Jump to content

5.24.23 Football Articles


Recommended Posts


5 offensive transfers that could make the biggest impacts for Auburn football in 2023

Richard Silva, Montgomery Advertiser
5–6 minutes

AUBURN — Nearly half of Auburn football's roster will be comprised of players coach Hugh Freeze has brought in this offseason. Of that bunch, 20 have come from the portal, with 11 of those transfers being on the offensive side of the ball.

The Tigers added plenty of experience with their additions, as the majority of their recent acquisitions have one or two years of eligibility remaining. This builds a bridge between now and when Freeze's future recruiting classes are on campus and ready to play.

Here are five offensive transfers that should make the biggest impact for Auburn in 2023.

DOING BUISNESS: What Auburn AD John Cohen said about AU's deal with Under Armour

POTENTIAL RENOVATIONS: What AD John Cohen is saying about Auburn football, basketball facility upgrades

PAYTON THORNE: 'People want to follow him': What Auburn football is getting in transfer quarterback

QB Payton Thorne (Michigan State)

Quarterbacks typically get the most attention, and rightfully so.

Freeze wasn't shy in admitting he was going to add a transfer QB this offseason. From a numbers standpoint, the Tigers only had three quarterbacks on scholarship when TJ Finley announced earlier this month he'd be entering the portal.

Auburn landed on Thorne, who comes to the Tigers after four seasons at Michigan State. His best season came in 2021 when he led the Spartans to an 11-2 record, a win in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl versus Penn State, and completed 60.4% of his passes for 3,232 yards and 27 touchdowns. That yardage would rank second in AU history for QBs in a single season, behind only Dameyune Craig's 1997 campaign. Twenty-seven passing TDs would also be second all-time, only topped by Cam Newton's 30 in 2010.

LT Dillon Wade (Tulsa)

Auburn added plenty of offensive weapons this season, but none of it would matter if the Tigers didn't address the offensive line issues that've plagued them since the last few years of the Gus Malzahn era. Including freshmen and additions from junior college, Freeze added nine offensive linemen this offseason. The Tigers added nine players on the O-line in the 2020, 2021 and 2022 recruiting cycles combined.

Tabbing the most impactful transfer on the offensive line is difficult, but Dillon Wade went through spring practice as the starting left tackle and is expected to keep that position through Week 1. Jeremiah Wright may be the only returning starter on the line from a season ago, as Wade (left tackle), Avery Jones (center) and Gunner Britton (right tackle) look locked into place. Jaden Muskrat, who's also coming from Tulsa along with Wade, could slot into a starting role at guard, too.

WR Jyaire Shorter (North Texas)

North Texas wide receiver Jyaire Shorter (16) catches a 45-yard pass from quarterback Mason Fine to score a touchdown against Southern Mississippi during the first half of their NCAA college football game, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019, in Hattiesburg, Miss.


North Texas wide receiver Jyaire Shorter (16) catches a 45-yard pass from quarterback Mason Fine to score a touchdown against Southern Mississippi during the first half of their NCAA college football game, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019, in Hattiesburg, Miss.


The Tigers added four transfer WRs this offseason in Caleb Burton (Ohio State), Shane Hooks (Jackson State), Nick Mardner (Cincinnati) and Jyaire Shorter (North Texas). Hooks, Mardner and Shorter should all compete for snaps on the outside, but Shorter's big-play ability could set him apart.

Shorter only caught 23 passes for the Mean Green in 2022, but those receptions went for 628 yards and 11 touchdowns. His 27.3 yards per reception led FBS and gives Auburn a proven down-the-field threat.

TE Rivaldo Fairweather (Florida International)

Freeze likes receivers with large catch radiuses. That's evident in his previous recruiting − AJ Brown, DK Metcalf and Laquon Treadwell at Ole Miss − and he said as much back in February: "If you follow my track record, I believe in it," Freeze said. "... You're not going to create tremendous separation in this league when they're in man-to-man situations all the time."

But how about some length at tight end? Rivaldo Fairweather is listed at 6-foot-4 and brings his own big-play ability to the Plains. He caught 28 passes for 426 yards and three TDs at FIU last season and is hoping to become the next tight end Freeze sends to the NFL, joining the likes of Evan Engram and Dawson Knox.

RB Brian Battie (South Florida)

South Florida transfer Brian Battie likely won't be Auburn's lead back in 2023, but that doesn't mean his impact won't be felt both on offense and on special teams. Aside from rushing for over 1,100 yards last season, Battie was also tabbed as an All-American kick returner the year prior.

His speed and elusiveness give Auburn's offense a change-of-pace back, and if he can steal a touchdown or two as a returner, the Tigers hit a home run bringing him in.

Richard Silva is the Auburn athletics beat writer for the Montgomery Advertiser. He can be reached via email at rsilva@gannett.com or on Twitter @rich_silva18.

This article originally appeared on Montgomery Advertiser: Auburn football: 5 offensive transfers that could make biggest impacts

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites


How Auburn managed to secure the second-best portal class in the country

Jack Singley
~4 minutes

The portal over the past few years for Auburn has been a give-and-take system. Under the guidance of Bryan Harsin, the Tigers had much more taken from them than given. Harsin was at the helm for two seasons and had 38 players leave for other teams, this includes 14 of the 18 enrolled players that were in Harsin's first class in 2021. Harsin managed to bring in 18 overall transfers, however, seven of these transfers have transferred out of Auburn, which leaves the Harsin administration with a net total of 11 players gained through the portal. 

This inability to grab onto a solid portal prospect and even if they were signed the likelihood of them transferring was around 40 percent. Auburn in the 2021 and 2022 portal windows was abysmal, so how did they go from mediocre at best to the second-best class in the country? The answer to that is name recognition and proven success.

Hugh Freeze, a talented coach who has been enveloped by controversy for almost a decade was the choice following Harsin. Fans and media alike had their opinions about Freeze, but after almost a month following his hiring as Athletic Director, John Cohen took the risk and so far it has paid off. 

Freeze has what Harsin didn't the national recognition that makes recruits say "Oh the coach that turned Ole Miss around" or "Oh, Freeze? Yeah, he is the only coach to beat Saban in back-to-back seasons". There is a certain pedigree that comes with winning and despite the mistakes he has made, Freeze is still held in high regard amongst coaches and former players. 

Freeze and staff showed this history of success to players looking to make the decision that could lead them to the NFL. Defensive Coordinator Ron Roberts, whose past experience at Baylor and ULL has produced multiple NFL players helped to bring in 10 recruits in the 2023 portal class, including Justin Rogers, a defensive lineman from Kentucky who was the third overall player taken in this class. On the offensive side of the ball, Philip Montgomery and his past at Tulsa and experience with talented quarterbacks while at Baylor along with Freeze's renowned offensive coaching ability led to Auburn signing 11 offensive players. Most notable were Dillon Wade former Tulsa OL, Caleb Burton an Ohio State WR, Payton Thorne Michigan State QB, and Rivaldo Fairweather Florida International TE. 

The resurgence of a fan base, a proven head coach, and a support staff built for recruiting led Auburn from 19th in 2021 and 23rd in 2022 to being second in the country for transfer portal recruiting. The only team that has performed better than the Tigers, is Colorado which is led by one of the most polarizing figures in sports history, Deion Sanders. Colorado brought in 48 total recruits, which is over half the team's whole roster, headlined by former five-star Travis Hunter, Sanders brought in one five-star, five four-stars, and 39 three-star recruits. Auburn led the nation in four-star portal commits with 11 and rounded out its class with seven three-stars and three non-ranked

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites


Link to comment
Share on other sites


Link to comment
Share on other sites


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Analyst: Former Auburn QB deserves $1.5 million NIL more than Deion Sanders’ son

Andrew Hughes

~3 minutes

FishDuck's Charles Fischer believes former Auburn football QB Bo Nix deserves a $1.5 million NIL evaluation over Deion Sanders' son Shedeur Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Bo Nix is the quarterback that got away for many Auburn football fans, and local businesses around the Plains and across the state of Alabama could feel the same way given his $1.5 million NIL evaluation. Per EmpireStakes.com, Nix is tied with UNC’s Drake Maye and Jackson State-turned-Colorado QB Shedeur Sanders at No. 7 on the list at that figure.

FishDuck’s Charles Fischer doesn’t believe Sanders has done enough to warrant being the third-highest-paid quarterback in college football behind Texas’ Arch Manning and reigning Heisman winner Caleb Williams out of USC.

“So Coach Sander’s son has not played a down in D-1 football, and he is valued the same as Bo Nix? That is crazy until I remember that this is not about performance, as much as it is social media presence,” Fischer prefaced before saying, “I am sure that Neon-Deion has Shedeur Sanders rocking in his online presence. While I know life it not fair, but it sure seems that Bo deserves his a whole-lot more!”

Auburn football could be in a better spot than Bo Nix and Oregon in 2023

The 2022 season was depressing for Auburn football fans, who saw the Tigers’ quarterback position, manned by TJ Finley and Robby Ashford, struggle to find any consistency under center as Nix had a career year in Oregon. Reports came out that Nix was no longer enjoying the sport — yes, he was no longer having fun you can say — and was miserable playing under Bryan Harsin during the 2021 season, which was the nail in the coffin for the Boise native’s time on the Plains.

Things could switch up in 2023, though, with Nix struggling to recapture his 2022 magic and AU making a run to the top of the college football world. Kenny Dillingham’s departure to Arizona State could be more damning for the Ducks offense than most realize, and Hugh Freeze’s transfer portal addition, Payton Thorne, could be the experienced signal-caller needed to stabilize the offense.

Things could finally be looking up for Auburn for the first time since Nix had the team at 6-2 and in the top 15 during the 2021 season.

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
  • Create New...