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Hamm a 'very special talent'

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What makes Auburn's Brodarious Hamm a 'very special talent' on offensive line? 'He's a mauler'

Updated Mar 12, 2:05 PM; Posted Mar 12, 2:05 PM

Auburn offensive lineman Brodarious Hamm (59) works out Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017, during fall football practice at the Auburn Athletic Complex in Auburn, Ala. (Julie Bennett/jbennett@al.com)

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By Tom Green

tgreen@al.com

Brodarious Hamm's long road to Auburn could finally see a payoff this season.

Hamm, who originally signed with Auburn in 2016 before being diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma more than a month later, was cleared to return to the field last spring and now a year later is competing for time at left guard for the Tigers.

"We're very excited about Brodarious and everything that he's went through," Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. "The coaches believe he has a very special talent. I know he's very coachable. He wants to be good. So this will be a very key spring for him to get the pads on and see what he can do."

Hamm, a former three-star offensive tackle, redshirted last season but was one of a group of young offensive linemen to display a sense of urgency during Auburn's practices leading up to the Peach Bowl.

Now, the 6-foot-5, 344-pounder has parlayed that late-season surge into an opportunity to compete for a starting job. Hamm has the ability to play either tackle or guard, but Malzahn said the Tigers plan to work him predominantly at guard this spring.

"His body type can do both, but as a young guy, you always want to try to get a young guy and put them in one position so they can actually get some reps and continuity and not have to think and just be able to react," Malzahn said. "But you could see his ability and his skill set where he could play guard or tackle. We're going to start him out at guard, and I expect the majority of his reps at this spring to be at guard."

Auburn hopes to settle on starting OL by end of spring

Auburn must replace four starters along the offensive line and will take a different approach under new position coach J.B. Grimes.

During the first two weeks of spring practices, Hamm was seen working with both the first- and second-team offenses during pace drills.

While Hamm was lined up with the second-team offensive line during the first day of practice that was open to media last month, he saw time with the first-team unit during last Tuesday's open portion of practice. Hamm lined up at left guard, with Prince Tega Wanogho Jr. at left tackle, Kaleb Kim at center, Mike Horton at right guard and Calvin Ashley at right tackle. Those four were also on the starting unit in the first practice, when Marquel Harrell lined up at left guard -- where he started six games last season.

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According to Horton, one of the elder statesmen along the offensive line after Auburn lost four starters from last season, Hamm has been "showing a lot of improvement" this spring and has taken well to the coaching style of new offensive line coach J.B. Grimes.

So what is it about Hamm and his progression from Year 1 to Year 2 that makes him such a "special talent" on the line?

"(He's) just physical, he's a big guy," Horton said. "He's a mauler, like once he gets that technique and the details that Coach Grimes is going to bring, he's going to be a great player. He has that nasty like you talk about. He pushes guys around and he doesn't take no for an answer."

Tom Green is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Tomas_Verde.

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