bright for the tight end and H-back position here,” Porter said in March. “We talk about that productivity of that position here in the past, and I think that’s a combination of a lot of things, but you know overall I’m very excited and happy about the guys we have here on campus. I’m looking forward to kind of adding to that depth.”

The most likely candidate to fill that need is three-star tight end Tyneil Hopper out of Roswell, Ga. Hopper is the No. 19 tight end in the country, and he’s also a former high school teammate of current Auburn freshman quarterback Malik Willis.

Why Hopper calls Auburn ‘a great fit’

The 6-foot-3, 225-pounder’s ties to Auburn don’t end there. While North Carolina has been the favorite for Hopper, he was originally being recruited to UNC by none other than Porter, who was the Tar Heels’ running backs coach before accepting his new position at Auburn in February. As soon as Porter arrived on the Plains, his pursuit of Hopper continued — this time for Auburn.

The Tigers believe Hopper can fit that all-encompassing role they’re seeking in a tight end/H-back recruit, and they also believe he can play some receiver at the next level. He appears to check all the boxes that Porter is looking for at the position.

“You want a guy that, again, going forward, can do it all,” Porter said of his ideal tight end/H-back. “You want a guy who can block, you want a guy who has really good hands. I believe that you can develop his route-running ability. Again, I truly believe that. And then the other thing is just his speed. Lower body strength, ball skills and speed.

“I saw lower body, also just making sure that he has good flexibility as well. Whether you’re blocking or coming in and out of routes that’s a really big part of it.”

Porter also visited three-star tight end Zach Sheffer out of Nease High in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., back in April. Sheffer is a 6-foot-3, 230-pounder who is rated as the No. 23 tight end in the nation, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. Auburn was Sheffer’s first SEC offer back in May 2016, and while Ohio State is favored in the 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions, Auburn appears to still be in the mix.

“W’re growing from the standpoint of being able to recruit guys that we feel like can do it all,” Porter said. “Whether it’s attached, detached or being a sniffer, we want a guy who can serve all three roles…. We’re casting a wide net and then as we narrow it down there will be guys we feel can do it all.”

Auburn wants to add 1 do-it-all tight end/H-back to 2018 recruiting class

Auburn signed two tight ends this past recruiting cycle.

Gene Stallings agrees with Pat Dye, updates health after stroke

Former Alabama coach reacts to David Palmer's comments that Stallings' son, John Mark, motivated former playmaker to work with Down syndrome children.

Gene Stallings has cabin fever.

Four weeks after suffering what was reported as a minor stroke, the former Alabama coach isitching to get back to it.

Stallings, 82, joined me on The Opening Kickoff on WNSP-FM 105.5 on Thursday togive an update on his health, react to recent comments made by both former Auburn coach Pat Dye and former Alabama star David Palmer.

“I’ve been antsy for the past two or three weeks,” Stallings said. “I drive my golf cart around the ranch. We’re bailing hay as we speak. I need to be on a tractor doing something, and I just can’t. It’s not normal for me to not do anything.”

Stallings’ peripheral vision in his right eye is gone, he said. “I can raise my right arm straight up. I just can’t see it.”

He did, however, say he can turn his head, and that he is in good health.

Stallings said doctors told him to stay away from “anything work-wise” for six weeks.

“I’m creeping up on that time,” he said. “They said quote, ‘just rest my brain for a while.”

“(The stroke) effected the left side of my brain, which effected the right side of the eye.”

He plans on honoring speaking engagements he is committed to, including events with Dye.

The former Auburn coach this week madeheadlines when hecompared the Tigers’tradition to the Crimson Tide’s.

“We could play football for another 500 years and we couldn’t catch up with the tradition Alabama has got, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a good football program and a strong football program,” Dye said. “It doesn’t mean we can’t have football teams that recruit good enough to beat Alabama on occasion.”

Stallings didn’t hesitate.

“I think he’s right,” the former Texas A&M player said. “Coach (Paul) Bryant set the bar extremely high when he was coaching there, and coach (Nick) Saban is doing just a fabulous job.

“I think he’s right. Auburn is a great football town, and they support their program. They are a good program. I still think they are a little behind Alabama.”

Earlier this week, Stallings’ name came up when talking to Palmer, Alabama’s versatile playmaker during Stallings’ tenure at Alabama.

Palmer, who teaches special-education at Hoover, said his college coach and his family impacted his life.

“Coach (Gene) Stallings influenced me a whole lot to get into coaching,” Palmer said. “By him having little Johnny, that gave me an opportunity to spend timewith kids that have Down syndrome.

“That was motivation for whatI do.”

John Mark Stallings died in 2008 at the age of 46 in Paris, Texas, after being born with Down syndrome. The Alabama athletic training facility is named in his honor, and he has a playground at the Rise School in Tuscaloosa named after him.

“That really pleases me,” Stallings said Thursday. “Little Johnny loved all the players. The players loved Johnny and came to practice. The players really liked when he came to practice because my attitude would always change. I could sort of be tough on the players for whatever reason.

“I’m glad he was able to influence David. He influenced lots of people really. Saddest day of my life when he passed away. He left his little mark, and he influenced lots and lots of people.”

Gene Stallings agrees with Pat Dye on tradition comment, updates health after stroke

Former Alabama coach reacts to David Palmer’s comments that Stallings’ son, John Mark, motivated former playmaker to work with Down syndrome children.

Assembling Auburn’s greatest football team of all time

There have been plenty of special players in the history of Auburn football, but which stand out above the rest at each position?

Assembling Auburn’s greatest football team of all time

There have been plenty of special players in the history of Auburn football, but which stand out above the rest at each position?

125 years of Auburn football – Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site

Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site
125 years of Auburn football
Auburn Tigers Official Athletic Site
AUBURN, Ala. – Nearly eight decades have passed since Pete Turnham arrived as an Auburn freshman in the fall of 1939, working his way through school as a member of FDR's Civilian Conservation Corps. Now 96 years old, Turnham remembers attending…

Auburn Softball’s Carlee Wallace Transferring

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News came late last night that Auburn’s senior Carlee Wallace has requested a release to transfer to another school and coach Clint Myers has granted her wishes. Her reasons for leaving the Plains are not clear although she did express frustration after the Tigers lost to Oklahoma in the super regional.

The All-SEC catcher was a star in the 2015 and 2016 Women’s College World Series. She batted .333 this season and drove in 52 runs. But replacing her leadership will be more difficult than replacing her bat.

We wish her well and are thankful for three great years.

She will be greatly missed

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

How Carlee Wallace’s departure will affect Auburn’s lineup in 2018

Auburn already had a large amount of plate production to replace going into the 2018 season, but the task became even more daunting late Wednesday night.

Detroit Lions acquire Greg Robinson, Cyrus Kouandjio

With left offensive tackle Taylor Decker out with an injury, the Detroit Lions traded for former Auburn standout Greg Robinson and signed former Alabama standout Cyrus Kouandjio on Thursday.

Detroit Lions acquire Greg Robinson, Cyrus Kouandjio

With left offensive tackle Taylor Decker out with an injury, the Detroit Lions traded for former Auburn standout Greg Robinson and signed former Alabama standout Cyrus Kouandjio on Thursday.

The Detroit Lions lost left offensive tackle Taylor Decker this month when he suffered a shoulder injury at practice. Decker had surgery on June 5 to repair a torn labrum and is expected to be out four to six months.

On Thursday, the Lions picked up two candidateswith Alabama football roots to fill the opening left by Decker’s injury. Detroit traded a sixth-round choicein the 2018 NFL Draft to the Los Angeles Rams for former Auburn standout Greg Robinsonand signed free-agent Cyrus Kouandjio, a former Alabamastandout.

Kouandjio had been released by the Buffalo Billsafter three seasons on May 24.

Robinson joined the Rams as the second player picked in the 2014 NFL Draft.

In March, the Rams signed free-agent Andrew Whitworth, who’d spent the previous 11 seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals and was a three-time Pro Bowler, and installed him in Robinson’s position as their left offensive tackle.

At the time, the Rams said Robinson would be moved to right offensive tackle.

Robinson hardly played in the first four games of his rookie season, then he started three games at left guard. When left tackle Jake Long suffered a season-ending knee injury in the seventh game, Robinson shifted to his collegiate position and started the final nine games of the season at left tackle.

In his second season, Robinson played all but one of the St. Louis Rams’ 961 offensive snaps at left offensive tackle.

Robinson played every snap at left offensive tackle for the Rams in 2016, except for two games when he was benched.

Robinsonled the NFL in offensive-holding penaltiesin each of the previous two seasons.

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

Kouandjio joined Buffalo as the 44thplayer picked in the 2014 NFL Draft.

He played in only one game as a rookie. He played in 12 games, with two starts, in 2015.

Kouandjio played in 12 games and made five starts for the Bills in 2016. Injuries put Kouandjio into Buffalo’s starting lineup in the second game of the 2016 season. But an ankle injury sidelined him for four games after he’d made two starts. He came back to start the final three games of the season for the Bills

In his five starts, Kouandjio played every offensive snap for the Bills at left offensive tackle.

TheBills announced on Jan. 26that Kouandjio had undergone surgeryafter suffering an injury in a fall in his home. The Bills’ press release said Kouandjio had hurt his hip, and the team “anticipated that he will be ready for training camp.”

cyrus kouandjio.jpgOffensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio played three NFL seasons with the Buffalo Bills. Courtesy of the Buffalo Bills

Auburn football: Work-life balance, the MLB draft continues and softball star Carlee Wallace plans a move – SECcountry.com

SECcountry.com
Auburn football: Work-life balance, the MLB draft continues and softball star Carlee Wallace plans a move
SECcountry.com
Welcome to SEC Country's daily War Eagle Wakeup, a rundown of everything happening in Auburn football and Auburn Tigers athletics with Lauren Shute. Today, we discuss the importance of balance, more baseball draftees and a bit of softball news.
Four Tigers hear their named called in MLB DraftAuburn Tigers Official Athletic Site
2017 Major League Baseball Draft: Auburn Tigers Coming Out Strong So FarCollege and Magnolia

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The Countdown to Kickoff: The SEC’s best No. 79

There are 79 days until the first Saturday of the SEC football season, and the No. 1 79 in SEC football history is Kentucky tackle Lou Michaels.

AL.com is counting down to the 2017 SEC football season on Sept. 2 by presenting the No. 1 player to wear each number 1 through 99in the conference’s history. There are 79 days until the first Saturday of the SEC football season, and the No. 1 79 is Kentucky tackle Lou Michaels.

In 1957, Kentucky slumped to 3-7 after 11 consecutive winning seasons and finished last in the SEC with a 1-7 record. That didn’t keep Kentucky tackle/place-kicker/punter Lou Michaels from earning the SEC Player of the Year Award, the first time a player other than a quarterback or running back had won that honor since 1940 and one of five times in the 68-year history of the award that it went to a player from a losing team.

It also didn’t keep the two-way standout from becoming a consensus All-American for the second straight season at time when the national all-star team consisted of 11 players.

It also didn’t keep Michaels from finishing fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting.

After wearing many hats in college, Michaels settled in as a defensive end and kicker in the NFL, entering the pros as the fourth player picked in the 1958 draft. He spent 13 seasons in the NFL.

Michaels is one of five members of the College Football Hall of Fame inducted as a Kentucky player.

Runner-up at No. 79: Georgia offensive tackle Matt Stinchcomb

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

The Countdown to Kickoff: The SEC’s best No. 79

There are 79 days until the first Saturday of the SEC football season, and the No. 1 79 in SEC football history is Kentucky tackle Lou Michaels.

Catcher Carlee Wallace intends to transfer from Auburn

Auburn catcher Carlee Wallace intends to transfer from Auburn, a university spokesperson confirmed to the Opelika-Auburn News.

Hesitant to get on board with Auburn hype? Here’s what history tells us about Tigers overachieving and underchieving – SECcountry.com

Gridiron Now
Hesitant to get on board with Auburn hype? Here's what history tells us about Tigers overachieving and underchieving
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2 Auburn seniors, 5 signees taken on final day of MLB Draft

Two graduated Auburn seniors and five signees were selected on the final day of the MLB First-Year Player Draft on Wednesday.

Auburn hoping for big, ‘special class’ at wide receiver in 2018

Auburn is making wide receiver a priority with its 2018 recruiting class.

Auburn’s passing game is expanding, and when it comes to recruiting, the effects are likely to trickle down to the Tigers’ approach with their 2018 class.

After signing two wide receivers back in February, Auburn will likely seek a bigger group at the position this cycle, with the team signing at least two but possibly as many as four receivers in 2018. Not only could it be a bigger crop of recruits at the position, but wide receivers coach Kodi Burns is confident it could be an impactful class.

“I think we’re in a great spot right now,” Burns said last month in Eufaula. “I think this will be a special class for us at receiver, as well as the whole 2018 class, to be honest. I think we’re off to a good start right now, and I think this summer will be really big for us.”

Auburn has just two senior receivers on its roster, Jason Smith and former quarterback John Franklin III, so there is an influx of youth at the position. Still, with eight underclassmen on scholarship at receiver — including expected starters Darius Slayton, Nate Craig-Myers and Kyle Davis — the Tigers will look to strengthen their depth at the position while trying to add more potential big-play threats to the roster.

“I expect a really big class this year,” Burns said in March. “It’s exciting for me because now you’ve got some separation, which we did a good job two years ago of signing probably the best class Auburn’s ever had at receiver. We signed four guys who came in here and were big-time players. That’s always a little bit of a struggle where guys see that the next year like, oh you just signed this class so why would I go to Auburn.

“Now we’ve created some separation a little bit and by signing three guys (including tight end Sal Cannella) that are good players, that are going to come in and add some depth and I think this year are going to be a big-time class for us, and I’m excited. I’m really excited.”

Auburn currently has one receiver committed to its 2018 class: three-star Cordova prospect Kolbi Fuqua, who committed to the Tigers on A-Day. The 6-foot-1, 210-pound Fuqua is listed as an athlete and could also play safety, but said he will start at receiver at Auburn.

Analysis: What Kolbi Fuqua’s commitment means for Auburn

Whether he remains on the offensive side of the ball could depend on how the Tigers fare with their other top receiving prospects. At the top of that list is the state’s No. 1 recruit, five-star receiver Justyn Ross, who is from just down the road in Phenix City.

Ross is a 6-foot-4, 197-pounder who is considered the No. 5 receiver in the country and 25th-best player in the class of 2018. He was on campus earlier this month for Big Cat Weekend and brought his mother, Charay Franklin, who recently returned from a tour of active duty overseas with the National Guard. Auburn is considered the favorite for Ross, with Alabama, Clemson and Florida State among the other teams in a top 11 he released in late April.

RELATED:Why recent Auburn, Alabama visits mean more for Ross

The other top targets Auburn is pursuing at receiver this cycle are four-star prospects Matthew Hill, Jacob Copeland and Seth Williams, as well as three-star receiver Shedrick Jackson.

Hill is a 6-foot-2, 185-pounder out of Snellville, Ga., and Auburn is considered the favorite to land his commitment. He’s rated as the No. 29 receiver in the country, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.

Copeland is a 6-foot, 192-pound prospect out of Escambia High in Pensacola, Fla. He has Auburn among his top-five schools, though he briefly had Auburn and Florida as his top two, and the Gators appear to be the favorite in that race.

Williams is a 6-foot-3, 212-pounder from Paul W. Bryant in Cottondale. Auburn has been in hot pursuit of the nation’s No. 28 receiver, though the Tigers will have to stave off nearby Alabama, as well as the likes of Maryland, Georgia, Ole Miss and Florida State.

Jackson, meanwhile, is one of the most likely to join this class. The 6-foot-1, 195-pounder out of Hoover is the nephew of Auburn legend Bo Jackson, and he has Auburn in his top five. The Tigers are one of three SEC schools to make the cut, along with Missouri and Mississippi State, with Georgia Tech and Memphis rounding it out.

After Big Cat Weekend, Jackson looking to commit soon

While those are Auburn’s top priorities at receiver for the 2018 class, the Tigers are also pursuing four-star prospects Anthony Schwartz, Kearis Jackson and Camron Johnson. Schwartz, a South Florida native, is expected to choose Florida, while Jackson is also considering Georgia, Michigan and Ohio State. Tennessee is the favorite for Johnson.

Regardless of how it shakes out, it’s clear that Auburn is making this class of receivers a priority under Burns and first-year offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey.

“We hired Coach Lindsey for a reason,” Burns said. “We brought some RPOs. I think we threw for 400 yards in the first half of the spring game. You kind of see the direction we’re going at Auburn as far as throwing the ball down the field. I think if you’re a long receiver and you want to come in and play early, this is the place that you can do it.

“We’ve got the trigger man now — Sean White, Jarrett Stidham — we’ve got some guys coming in so I just think we’re in a really good spot to throw the ball down the field.”

Auburn hoping for big, ‘special class’ at wide receiver in 2018

Auburn is making wide receiver a priority with its 2018 recruiting class.

Phil Steele explains why Auburn is in playoff picture, ‘revolves around the Alabama game’

“If (Jarrett) Stidham lives up to the hype, I believe they fall into that category.”

Phil Steele’s College Football Previewdoesn’t hisnewsstands until June 27.

However, you can pre-order and download the preseason publication.

In the 352 pages of college football data, Steele writes:

“They have top-10 talent, which makes them a legitimate title threat, but also have a schedule that includes road trips to Clemson, LSU and (Texas) A&M. Still, they host ‘Bama and with an upset of the Tide, they could be back in the mix to make the playoffs.”

That’s right, Auburn fans, Steele sees Gus Malzahn’s Tigers in a position to make the College Football Playoffs.

Steele joined me on TheOpening Kickoff on WNSP-FM 105.5 on Wednesday morning, and was asked about that statement.

“A lot of it revolves around that Alabama game,” Steele explained. “The one big thing for Auburn the last couple of years is they haven’t had a quarterback.”

RELATED:Steele picks Alabama, Florida State to be in playoff

He pointed to the hype of Jeremy Johnson two years ago on The Plains and the disappointment that followed that season.

“(Jarrett) Stidham is coming in with the same type of hype, but I like Jarrett Stidham,” he said. “He’s a guy that can throw. He is somewhat mobile. He won’t be your typical Auburn quarterback that runs a lot. But you don’t have to when you have (Kamryn) Pettway and (Kerryon) Johnson in the backfield.”

Steele calls Auburn’s offensive line one of the “most veteran in the country” and loved the Tigers’ defense this season. Steele ranks the defensive linemen (10th), linebackers (14th) and defensive backs (11th) as top-15 units in the country.

Throw in the seventh-ranked special teams unit in the country and a schedule that sees Clemson early, Steele said Auburn has a little room to maneuver.

“I worry about the trip to Death Valley,” Steele said. “They can slip up against LSU. If they beat Alabama, they can get there. They are one of the more experienced teams in the SEC.

“If Stidham lives up to the hype, I believe they fall into that category.”

He went on to say Auburn is the “second or third team in the SEC” behind Alabama and, potentially, Florida.

Check out moreat WNSP.com.

Phil Steele explains why Auburn is in playoff picture, ‘revolves around the Alabama game’

“If (Jarrett) Stidham lives up to the hype, I believe they fall into that category.”

2017 Auburn football jersey numbers, measurements

Updated Auburn football jersey numbers, heights and weights as of the summer of 2017

2017 Auburn football jersey numbers, measurements

Updated Auburn football jersey numbers, heights and weights as of the summer of 2017

Auburn’s defense could get instant pass-rush help from standout freshman duo

Markaviest “Big Cat” Bryant and T.D. Moultry did not have the chance to go through spring practice at Auburn. When fall camp begins later this summer, the two summer arrivals could be looking up at a number of names ahead…

AL.com All-Access: Who will Alabama, Auburn sign at QB this year?

AL.com's All-Access begins at 10 a.m. CT

Auburn hosted an elite quarterback in this year’s class on Tuesday when five-star Justin Fields of Kennesaw, Ga., the nation’s No. 3 overall recruit, stopped by.

The Tigers already have a quarterback committed in Jacksonville, Fla., four-star Joey Gatewood. He’s a top 100 national recruit … as an athlete. So the thoughtcould be that Gatewood is a developmental guy if he sticks at quarterback, or he eventually changes positions.

I believe Auburn has a great chance to sign Pinson Valley star Bo Nix in 2019. The Auburn legacy could be Auburn’s lone signee at the position in that class, but Auburn needs two here. If it misses on Fields, there doesn’t yet seem to be Plan B. It could come in the transfer market. Fields plays for Cam Newton in the 7on7 team. He’s also from Georgia, but the Bulldogs have signed elite quarterbacks in each of the last two classes. Florida and Florida State could be easier paths to playing time, but Auburn also offers that.

It’s still unclear with Alabama. Crimson Tide coaches have issued numerous offers, but haven’t closed in on one just yet. Tanner McKee is a big quarterback from California who has visited, but he’s also going on a Mormon mission for two years this summer. He’s essentially a class of 2020 recruit. Alabama is trying to flip Utah commit Jack Tuttle, but he hasn’t visited yet and hasn’t announced plans of a visit.

Alabama’s quarterback signee this year is likely going to be a developmental guy at this point, unless an elite flips. Alabama signed elite quarterbacks in the last two classes. I would look for a class of 2019 top quarterback to commit sooner than at this point of the recruiting cycle.

We’ll talk quarterbacks and take your questions on All-Access at 10 a.m.

AL.com All-Access: Who will Alabama, Auburn sign at QB this year?

AL.com’s All-Access begins at 10 a.m. CT

Top AU baseball signees Burns, Williams remain undrafted after Day 2

Tanner Burns was ranked No. 38 among all draft-eligible players and No. 10 among high school pitchers. Steven Williams was ranked 114th overall and fourth among high school catchers.

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