Midseason superlatives

Bryan Matthews, Senior Editor
Auburn Sports
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Robin Conn/AuburnSports.com

AUBURN | No. 10 Auburn has started the season 5-1 including 3-0 in the SEC. Here’s a look at how the AuburnSports.com staff picks its midseason player awards.

OFFENSIVE MVP — Kerryon Johnson

Others receiving votes: Jarrett Stidham, Braden Smith and Ryan Davis

Despite missing two games with a hamstring injury, Johnson leads the nation with 12 rushing touchdowns including 11 in the last three conference games. He’s averaging 126.0 rushing yards per game, which would rank first in the SEC and 10th nationally. Johnson is coming off a career-best performance with 204 yards on 28 carries against Ole Miss.

OFFENSIVE PLAYMAKER — Jarrett Stidham

Others receiving votes: Kerryon Johnson and Ryan Davis

Stidham leads the SEC in completion percentage (.712) and pass efficiency (166.2). In three SEC games, he’s completed 40-of-54 passes (74.1 percent) for 717 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions. He’s completed passes of 75, 58, 57, 52, 49, 47, 46 and 31 yards in the last three games. Overall, Stidham has thrown for 1,345 yards and seven touchdowns.

OFFENSIVE MOST IMPROVED — Will Hastings

Others receiving votes: Ryan Davis, Austin Golson, Nate Craig-Myers, Mike Horton, Kam Martin and Kerryon Johnson

A former walk-on, Hastings has developed into a reliable and big-play threat at receiver. He is second on the team with 13 catches, his 270 receiving yards lead the team and his two receiving touchdowns are second. Hastings is averaging 20.8 yards per catch, which is third-best among Auburn’s receivers.

OFFENSIVE MOST RELIABLE — Braden Smith

Others receiving votes: Will Hastings, Austin Golson, Eli Stove, Kerryon Johnson and Chandler Cox

Smith has started 33 consecutive games, the most of any current player. The All-American has become a fixture at right guard for Auburn and projects as one of the top offensive linemen in the 2018 NFL Draft. Smith is a powerful run blocker that Johnson has had a lot of success running behind.

OFFENSIVE FUTURE MVP — Noah Igbinoghene and Devan Barrett (tie)

(freshman or redshirt freshman)

Other receiving votes: Malik Willis

Igbinoghene and Barrett, both true freshmen, are part of the playing rotation on offense and special teams. A receiver by trade, Igbinoghene has Auburn’s second-longest play this season, a 70-yard kick return against Ole Miss. Barrett, a running back, has nine carries for 51 yards and has caught four passes for 18 yards.

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Robin Conn/AuburnSports.com

DEFENSIVE MVP — Jeff Holland

Others receiving votes: Marlon Davidson, Deshaun Davis, Derrick Brown and Tre’ Williams

After backing up Carl Lawson last season, Holland has stepped into the starting role this fall and been a force at Buck linebacker. Holland has 16 tackles and lead the team with 6.5 tackles-for-loss, 4.5 sacks and 10 quarterback hurries. He’s become one of the emotional leaders of a defense that ranks sixth nationally in points allowed.

DEFENSIVE PLAYMAKER — Marlon Davidson

Others receiving votes: Jeff Holland, Stephen Roberts, Carlton Davis, Darrell Williams and Deshaun Davis

Davidson has played 18 of 19 career games beginning as a true freshman last season, missing only the Mercer game four weeks ago to rest a pair of injuries. Davidson is a playmaker at defensive end with 4.0 tackles-for-loss and 2.0 sacks, and also a tough matchup when he slides inside during passing situations. He also has a forced fumble and a recovered fumble he returned 33 yards.

DEFENSIVE MOST IMPROVED — Jeremiah Dinson

Others receiving votes: Darrell Williams, Nick Coe, Andrew Williams, Jeff Holland, Montavious Atkinson and Javaris Davis

Dinson has hit the ground running after missing a year and a half with a pair of major injuries suffered against Texas A&M in 2015. He’s started all six games at nickel and his 15 solo tackles are tied for third on the team. He also has 1.5 tackles-for-loss, now pass breakup and one fumble recovery.

DEFENSIVE MOST RELIABLE — Deshaun Davis

Others receiving votes: Dontavius Russell, Derrick Brown, Carlton Davis, Tray Matthews and Jeff Holland

Davis is tied for the team lead with 29 tackles. He’s 5-foot-11 and lacks explosive speed, but makes up for those so-called deficiencies with great instincts and a physical mindset. Davis plays assignment football and does a great job of knowing his job and that of everyone around him.

DEFENSIVE FUTURE MVP — Nick Coe (unanimous)

(freshman or redshirt freshman)

Others receiving votes: Big Kat Bryant, Jordyn Peters and Chandler Wooten

A redshirt freshman, Coe has shown his versatility with the ability to play defensive end, Buck or slide inside to tackle. Coe has started just one game but is second on the team with four quarterback hurries. He has 15 tackles, 2.0 tackles-for-loss and 0.5 sacks. Coe plays with a lot of intensity and has the look of a future star for the Tigers.

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