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Who might Freeze and Auburn target in the portal?


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Who might Hugh Freeze and Auburn target in the transfer portal?

Updated: Dec. 04, 2023, 11:41 a.m.|Published: Dec. 04, 2023, 10:39 a.m.
5–7 minutes

Auburn head coach Hugh Freeze admitted that he doesn’t like the transfer portal’s lengthy window.

“I think it’s absolutely ridiculous that this portal window we’re about to have is as long as it is. It makes no sense,” Freeze said on Nov. 27. “We have to go all the way through Christmas worrying about people tampering with players on your team. Either they know they’re going in or not. So give them from December 1 to December 10. Make your decision and move on.”

Unfortunately for Freeze, for better or for worse, the transfer portal will be alive and buzzing for 30 days after opening Monday.

And though he might not like it, Freeze understands there’s an opportunity for he and Auburn’s coaching staff to beef up the Tigers’ roster.

Where should they start to look?

Wide receivers

Freeze and the Tigers added a lot of pass catchers via the transfer portal last season. However, a lot of those guys were players with just one year of eligibility remaining.

Shane Hooks, Nick Mardner and Jyaire Shorter were all brought in as transfers in the offseason with Hooks being the only of the three to see significant playing time. Hooks appeared in all 12 games and tallied nine catches for 133 yards and two touchdowns.

Shorter and sophomore Omari Kelly announced that they’d be entering the transfer portal after both saw limited roles in 2022.

These departures will still leave Auburn with guys like Ja’Varrius Johnson, Jay Fair, Malcolm Johnson Jr., Caleb Burton and Camden Brown, not to mention the prospect of Auburn’s incoming wide receiver class, which is set to feature 5-star Cam Coleman, 5-star Perry Thompson and 4-star Bryce Cain. Auburn also continues to make a push at 5-star wide receiver and Alabama commit Ryan Williams.

But it’s still likely Freeze and the Tigers’ coaching staff look to add a set of hands or two to Auburn’s wide receiver room, especially considering some of the talent that’s already entered the portal.

Some players Auburn has reportedly offered:

Offensive line

With Gunner Britton, Jalil Irvin, Avery Jones and Kam Stutts all out of eligibility, Auburn is guaranteed to be without three of its five staples along the offensive front as Britton, Jones and Stutts were all starters through a majority of the season. Jones missed four games in the back half of the season after being injured, but true freshman Connor Lew stepped up well in his absence.

And while the Tigers have guys like Lew, Izavion Miller, Jerehmiah Wright and Dillon Wade who are set to return to Auburn’s offensive line room after seeing playing time in 2023, the offensive line is a position where too much depth is never a bad thing.

Midway through the season, Freeze said a handful of guys along the offensive front were dinged up, forcing them to be limited in practices.

The offensive line is also a position in which you don’t see too many true freshmen get thrown into the mix — especially in the SEC as it would be a baptism by fire against some of the defensive lines in this conference.

That said, it can be expected that Auburn look to the portal to add to its stock of offensive linemen.

Some players Auburn has reportedly offered:

Defensive line

With two defensive linemen having already announced their intentions to transfer out of Auburn in Enyce Sledge and Stephen Johnson, in addition to Lawrence Johnson and Mosiah Nasili-Kite running out of eligibility, it’s likely the Tigers look to reshape this position group some in the offseason.

As it sits, Auburn is set to return veteran Marcus Harris, who was the Tigers’ staple on the defensive front in 2023 with 40 tackles, 11 tackles for a loss and seven sacks. However, Harris could be a candidate for the NFL after his productive season.

The Tigers are also set to return Keldric Faulk, who impressed in his freshman season at Auburn after having to step up after Nasili-Kite’s season ended due to injury.

Auburn is also slated to land 4-star defensive lineman TJ Lindsey, 4-star defensive lineman Malik Blocton and 3-star Dimitry Nicolas in this recruiting cycle.

But adding a bit of experienced depth to that position group wouldn’t hurt.

Some players Auburn has reportedly offered:

Bonus: Quarterback

Some might say the Tigers don’t need a quarterback like they need other positions.

But that doesn’t mean Freeze and the Tigers don’t want another quarterback. Auburn is currently set to return four scholarship quarterbacks in Payton Thorne, Robby Ashford, Holden Geriner and Hank Brown.

Auburn is also set to welcome 4-star Walker White to The Plains out of the high school ranks.

But with so many talented quarterbacks on the market and the up-and-down play of Auburn’s quarterbacks in 2023, the Tigers have been tied to a couple names in the portal already including former Duke quarterback and Alabama native Riley Leonard and Coastal Carolina quarterback Grayson McCall, who was linked to Auburn during last year’s transfer portal cycle.

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That was a wasted article.  Nothing new. The author just wanted to get something out early.

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