Two key defensive backs announce return for 2023 season

Hugh Freeze received the good news on Friday that several key defensive pieces are returning to the program for the 2023 season.

Defensive backs D.J. James and Nehemiah Pritchett both announced Friday that they plan to return to Auburn to play for Freeze instead of taking their first chance to enter their name into NFL Draft consideration.

Both players started at cornerback for the Tigers last season, with Pritchett returning with the most experience with the program. Pritchett signed with Auburn as a part of the 2019 class out of Jackson High School in Jackson, Alabama, and has played in 42 games over four seasons at Auburn.

Since 2019, Pritchett has recorded 93 tackles, with 4.5 being for a loss. He has also snagged two interceptions over his Auburn career. Pritchett returns to Auburn for his fifth season, which is possible due to the 2020 season where every athlete was granted an extra season of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic that altered the season.

James joined Auburn’s program last season after transferring from Oregon and made an immediate impact.

The junior from Spanish Fort made 37 tackles last season, with one for a loss. He also picked off one pass, which he returned for a touchdown in Auburn’s 41-17 win over Western Kentucky on Nov. 19. He also ended the season with a Pro Football Focus grade of 82.4, which was the highest among Tiger defenders.

In other roster news, wide receiver Shedrick Jackson announced that he will be entering the NFL Draft on his Instagram account. Jackson recorded 66 catches for 874 yards during his Auburn career that spanned from 2018-22.

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Auburn Football's top defensive players of 2022 according to Pro Football Focus

Story originally appeared on Auburn Wire