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Christian Tutt on punt returns

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Freshman Christian Tutt a ‘pleasant surprise’ on punt return | Football

Josh Vitale | AU Writer Follow on Twitter Like on Facebook

Auburn went into the spring knowing it had a veteran, experienced option at punt returner in senior wide receiver Ryan Davis.

It left after learning it had another green yet potentially explosive option in true freshman defensive back Christian Tutt.

“That was a real pleasant surprise,” said running backs coach Tim Horton, who also coaches Auburn’s punt returners. “He’s going to be dynamic back there. He does a good job catching it, and he is aggressive when he gets it. So it’s really encouraging to have a freshman that you’ve got a lot of confidence with already.”

Davis might go into the fall as the favorite to win the job, but it is open for Tutt to compete. Senior safety Stephen Roberts accounted for 17 of Auburn’s 21 punt returns last season and averaged 6.8 yards on those attempts. The only other player to return a punt was Davis, who totaled 42 yards on two tries.

But Davis is also being counted on to be Auburn’s No. 1 receiver after catching a program-record 84 passes for a team-high 815 yards last season. Tutt, a four-star early enrollee out of Thompson, Ga., emerged as one of the top reserves a corner behind Jamel Dean, Javaris Davis and Noah Igbinoghene, but he likely won’t play a starring role on defense in his rookie campaign.

The 5-foot-11, 195-pound Tutt performed well with the ball in his hands as a senior at Thompson High, too, averaging 19.8 yards on 29 carries, 15.8 yards on 18 receptions, 23 yards on 19 kickoff returns and 13.1 yards on 10 punt returns. He totaled 12 touchdowns on those touches.

“If he keeps doing like he’s doing in the spring, he’s King (Tutt) right now,” Horton joked.

That type of explosive ability on punt return might appeal to Auburn after last season, when its 8.52-yard average per return ranked outside the top 50 nationally. The Tigers ranked in the top 30 in each of Gus Malzahn’s first four seasons as head coach and averaged more than 10 yards per return in each of those years with Chris Davis, Quan Bray and Marcus Davis as the return men.

Will Hastings (who tore his ACL), Asa Martin and Griffin King were among the other players Auburn tried at punt return during the spring.

“Once we get to fall camp we’ll narrow some things down,” Malzahn said. “Obviously, Ryan Davis has done it in a game and we kind of know what we have as far as he is concerned. The rest of the guys, they’re in competition, and everything will be evaluated.”

Josh Vitale is the Auburn beat writer for the Opelika-Auburn News. You can follow him on Twitter at @AUBlog. To reach him by email, click here.

 

 

 
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I hope Shivers gets his shot this spring. I would love to see them trying to hem up that waterbug in the open field. 

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17 hours ago, Eagle-1 said:

I hope Shivers gets his shot this spring. I would love to see them trying to hem up that waterbug in the open field. 

I hope he gets a chance this summer since he wasn't here in the spring :)

Completely agree though.  I think he is going to be a spitfire that has explosive plays frequently

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3 minutes ago, LKEEL75 said:

I hope he gets a chance this summer since he wasn't here in the spring :)

Completely agree though.  I think he is going to be a spitfire that has explosive plays frequently

Definitely. Kind of douchey of me to say, but I do like "spitfire" more than "waterbug". Speed is what most separates him from the pack, but he is going to initiate contact. 

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36 minutes ago, McLoofus said:

Definitely. Kind of douchey of me to say, but I do like "spitfire" more than "waterbug". Speed is what most separates him from the pack, but he is going to initiate contact. 

Yeah, I think people are going to be surprised by his power on that initial contact and he is going to bounce off and keep trucking.

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