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There’s a Lot of Fight Inside This Tiger

NUMBER 33 IS FAST! (photo: Michael Chang/getty images)

Although he finished his high school career as one of two receivers in Arkansas high school history to surpass 2,000 receiving yards in a season and be named a MaxPreps All-American, he didn’t receive any interest from Division I colleges. He also had played soccer, so most schools thought of him as a kicker. However, he wasn’t deterred, and the undersized kicker/receiver walked on at Auburn, eventually earning a scholarship. 

While there are larger and more highly touted receivers on the roster, Will Hastings has proven himself on the field. In last year’s season opener against No. 2 Clemson, he fought hard on blocking assignments and made four catches for 39 yards, three of which were on 3rd or 4th down—all resulting in moving the chains. But the thing that stood out the most was he seemed to have a knack for getting open.

From the first time I saw him in a game, I had a feeling that he might be special. He reminded me of some big-time players from the past that were not gifted with the physical attributes of speed and height usually associated with great receivers, players like Freddy Weygand and Shane Wasden.

The two played for Pat Dye, but on different teams, during the 80’s, and both made great plays that still stand out today. I will always remember the 1989 Florida game when the diminutive (5’ 7”) Wasden got open to catch a Reggie Slack touchdown pass on fourth down and a mile to beat the Gators as time expired. It probably was the single loudest moment in Jordan-Hare stadium till the “Prayer in Jordan-Hare” occurred in 2013.

Both men had great hands and uncanny ability to get open, often coming back to help a quarterback when he was most under pressure. That’s something that new Offensive Coordinator Chip Lindsey said Hastings has:

“He’s the type of receiver that QB’s love to throw to. He seems to be able to get open and know when to sit down and when to stop. The things that sometimes you say are not coachable, if you talk through it and show them, but it’s not really a technique. He’s just got a really good feel, and I think over time in football you’ve seen guys like that.”

And before he’s through, Will could be better than Weygand and Wasden because he has something those two Auburn greats lacked: speed. Auburn safety Tray Matthews told reporters last spring after the A-Day scrimmage how hard it is to catch Hastings in the open field, “He’s White Lightning, man,” Matthews said. “He’s so quick, fast and it’s hard to put your hands on him.”

Yet like Shane Wasden he’s not a big man. He’s listed on the Auburn roster at an optimistic 5’ 10,” 167 pounds, but he looks to be closer to 5’ 8.” Not the ideal size for a wide receiver in major college football. But what’s that old saying? It’s not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog Tiger.

And there is a lot of fight inside Will Hastings!


  1. Derrick Roberts Derrick Roberts says:

    My hero! Good stuff, P-Dub!

  2. AtkinsonTiger AtkinsonTiger says:

    Hastings is fun to watch. Love his enthusiasm.
    Good post ATM.

  3. AubieCE AubieCE says:

    Can’t measure heart…

  4. MyAuburn MyAuburn says:

    I have seen him as a Welker, Eldelman type of receiver only faster. Betcha Belecek (sp) is watching him already.

  5. stuntmanjohn4 stuntmanjohn4 says:

    Great Writing

    • AUFan1 AUFan1 says:

      Agreed ^^^

      Enjoyed the article Tigerman. Hope Will has a big year. Can’t wait to watch him team up with Stidham.

  6. Pine Mt Tiger Pine Mt Tiger says:

    On A-Day it seemed that Jarrett Stidham and Hastings had already built a connection with each other. He was one of Stidham's favorite targets that day. I think he threw about half of his passes to Hastings. So Hastings may wind up having a big year if that continues during the season.

  7. stuntmanjohn4 stuntmanjohn4 says:

    I hope he gets a valid chance to be on the field a lot more. We have play makers that we just couldn't utilize last year due to play calling or just not being able to keep defenses honest.

    I'm a firm believer that our QB this year is a huge upgrade from last year. I love Sean but he could only do so much plus I truly believe that the staff was caught off guard by how bad a passer JF3 was. He was brought in to be the guy and truth be known the first time he threw a while the staff probably said OH CRAP!!!!

    This year is huge for Gus. We are 0-6 the last 3 years against Georgia and Alabama. Will H. should have a good chance to be that safety valve In the passing game that has been missing. Only time will tell.

  8. Im4Auburn says:

    Will caught a touchdown pass and was Jarrett Stidham’s favorite target in the first game!

  9. […] the third quarter when Ryan Davis caught a 19 yarder and the second came when his favorite target, Will Hastings, caught another 19-yard score in the fourth quarter. Stidham became the first quarterback to throw […]

  10. […] threat. However, the Tigers should be okay with Darius Slayton averaging 22.29 yards per catch, Will Hastings 20.94 and Nate Craig-Myers […]