Jump to content
Null

State of the Roster


Recommended Posts





On 5/2/2022 at 1:49 PM, Zeek said:

I think the best way to look forward to the upcoming season, recruiting class, and future is by combing through the roster and making honest assessments about each position group. Players are listed in order of their class; I am using the grades listed on Auburn's roster.

Quarterback (4)

  1. TJ Finley (JR)
  2. Zach Calzada (SO)
  3. Robby Ashford (RS-FR)
  4. Holden Geriner (FR)

One thing I like about Harsin's roster management so far is that he seems more inclined to redshirt players; though he could better utilize the four game rule in that regard. I think we added some great depth this offseason here after Bo Nix and Dee Davis departed for Oregon and Alabama State respectively. If TJ Finley were to hold down the starting position then Calzada/Ashford/Geriner are much better depth than what we had last season.

What happens here likely depends on how Calzada's recovery progresses in the offseason. If Calzada isn't back to fullspeed during the summer it is hard to believe he'll grab the starting spot with such a short time with the team. Gelling and getting into sync with receivers and the offensive line takes time. I could see him playing QB2 until something goes south but Harsin has shown he is willing to play multiple quarterbacks when needed.

My ranking of the quarterbacks would look like this: Calzada, Ashford, Finley. I haven't seen enough of Holden Geriner to place him and knowing this staff he will likely redshirt for the future. It is hard to imagine him taking the spot from two guys with SEC starting experience and Ashford who shined during the spring game.

As far as roster management is concerned we obviously need a QB in the upcoming recruiting class but otherwise we have the grade levels spread out well. I do expect that TJ Finley transfers out if he loses the starting job which means another transfer might be needed to keep the number at four total scholarship quarterbacks. 

Position GradeC+ the average is high but the ceiling is low

Running Back (5)

  1. Tank Bigbsy (JR)
  2. Jarquez Hunter (SO)
  3. Sean Jackson (SO)
  4. Jordon Ingram (SO)
  5. Damari Alston (FR)

The order I would assume they'll be in terms of number of carries would be Bigsby, Hunter, Alston, Jackson, and then Ingram with a big gap after Alston. I think Hunter and Alston could both be RB1 on other teams but there is some improvement I would like to see Hunter develop a little more patience and short yardage ability; with his size and strength he was stuffed on numerous short yardage situations. Alston is more of a shifty pass catcher that will need to develop as a pass blocker and learn what freshmen often don't know... you gotta get uphill and not dance against SEC athletes.

Tank also needs to take the next step. I think he gets frustrated when he doesn't quite break a big run. I am not sure but if he could lose some mass in exchange for added speed it might help him turn 5 yard runs into 15 every now and then. Just spit balling but last year definitely felt like a drop off for him in the wow factor. The offensive line hasn't been stellar either though to be fair.

It is my belief that, barring an injury or a mediocre season, Tank will enter the draft at the end of this season. Hunter and Alston will be suitable replacements but a top tier running back in this recruiting class is needed. I like keeping us at three highly serviceable backs. Adding a 4-5* RB this class would give us one junior, one sophomore, and one freshman next year. This would be great roster management after a lot of running back turnover in the past.

Position Grade: A+ might be the best backfield in the SEC

Wide Receiver (9)

  1. Shedrick Jackson (SR)
  2. Ja'Varrius Johnson (JR)
  3. Malcolm Johnson Jr. (JR)
  4. Ze'Vian Capers (JR)
  5. JJ Evans (SO)
  6. Ta'varish Dawson Jr. (RS-FR)
  7. Jay Fair (FR)
  8. Camden Brown (FR)
  9. Omari Kelly (FR)

Eventually Auburn has to get lucky and land a stud receiver that can be the feature guy right? It feels like we have been waiting for that 1k yard receiver forever and Seth Williams is the closest we have been able to mange. Shedrick is a nice possession receiver but he's not the guy to take the top off a defense and he's not a super sharp route runner. Malcolm Johnson only catches big play touchdowns but then disappears for long stretches. Capers flashes potential but doesn't get the targets we would like to see. Everyone else we just need to prove they can do it on Saturday. 

Another season, another spring where we are hoping somebody steps up.

Shed is the only player we will lose after this season at wide receiver. I also think we start to see Landen King featured as a that mismatch in the slot more so he could be grouped here. It would be wise of the staff to add three more receivers assuming one graduates and at least one transfers. While we have been hot on the trail of a stud recruit it does concern me I have only seen one name at the position really generating any buzz. Taking only one in this class would be a miscalculation in my opinion; though I know we've been hunting another one through the portal right now.

Position Grade: C-

Tight End (6)

  1. John Samuel Shenker (SR)
  2. Tyler Fromm (JR)
  3. Luke Deal (JR)
  4. Brandon Frazier (JR)
  5. Landen King (SO)
  6. Micah Riley-Ducker (FR)

I was incredibly surprised at how we did not utilize the depth of our tight ends. Samuel Shenker was used well but seemed like he was the only guy getting meaningful reps and opportunities. The freshman MRD is much more similar to King than Shenker and I think that is the direction we see the position shifting towards on the plains. Smaller but more of a vertical threat in the passing game.

Shenker will be out of eligibility after this year and I could see one of the three juniors transferring to get on the field in their senior year. I know the staff has been working hard on a highly rated TE recruit but it might be worth taking two if they feel a transfer is inevitable and if King really becomes a large slot type.

Position Grade: B+ if utilized better it could easily be an "A" rating

Offensive Line (15)

  1. Jalil Irvin (SR)
  2. Nick Brahms (SR)
  3. Brenden Coffey (SR)
  4. Kameron Stutts (SR)
  5. Alec Jackson (SR)
  6. Austin Troxell (SR)
  7. Brandon Council (SR)
  8. Kilian Zierer (SR)
  9. Tate Johnson (JR)
  10. Keiondre Jones (JR)
  11. Jeremiah Wright (JR)
  12. Avery Jernigan (SO)
  13. Colby Smith (RS-FR)
  14. Garner-Langlo (RS-FR)
  15. EJ Harris (FR)

This position pisses me off I'm not going to lie. Not sure what the university is paying Will Friend to actually do here. The guy saw how many seniors we had last year and only managed to sign one offensive lineman, he missed on every single portal target, and I still haven't seen our offensive line open up a hole for a running back in years. Luckily, for him and us, a bunch of the seniors decided to use their 12th year and bail us out from what could have a catastrophe.

Side note, what in the hell do we gotta do to get guys like Yella-Fella to throw a $1m NIL deal at a daggum 5* OT???

Seriously though we need this recruiting class to have at least three offensive linemen from high school and probably two or more from the portal. There is some better momentum in this year's class but we have to actually close on these guys. Hopefully Langlo and Smith (both over 6'7") have been devleoping well and will be ready for action. 

Position Grade: C-

Defensive Line (13)

Defensive End:

  1. Colby Wooden (JR)
  2. Tobechi Okoli (RS-FR)

Defensive Line:

  1. Marcus Harris (JR)
  2. Garrison Walker (JR)
  3. Jeffrey M'ba (SO)
  4. Jayson Jones (SO)

Defensive Tackle:

  1. Zykeivous Walker (JR)
  2. Marquis Burks (SR)
  3. Marquis Robinson (RS-FR)
  4. Enyce Sledge (FR)

Edge:

  1. Eku Leota (SR)
  2. Derick Hall (SR)
  3. Dylan Brooks (RS-FR)

What a group. There is a lot of potential here that just needs to come together. Rushing three at frustrating times will not cut it. If this group isn't one of the better defensive line units in the SEC this year than we have a coaching issue. Jayson Jones and Jeffrey M'ba are physical monsters among men. Leota and Hall are draft caliber players at Edge. Brooks and Robinson are highly rated guys with a lot of upside. Walker has had three years now to develop and Wooden is an animal.

Heck even a lower rated recruit, Enyce Sledge, is 6'4" with great acceleration off the snap. Marcus Harris can't be slepped on and made plays at times last year. The best part? The only seniors are Burks/Hall/Leota. There is some production to pick up but I feel confident we are heading in the right direction. We failed to get an Edge recruit in this class; which is baffling considering we had a coach who was almost solely focused on the position. Still, there are a lot of edge guys seemingly warm on the idea of playing for the Tigers. Would love to get back to the days of having a Dee Ford type guy on the edge every year.

Position Grade: B+ the potential is sky high

Linebacker (9)

  1. Owen Pappoe (SR)
  2. Eugene Asante (JR)
  3. Desmond Tisdol (JR)
  4. Wesley Steiner (JR)
  5. Cam Riley (JR)
  6. Kameron Brown (JR)
  7. Joko Willis (SO)
  8. Powell Gordon (FR)
  9. Robert Woodyard Jr. (FR)

We have really been lucky riding Wooten/Pappoe/Zakoby for what feels like forever. Now Wooten and Zakoby are gone with Pappoe entering the draft after this season. The staff has also coasted off a huge class a few years ago that now gives us five juniors at the position. Joko Willis still needs to put on mass, Gordon is raw, and Woodyard is incredibly talented but will have to overcome his recovery first.

This is another position we desperately need to recruit well. Asante adds some depth but I'm not overly sold on him based on his prior production. Steiner seems a step slow. Riley has promise but is almost more of an edge at this point. They all have the athleticism but haven't shown the consistent ability to be surefire starters. We have also seen our linebackers abused in passing situations over the years.

Position Grade: B-

Cornerback (7)

  1. Nehemiah Pritchett (SR)
  2. DJ James (JR)
  3. Jaylin Simpson (JR)
  4. Keionte Scott (SO)
  5. AD Diamond (RS-FR)
  6. JD Rhym (FR)
  7. Austin Ausberry (FR)

The good news? Only Pritchett will leave after this year. The bad news? We're going to be young and see some freshman mistakes in the secondary. The other good news? Rhym, Ausberry, James, and Scott have the highest overall potential of any group we have had in a while. All four can legitimately be candidates to be the next McCreary/Dean/Davis/Iggy draftable corner we have been pumping out.

We need two to three more in this class to build up our numbers and depth a little more. This group will be relying on our front seven to make their lives a little easier this season. If there isn't much of a pass rush again then we are going to be in for a long season on defense.

Position Grade: C+ for now with a really high ceiling

Safety (5)

  1. Zion Puckett (JR)
  2. Donovan Kaufman (SO)
  3. Cayden Bridges (SO)
  4. Marquise Gilbert (SO)
  5. Caleb Wooden (FR)

We desperately need more talent on the back end of the secondary. Etheridge and others are working hard to make this happen with a certain 5* Alabama commit right now. However, this year it will be a battle for playing time among the guys we have. Kaufman is a baller but is rather undersized and serves us best as a nickel type player. Puckett is serviceable and there are high hopes that Gilbert might be an instant starter for us. Wooden is a tween-er that might eventually drop down into a linebacker type roll; think Smoke Monday with somewhat better speed but even more raw.

Similar to the corners above, this is a young group of players that will have some bumps along the way but has a lot of upside. Puckett/Gilbert might be our best starting two with Kaufman serving that "star" nickel role in passing scenarios. We could definitely use some speed and help over the top as teams become more and more pass heavy.

Position Grade: C+

Kicker (2)

  1. Anders Carlson (SR)
  2. Alex McPherson (FR)

It has been hard for Anders to follow his brother, Auburn's greatest kicker of all time who is crushing it in the pros, but Anders has mostly done a great job with some wow moments. McPherson is legitimately a four year starting kicker at any program in the country but with Carlson using his bonus year he may not play. The one thing that interests me is how quickly Carlson returns from surgery though as the staff may hold him out until he is 100%. It is absolutely factual we have the best two-deep at kicker in the country.

Position Grade: A-

Punter (1)

  1. Oscar Chapman (JR)

Oscar was the 2nd best punter in the SEC last year. He will hold the position down for two more years providing consistency for the Tigers. He might not have a cannon for a leg but he prevents teams from returning the punt more often than not. Chapman has a very high fair catch rate.

Position Grade: A-

Long Snapper (2)

  1. Jacob Quattlebaum (SR)
  2. Kyle Vaccarella (RS-FR)

I honestly know nothing about this. Just that Kyle was a "6-star" long snapper based on the niche rankings that they give out for the position. So Auburn should be in good hands for a long time.

Position Grade: A+

 

 

In summary:

  • Offensive Line, Linebacker, Edge, and WR recruiting are absolutely pivotal moving forward and there hasn't been a lot of reports that those things are going particularly well. They're a long way from over but that is something to watch in the recruiting forum.
  • Our Defensive Backs and Defensive Line groups have high ceilings but have to prove it.
  • Quarterback average increased but did the top?
  • Running Backs have no reason not to be the best position group
  • Tight End group needs to utilize their depth.

 

My schedule prediction assuming someone other than TJ starts:

  • Mercer - WIN
  • San Jose State - WIN
  • Penn State - WIN
  • Missouri - WIN
  • LSU - WIN
  • @ Georgia - LOSS
  • @ Ole Miss - LOSS
  • Arkansas - WIN
  • @ Mississippi State - WIN
  • Texas A&M - LOSS
  • Western Kentucky - WIN
  • @ Alabama - LOSS

(8-4) with tight wins over Penn State, LSU, Arkansas, and Mississippi State. I only feel confident about Penn State because of the two lighter games we have leading up to the Nittany Lions and the homefield advantage. Auburn fans should show up loud as hell after last year's game.

I'm interested in Georgia's defense this year after losing 5 guys that the NFL deemed to be first round talents. Even the best recruiting teams in the country have to drop off somewhat after that. Especially with Kirby who typically does less with more. However, with it being at Athens I just don't have any confidence.

Texas A&M could fall back a little this year too but as of now they have shown better recruiting and consistency than we have so I gave them the win.

This record and a bowl win would have me feeling good about the direction of the program.

 

 

 

Isn't Ole Miss supposed to be worse this year than they were last year?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

IMO, Ole Miss, Arky, LSU and Miss State are all winnable games that we probably should win. 

Aggies is a toss-up.  PSU as well.

Bama and UGA well...

Edited by Didba
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Didba said:

IMO, Ole Miss, Arky, LSU and Miss State are all winnable games that we probably should win. 

Aggies is a toss-up.  PSU as well.

May I respectfully ask How?

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Didba said:

Isn't Ole Miss supposed to be worse this year than they were last year?

Maybe before they landed the #2 transfer crop in the country. They brought in ten good ones. (AU is currently ranked #28 on the transfer ranking)

 

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, toddc said:

Bryan Harsin and his staff managed to pull Ja'Varrius Johnson back out of the portal this offseason.

Actually, he pulled himself back because he screwed up. He waited until one day too late to transfer to Ole Miss and not have to sit out a year. So, he came back to AU. "If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with?)

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, 1716AU said:

May I respectfully ask How?

Arky we beat solidly last year and its at home I believe so that's a winnable game.

IMO, I think Kelly is gonna be a massive failure at LSU. Just a gut feeling so no real substantive basis there but that paired with it being a home game I see it as winnable. 

Moo State I think the depth we have at Dline will be a boon for us here, less tired guys in the fourth quarter. Plus our base defense, the 3-4 is designed to adjust well to an air raid offense. Offense will still need to show up in this one cause Moo state can put up points real fast. Still winnable.

Ole Miss we beat last year, New QBs as well.  It's away though so that hurts us. Winnable but ehhh maybe more of a tossup than the above three.

I should clarify with Aggies and PSU I said toss up because in a sense those are winnable if Auburn plays like they did against Bama last year. That is not likely to happen however both are at home so I'd say leaning towards probable losses but still could be a slight toss up depending on how Auburn is performing next year. Stretching here, I'll admit.

Edited by Didba
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Mikey said:

 They brought in ten good ones.

 

Thanks this is good to know.  I know they had a pretty high attrition rate through the portal but wasn't sure how much they'd brought back in.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Mikey said:

Actually, he pulled himself back because he screwed up. He waited until one day too late to transfer to Ole Miss and not have to sit out a year. So, he came back to AU. "If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with?)

This is 100% what happened... Kinda unfortunate for the kid tbh.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 hours ago, cole256 said:

Smh I can't take my guy zeek serious anymore

:drink9:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 5/2/2022 at 5:54 PM, Sizzle said:

Idk about that LSU and Arkansas game just don’t feel good about those matchups right now, it’s good we got those games at home though. We have some talent on this roster but it ain’t much at least offensively.
 

If we have even 1 injury in our skill group position then........ yikes. I know it’s always “next man up” but damn

I am excited to see who wins the starting QB spot though and I’m ready to see which younger WR steps up

Agree 100%. I'll add Penn State to that list as well. We're going to be underdogs in a majority of our games. LSU and Arky are not auto wins. The Miss games are not even auto wins for us. We're going to have to show we can close games. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 hours ago, Didba said:

IMO, Ole Miss, Arky, LSU and Miss State are all winnable games that we probably should win. 

Aggies is a toss-up.  PSU as well.

Can you explain your reasoning?

That seems like an awfully optimistic prediction for a team that went 6-7 last season and really didn't address a lot of huge question marks sufficiently. QB is still a total unknown, and what has been done at WR to improve a bad group? Several positions on defense now have less depth and/or have bigger question marks than they did last season.

Sure, several of those are winnable games - but I think we need some sense of objectivity. Ole Miss won 10 games last year and added a hell of a lot more through the Portal than we did. While we beat them a year ago, I think we all know that wasn't a reflection of us being a "better team".

This team has pretty significant concerns on offense, such that it's kind of odd to me to expect that they "should win" a bunch of SEC games against teams that are probably ahead of us from a lot of standpoints. Unless you expect this to be some sort of otherworldly defense.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, metafour said:

Can you explain your reasoning?

That seems like an awfully optimistic prediction for a team that went 6-7 last season and really didn't address a lot of huge question marks sufficiently. QB is still a total unknown, and what has been done at WR to improve a bad group? Several positions on defense now have less depth and/or have bigger question marks than they did last season.

Sure, several of those are winnable games - but I think we need some sense of objectivity. Ole Miss won 10 games last year and added a hell of a lot more through the Portal than we did. While we beat them a year ago, I think we all know that wasn't a reflection of us being a "better team".

This team has pretty significant concerns on offense, such that it's kind of odd to me to expect that they "should win" a bunch of SEC games against teams that are probably ahead of us from a lot of standpoints. Unless you expect this to be some sort of otherworldly defense.

I already explained my reasoning above but I will copy and paste. It is an optimistic prediction I agree.  Luckily, predictions are just opinions.

Copied from above:

Arky we beat solidly last year and its at home I believe so that's a winnable game.

IMO, I think Kelly is gonna be a massive failure at LSU. Just a gut feeling so no real substantive basis there but that paired with it being a home game I see it as winnable. 

Moo State I think the depth we have at Dline will be a boon for us here, less tired guys in the fourth quarter. Plus our base defense, the 3-4 is designed to adjust well to an air raid offense. Offense will still need to show up in this one cause Moo state can put up points real fast. Still winnable.

Ole Miss we beat last year, New QBs as well.  It's away though so that hurts us. Winnable but ehhh maybe more of a tossup than the above three.

I should clarify with Aggies and PSU I said toss up because in a sense those are winnable if Auburn plays like they did against Bama last year. That is not likely to happen however both are at home so I'd say leaning towards probable losses but still could be a slight toss up depending on how Auburn is performing next year. Stretching here, I'll admit.

I forgot about Mizzou above but I'll add that to the winnable category as well.

This all based off my opinion that the team will be better after two years in the new program/system and that we get average competent QB play that can stretch the field vertically.

 

Edit: also I never stated anything similar to: "expect that they "should win" a bunch of SEC games" I stated what I thought were winnable games.  Winnable does not equal "expect they should win".  Winnable means that the team has a good chance to win if things go our way and not an assured loss like UGA.  A winnable matchup is a game where Auburn either wins or loses in a close game, with a chance to win at the end if they lose.

Edited by Didba
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't see how you can put down teams like Arky, OM, MSU, and Mizzou as losses or not winnable. Don't think you can put them down as wins either, but they're more than winnable. And I'm not saying that because I think we're good or anything, but because those are teams even our bad teams have beaten before. They're in the toss up category. Can lose them all, or win them all. 

I was guilty of it last year. Thought for sure we were getting our butts whipped at Arky after 2020. That was a good team plus they had the emotion of getting screwed the year before.

  • Like 1
  • Love 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

😎

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 minutes ago, e808 said:

Thats a good addition IMO. Beast in High School 

Was talking to a Miami fan on r/cfb and he said that he never got any traction due to a hip injury.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 minutes ago, Didba said:

Was talking to a Miami fan on r/cfb and he said that he never got any traction due to a hip injury.

Hopefully medical staff can work some magic with him like they did for Dean after Ohio State wrote him off

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, AUGoo said:

Why is LSU held so highly in esteem?

Aren't they coming off a poor season with a new coaching staff?

Lots of talent and they finally have a good coach. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, cbo said:

Lots of talent and they finally have a good coach. 

Isn't there also a letter of investigation from the NCAA as well?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...