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Harsin 'not surprised' Auburn had no post-spring transfers


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Bryan Harsin 'not surprised' Auburn had no post-spring transfers

Nathan King
4-5 minutes


Late Kick Blitz: Assessing Auburn's QB battle exiting spring


MONTGOMERY, Alabama — After a tough few months of attrition early in the offseason, Bryan Harsin’s team managed to fend off the outgoing end of the transfer portal entirely this spring.

The May 1 transfer entry deadline — which student-athletes must abide by in order to keep their eligibility for the 2022 season — has come and gone, and Auburn had zero players enter the portal following the conclusion of spring practices April 9 and the ensuing weeks of spring evaluations and meetings with the coaching staff.

“I think it says a lot about where we are as a team,” Harsin said Tuesday before an Auburn alumni event in Montgomery. “We have great leaders on this team; we have guys that want to win. We have a group of coaches that, I feel, is united.

“I’m not surprised. … These guys are working their butts off because they want to be part of Auburn football. … They chose to come back. They chose to be a part of what we’re doing.”

No departures is obviously a huge difference from last season, when Auburn saw eight players leave via the portal after spring evaluations. Auburn’s roster outlook could have been even more dire at certain positions if it had been hit with transfers again this spring, considering the team lost 17 scholarship transfers since the conclusion of the regular season.

Instead, Harsin and his coaching staff have the benefit of continuity with the entire roster, from spring to summer to preseason camp.

“The grass isn’t always greener,” Harsin said. “These guys want to build something here and be part of that. Now those guys are here, they’re locked in, they’re the foundation of where we’re going. They’re going to help us bring in those future players to continue to grow our program and put ourselves in a position that we want to be.”

Nearly all of Auburn’s nine transfers from last season carved out important roles on both sides of the ball in 2022. Eku Leota (Northwestern), Marcus Harris (Kansas), Donovan Kaufman (Vanderbilt), Demetris Robertson (Georgia) and Bydarrius Knighten (SEMO) became starters for some or all of the season. T.J. Finley (LSU) was obviously key to have a quarterback replacement when Bo Nix went down. Tony Fair (UAB) didn’t technically start but was the defense’s go-to nose tackle.

The goal this offseason will be to replicate that success and add more starting-caliber pieces. Auburn already reeled in five transfers before spring ball, and are angling for a few more in the coming months — at positions like wide receiver and defensive line, especially.

Before spring ball, Harsin and his staff added quarterbacks Robby Ashford (Oregon) and Zach Calzada (Texas A&M), along with cornerback D.J. James (Oregon), linebacker Eugene Asante (North Carolina) and defensive tackle Jayson Jones (Oregon).

Harsin mentioned wide receiver, defensive line and safety as positions that will receive a strong look from his staff in terms of available players in the portal.

"It does help to know, hey, here's where we are, and here's what we have right now," Harsin said. "We'll try to fill those needs and have those players that are going to be the right fits come into our program by the end of May. ... You hope by June, you can be at full strength with your team so you can see where they're at and watch them develop."

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