AUBURN | Will Hastings is a quick, undersized receiver that looks for openings in short and intermediate routes. Until he’s not.
For at least one play against Mississippi State Saturday, Hastings was much more.
The junior caught a 47-yard touchdown pass on a route that started out as a corner but he turned into a post. He also turned the entire Bulldog secondary around in the process.
There wasn’t a defensive back within seven yards of him when he made the catch.
Dakota Sumpter/Auburn athletics
“He’s a dynamic route runner,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. “When he gets space on people, he’s really tough to handle. He scored on a double move. He did a super job on that play.”
Hastings caught a 46-yard pass at Missouri a week earlier on a nearly identical route.
“It’s almost the same thing I did against Missouri,” Hastings said. “I just looked out like I was doing a seven-cut and hit it back in. We’ve been working on it all week.”
Hastings is second on the team with 12 receptions, leads with 257 receiving yards and is tied for the team-lead with two touchdown receptions.
All this for a 5-foot-10, 167-pounds player that was originally invited to walk-on as a on-side kick specialist.
“A lot of people back home think you look like you’re 13, so no one really gives you a chance. So I definitely think that helps out size-wise. They don’t really think I’m a threat, and then I can be,” Hastings said.
No. 12 Auburn hosts Ole Miss Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 11 a.m. CT on SEC Network.