Four players who could make great strides in spring practice
Spring football is officially here, which means it is time for many players to step up and make a name for themselves.
Many fans will be watching the battles at quarterback and running back this spring, but there are a few individuals that could make great strides during this period, thus creating opportunities to earn playing time in the fall.
The opportunity is there for everyone to earn a role within the team, as head coach Hugh Freeze says that there is no depth chart. Which players could make the most of the spring? An Auburn beat writer has a few ideas.
Richard Silva, the Auburn beat writer for the Montgomery Advertiser, has shared four players that have the most to gain during this stretch due to their personal situations. Here’s a breakdown of who Silva says should make the most of spring practice.
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The Montgomery Advertiser
New defensive coordinator Ron Roberts has introduced a new “jack” linebacker position, which is a pass rusher that plays away from the defensive line. Vanderbilt transfer Elijah McAllister and sophomore Dylan Brooks appear to be the top candidates to take fill those spots in the fall, but Faulk has a chance to make his case for playing time this spring.
Faulk is one of five players on the roster listed as a “jack,” a position in defensive coordinator Ron Roberts’ defense that lines up on the edge and gets after the quarterback but also drops back into coverage. He’s joined by Vanderbilt transfer Elijah McAllister, senior Hayden Brice, sophomore Dylan Brooks and freshman Brenton Williams.
Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics
Tate Johnson played in four games last season, totaling 191 snaps at center according to Pro Football Focus before suffering a season-ending elbow injury during the Missouri game. After Auburn dipped into the transfer portal to upgrade their offensive line, Johnson will need to have a great spring in order to earn a starting spot on the line.
Johnson was in what appeared to be the first-team unit in a 20-minute period of Monday’s practice The Montgomery Advertiser watched. From left to right, that group was Dillon Wade, Johnson, Avery Jones, Kameron Stutts and Gunner Britton. Britton, Jones and Wade are transfers. Johnson will be competing with Stutts and returning starter Jeremiah Wright for the starting guard spots.
Jake Crandall/The Montgomery Advertiser
Hugh Freeze mentioned last week that he hopes to see a receiver become an “alpha”, such as A.J. Brown, D.K. Metcalf, and Laquon Treadwell were for him at Ole Miss. Camden Brown is a tall threat at receiver, which could help him win 50-50 battles.
Brown, who caught touchdowns versus LSU and Arkansas as a freshman last season, at 6-3 is the third-tallest receiver listed on Auburn’s roster, behind only the 6-6 Nick Mardner and Landen King, who is 6-5.
The Columbus Dispatch
Lee, one of Hugh Freeze’s many “flips” of signing day, is getting plenty of chances to make his case for playing time by arriving on campus early and going through spring exercises.
Auburn has four main outside cornerbacks on campus for the spring: D.J. James, Nehemiah Pritchett, J.D. Rhym and Kayin Lee. A few more freshmen will arrive in the fall, but for now, Lee, who is the only freshman among the group, should get plenty of reps and ample time to demonstrate he’s a capable of playing in year one.