Could Auburn’s Current Receivers Be The Best Ever at Auburn?
Eli Stove with the finger tip catch in an Auburn scrimmage. (photo: auburntigers.com)
Auburn receiver Eli Stove displayed a bit of confidence recently when he stated the 2017 Auburn receiving unit could be the best receiving corps ever at Auburn. On paper, I’d say they have a chance, but let’s pump the brakes. There are a couple sets of receivers that would be hard-pressed to beat in my memory.
The first is the tandem of Frank Sanders and Thomas Bailey. Statistically, these two will not hold up to any modern-day Auburn receiving corps, but fans must recall a few things. Auburn was a control-the-clock, run-first offense while leaning on very good defenses in 1993 and 1994.
Bailey and Sanders combined for 1,269 yards and ten touchdowns in 1993 and 1,406 yards and nine TD’s in 1994. It wasn’t the numbers that impressed me but how clutch the two were. Nothing stands out more than Nix to Sanders, and while I didn’t see it, I heard it. It is, to this day, my favorite play in Auburn history.
The next group would likely be the 2004 trio of Devin Aromashadu, Ben Obamanu, and Courtney Taylor, although 1,609 yards in 2004 doesn’t sound like much, especially in today’s terms.
Like the 1993 and 1994 teams, Auburn had an amazing defense. But, it also had perhaps its best running-back tandem in its history with Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown. Thanks to the run game, the trio stretched defenses to the limits with a vertical passing threat that averaged 17.5 yards per catch. Again, this trio was as clutch as it came, think Campbell to Taylor on 4th-and-forever against LSU.
An honorable mention must go to the 2013–2014 squad of Quan Bray, Sammie Coates, Ricardo Louis, and Duke Williams. There was production that eclipsed the other units, and they certainly had their clutch moments (i.e., The Prayer in Jordan-Hare).
However, this quartet never lived up to its talent or billing, which would have easily secured its members a place as Auburn’s best. All of these guys currently play professional football (Bray, Coates, and Louis in the NFL and Williams in the CFL), but they never developed into polished receivers and struggled mightily at times with the basics of the position.
Could Auburn’s current receivers be the best? Sure. And, according to their billing, they should. They were the highest recruited players at that position that Auburn has ever had. Will they become legends or will they follow the trend currently at Auburn as over-hyped recruits who never develop? If it’s the former, then the Tigers are in for a big season.