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Auburn’s Top Two Receivers Will Make It in the NFL

By on April 30th, 2013 in Football 6 Comments »

          Emory Blake scored a touchdown in Auburn’s 2010 BCS Championship win over Oregon.

Auburn Wide Receiver Emory Blake joined Tight End Phillip Lutzenkirchen and Safety Daren Bates yesterday in signing as an undrafted free agent with the St. Louis Rams.

In giving Bates a chance, the Rams have signed one of the hardest working guys to ever come off  The Plains. A line backer / safety hybrid, Bates will be trying to make the team as a safety.

By inking Lutz and Blake, St. Louis signed the Tigers top two receivers. Before the 2012 season Emory was named to the watch list for the Biletnikoff Award, given annually to the nation’s top receiver while Philip was on  the watch list for the John Mackey Award, given annually to the nation’s top tight end.

With the disastrous season the Tigers experienced in 2012, the two didn’t have the type senior year that most expected from them. The shuffling quarterbacks, the confused offensive play calling and an injury shortened season for Phillip prevented them from putting up the numbers that would have made their draft status soar.

However, Blake has been the leading receiver, the go to guy for Auburn in three of his four years as a Tiger. He led the team in touchdown receptions during Auburn’s National Championship season and caught the longest scoring pass (94 yards against Louisiana-Monroe) in Auburn history.

It seemed that whenever Auburn needed someone to make the big play, Blake was the guy. He scored the first touchdown in the Tigers classic comeback victory over Alabama in 2010 and scored touchdowns in the SEC and National Championship games.

His most memorable play for me was when I witnessed him catch a 30 yarder and run it into in the end zone where I was seated at the BCS Championship game.

And of course Lutzenkirchen is an Auburn legend. A status that was solidified by

“The Catch.” It was a moment that will forever be enshrined in Auburn Football lore. Every Auburn fan knows the story but I recount it here because it never grows old.

After trailing Alabama 24-0 in the 75th Iron Bowl, Auburn mounted a furious comeback caped off with a fourth quarter 7 yard touchdown reception by Lutzenkirchen, sealing Auburn’s epic come from behind victory over Alabama 28-27.

However, it was just one of many spectacular catches for Phillip in his collegiate career, there were many others. The one that is seared in my memory happened right in front of me as I sat on row 22 of section 15 in Jordan-Hare Stadium. It was another famous catch by the master Tight End.

In 2011, with just under 5 minutes left in the fourth quarter against Ole Miss, Auburn faced a 3rd and goal from the Rebels’ 5 yard line. Clint Moseley threw a short pass to Lutzenkirchen, who had to twist around to his right to catch the ball with one hand, then dive for the goal line to avoid a defender, while at the same time switching the ball to his left hand and stretching it out just inches inside the pylon for a touchdown.

Despite a mid-season hip injury that ended his senior season, Phillip holds the Auburn records both for most touchdown catches by a tight end in a season (7) and in a career (14).  His 59 career catches are the second most for an Auburn tight end and his 628 yards receiving is the third most on the list for Tiger tight ends.

Blake finished his Auburn career in third place on Auburn’s All-time list of  the most 100-yard receiving games (8). He is fifth on the All-time receiving yards list with 2,022 and ranks fifth in touchdown receptions with 16. His 50 catches last year led the Tigers even as the quarterbacks struggled.

It’s still amazes me that neither one of  Auburn’s top two receivers were drafted. But all these guys need is a chance. They’ve proven what they can do when given the opportunity. And based on what we’ve seen from them the past four years,  I’m willing to bet that both of them will make it in the NFL.


  1. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..Those famous Blake scores are a product of the “out and up” route. You put a DB out there covering the slot receiver, and Malzhan will bring pulling guards to that side and run the heck over him! Put a linebacker out there, and you dink-dink-dink ’em with the quick screen, then the out and up. Linebacker vs. Blake? Not unless it was Ray Lewis…

    …..That combo was back on A-Day, as a staple of the base Auburn offense. And no, Ellis Johnson’s guys didn’t do so well covering it either in Atlanta in 2010, or on A-Day.

  2. War_Eagle_2010 War_Eagle_2010 says:

    I bet since Jeff Fisher was attending/watching so many Auburn games last year, due to his son being on the team, he saw the great potential in Lutz, Blake, and Bates and got them to sign with the Rams. I bet all three make the roster since they were probably the three hardest workers on the 2012 team. War Eagle!

  3. GreenvilleAUfan GreenvilleAUfan says:

    Good memories. No doubt about it Blake and Lutz will make it in the NFL. I never saw Terry Beasley play but Lutz has the best hands of any Auburn receiver I’ve ever seen. He might be the best ever. Also how cool it would be for all three to make the Rams’ roster and play together again.

  4. LSU Jonno says:

    After I got over the shock of Blake not getting drafted, I was hoping the Saints would sign him to a free agent contract.

    Good luck to him.

  5. buddy Ro shaka4244 says:

    A Blake catch that comes to mind for me first was the bobbled TD catch & run in the 2010 Iron Bowl right before halftime. HUGE play leading to the most incredible comeback I’ve ever seen.

    Blake also had a good one early that year against Miss St. away… a tough game. He took a simple screen pass and scored streaking down the right sideline.

  6. tigertracker says:

    The greatest disservice auburn ever did for Darren bates was moving him from safety to linebacker. Bates was being a team player by making the change, but watch film from ’09 when he played as a true frosh at safety. If left alone the kid would have been all sec and who knows, maybe all American. He is a natural at safety and had the instincts. Here’s hoping he can knock the rust off and find them just below the surface. Fisher is a great coach and very smart. He probably liked all those guys all along, but gambled that no one else would take them for various reasons and got himself 3 absolute steals. It’s all business so I don’t blame him and don’t feel sorry for our 3 guys. I THINK the league minimum is about $350k per year so while it sucks for them based on what they could have had they’re still a heck of alot better off than the rest of us working joes. War eagle!