Decoding Auburn’s Depth Chart
War Eagle everyone. Earlier this week, Auburn released its final depth chart for the close of spring practice. Let’s take a look and see whose been working hard and whose been hardly working.
Quarterbacks: Kiehl Frazier OR Jonathan Wallace
Somewhat of an interesting choice of words here; depending on how you look at it. The lack of separation is frustrating, but I honestly didn’t expect any other result. Besides, the quarterback competition wasn’t going to officially kick off until Nick Marshall’s arrival on campus this summer.
My gut tells me that Wallace and Marshall will be the two candidates that rise above the rest this fall. Also, don’t forget about incoming freshman Jeremy Johnson. Though he’ll likely redshirt, his presence should have a big positive impact on the quarterback competition if he shows up ready to make an impact immediately.
Running Back: Tre Mason OR Cameron-Artis Payne OR Corey Grant
No huge surprises here. Going into 2013 this was Mason’s spot to lose (and still is), but an injury early in spring workouts gave Cameron Artis-Payne a chance to take more reps and make a great first impression with Auburn coaches. The good news for all of three of these gentlemen is that in Malzahn’s offense, if you’re even in the running back conversation, you are likely to get a significant amount of carries throughout the season.
Although he isn’t listed on the depth chart, Jay Prosch will be absolutely vital to the running back position on offense. If Malzahn can find a way for him to create lanes for Mason and Payne, it will allow him to give Corey Grant a more versatile role on the offense.
Slot Receiver: 1st – Quan Bray 2nd – Corey Grant
Again, no surprises, until you see Grant backing him up. Quan Bray is going to be someone that this team depends on to make big plays this season in order for the offense to have a high level of success. What jumps out at me about this position is its possible versatility. With Bray and Grant both having the ability to play the role of either a running back or receiver on any given play, they have the potential to create huge matchup problems for opposing defenses.
X receiver: 1st – Jaylon Denson 2nd – Sammie Coates
What we have here is the result of a tremendous spring performance. Though Coates has somewhat struggled, the credit belongs to Denson for seizing his opportunity and establishing himself as a legitimate threat on offense. With that said, Coates is a talented playmaker that I’d like to see push for playing time. He’s an upper-classmen and a leader for this team. Congratulations Jaylon. Step it up Sammie.
Tight End/Y Receiver: 1st – C.J. Uzomah 2nd – Brandon Fulse
If only I had a nickel for every time I’ve told someone that C.J. Uzomah was on the cusp of breaking out and becoming Auburn football’s next big thing. He’s got talent and size. He’s basically an Under Armour mannequin. If Uzomah can finally find his niche in Malzahn’s offense, the sky’s the limit for this young man.
Flanker: 1st – Trovon Reed 2nd – Ricardo Louis
I can reason with most of the other positions on the depth chart, but this one seems like an outright challenge from the coaches to Ricardo Louis. I think he’s got the tools to overtake Reed and gain a majority of the playing time between the two of them respectively.
Left Tackle: 1st – Greg Robinson 2nd – Shon Coleman
Left Guard: 1st – Alex Kozan 2nd – Devonte Danzey
Center: 1st – Reese Dismukes 2nd – Tunde Fariyike
Right Guard: 1st – Chad Slade 2nd – Jordan Diamond
Right Tackle: 1st- Patrick Miller 2nd – Avery Young
First of all, how nice is it to finally see Shon Coleman’s name pop up on the depth chart? I can’t wait to see him in action on the field. There’s a lot of young talent in this group. If they can find a rhythm early in the season and grow together throughout the remaining games, Auburn will have one of the best up and coming offensive lines in the country by the season’s end.
Switching to defense…
Defensive Ends: 1st – Dee Ford 2nd- Craig Sanders; 1st – Ken Carter 2nd – Nosa Eguae
Defensive Tackles: 1st – Jeff Whitaker 2nd – Ben Bradley; 1st – Gabe Wright 2nd – Angelo Blackson
I see a lot of names that I’m not sure about, and a few that belong to untested guys. As with most positions on defense, I just want to see more solid and physical play out of this unit. I don’t care what name is on the back of the jerseys that are doing it.
Mike Linebacker: 1st – Kris Frost 2nd – Jake Holland 3rd – LaDarious Owens
Will Linebacker: 1st – Cassanova McKinzy 2nd – Javiere Mitchell 3rd – LaDarious Owens
Frost and McKinzy are two refreshing names to hear at the top an Auburn linebacker depth chart. There will certainly be growing pains, but the linebacker position will be a lot more like what Auburn fans imagine when they think of tough Auburn defenses.
I’m not predicting instant success, but I do think that the athleticism and physicality here will be a substantial improvement over the past two seasons. I look for Owens to make a move in fall camp and possibly overtake either Holland or Mitchell.
Cornerbacks: 1st – Chris Davis 2nd – Ryan White; 1st – Jonathan Mincy 2nd- Jonathan Jones
This should be a solid group for the Tigers this fall. It will be interesting to see how they defend after going through the coaching change.
Star Safety: 1st – Justin Garrett 2nd – Robenson Therezie
Boundary Safety: 1st – Josh Holsey 2nd – Trent Fisher 3rd – Demetruce McNeal
Field Safety: 1st – Jermaine Whitehead 2nd – T.J. Davis 3rd – Demetruce McNeal
I am not at all certain on how this group could/should perform this season. I am not that familiar with the Ellis Johnson defense. McNeal should arrive back in fall camp with a new attitude and his sights set on earning his playing time back.