Auburn running back Jarquez Hunter will return for senior season.

Auburn’s best offensive player from this past season is officially returning to the Plains in 2024.

Running back Jarquez Hunterannounced his intentions to return for his senior season on Friday. His commitment adds another piece to what should be the Tigers’ best group of skill-position players in some time.

The Philadelphia, MS native had his best season on the Plains in 2023, surpassing 1,000 all-purpose yards while scoring the most touchdowns on the team.

After struggling out of the gate, Hunter went on to average well over 100 rushing yards per game over Auburn’s final five SEC contests.

Auburn’s “RB1” was arguably the best offensive player in the SEC over the Tigers 3-game win streak against Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, and Arkansas, accumulating over 400 yards on 7.4 yards per carry in three games.

Hunter also had a great Iron Bowl, rushing 14 times for 93 yards. One of those 14 carries went for 42 yards to set up Auburn’s first touchdown of the afternoon.

Barring injury, Auburn’s top back should crack the all-time top 10 list in rushing yards by a Tiger. He’ll enter his senior season 537 yards behind 10th-place Ronnie Brown. Hunter could feasibly crack the top 6 with another near 1,000 yard season.

The senior’s return instantly gives a stable, familiar face to what could be a brand-new looking Hugh Freeze offense.

Whether it’s incumbent Payton Thorne, freshmen Walker White, or a transfer portal quarterback taking snaps under center for Auburn in 2024, they’ll be confident knowing Hunter is in the backfield with them.

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Story originally appeared on Auburn Wire