Monday Musings From Auburn
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On Saturday Kerryon Johnson became the fifth Auburn player to finish in the top 10 of the Heisman Trophy voting since 2000. The running back was ninth in this year’s voting. That’s a phenomenal accomplishment, especially considering the SEC’s Offensive Player of the Year missed three games with a hamstring injury and played hurt in both the Iron Bowl and the SEC Championship Game.
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman in a runaway vote, but one has to wonder what might have been if KJ had been healthy all year. Question now is will the junior return for his senior season or turn pro after the Peach Bowl?
Speaking of awards it still is almost unfathomable that Daniel Carlson will leave Auburn without winning the Lou Groza Award as the nation’s best kicker. He’s the only 3-time finalist for the prestigious award never to be selected as the overall winner. This despite the fact that he’s the SEC’s leader and is second nationally in career points scored (471). In addition, he’s never missed an extra point out of 195 attempts in his career. And, he’s kicked four field goals of 50 yards or longer this season.
Daniel is the epitome of an Auburn man, ever striving to be his best yet humble and congratulatory toward this year’s winner Matt Gay of Utah. “Individual awards are fun, ” said Carlson. “But that’s just the cherry on top. Matt had an incredible season. Happy for him.”
While the Auburn senior did not get the honor, one thing’s for certain. You can bet the All-American will be helping an NFL team win games next fall.
Carlson was joined by Braden Smith, and Carlton Davis in being named to the Walter Camp All-America Team, making Auburn football the only SEC team to have three players named!
Kudos to Coach Bruce Pearl for getting his Tigers off to an 8–1 start, despite Auburn basketball being without its two best players (Austin Wiley and Danjel Purifoy). In their absence, Mustapha Heron has stepped up in a big way, averaging 16 points a game.
However, Heron was unable to play against UAB Saturday due to back spasms. No problem as Pearl reached further into the depth chart to pull off a win against the Blazers. “You don’t have to have an ‘S’ on your chest,” Pearl told his players, “but you better represent that ‘AU’ on your uniform.” And they did, beating the Blazers 85–80 at the Auburn Arena. The 8–1 record is the best start for Auburn basketball since 2011.
The Tigers now get a few days rest after playing three games in six days. Auburn faces Middle Tennessee this Saturday in Birmingham. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m. CT. Until next time …