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2024 Auburn Tigers Commitment List and Evaluations

Brian Smith
15–18 minutes

The 2024 Auburn Tigers recruiting class is off to a fantastic start. Down the stretch run, Hugh Freeze and his staff will still need to add even more talent to the recruiting class though.

This is the SEC, where there’s no shortage of talent from the competition. That’s why Auburn Daily will be updating this page with details about each Auburn commitment, including film breakdowns, adding each commitment as it happens, and more.

Bookmark this page to gain easy access to the 2024 Auburn recruiting class as it continuously unfolds! Here’s the breakdown, by position, for the Tigers’ recruiting efforts.

Total Commitments: 20

Quarterback: 1

Walker White, 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, Little Rock (Ark.) Christian Academy

Committed Feb. 3, 2023

Prospect Evaluation for Walker White

At 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, White is already college-ready size. It shows that White has a big arm. It’s all but effortless when he fires a pass down the field. 

White’s ability to fire a bullet on the run is also a prime attribute. He’s mobile as well, flourishing in the run-pass option game, and even when he decides to just tuck the football and take off. He will fit in well into Freeze’s offensive scheme.

Wide Receiver: 4

Bryce Cain, 5-foot-11, 170 pounds, Mobile (Ala.) Baker

Committed June 13, 2023

Prospect Evaluation for Bryce Cain

Elusive, explosive, and dynamic. Those categories augment a competitive nature for Cain. He's best known for short-area quickness and juke moves; do not forget that he can also take the football away from defenders when he goes up for the football. He shows that skill several times over from his prep highlights. 

Cain's body positioning and ability to time when he reaches for the football are tremendous. He's going to likely be a slot receiver, but also one that Freeze and his staff can move to the outside receiver position as well.

Cam Coleman, 6-foot-4, 190 pounds, Phenix City (Ala.) Central

Four Reasons To Like Cam Coleman's Commitment To Auburn

Prospect Evaluation For Cam Coleman

Committed Dec. 1, 2023

Playmaker. Coleman catches passes in traffic; takes the football away from defensive backs; Coleman makes defenders miss in tight spaces; possesses the speed to be a consistent vertical threat.

All of Coleman's talents in mind, his measurables also create problems. Too tall for the majority of defensive backs, with the football in his hands, he is twitchy during one-on-one situations. Coleman will demand a high number of double teams.

With Coleman on the field, combined with the rest of this outstanding 2024 Auburn wide receiver class, the Tigers can dictate to opposing defenses. The true offense that Freeze wants to run can start to take shape.

Malcolm Simmons, 6-foot, 165 pounds, Alexander City (Ala.) Benjamin Russell School

Committed July 29, 2023

Prospect Evaluation for Malcolm Simmons

A wide receiver that separates from defenders in the open field. Simmons is a player who will add yet another layer of playmaking ability to the Tigers' offense. His ability to catch the football is natural, and he's also instinctive and creative with using his vision to find the crease in the defense to create big plays. Also a possible punt return man for the Tigers.

Perry Thompson, 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, Foley (Ala.) High School

Committed July 29, 2023

Prospect Evaluation for Perry Thompson

A true No. 1 wide receiver candidate stemming from Thompson's natural size, strength, speed, and ability to be physical. He can make a poor throw a big gain; 50-50 balls are likely to be Auburn first downs. 

Seeing a young man, of Thompson's size, move in and out of the defense, is fun to watch. Out of all the players in Auburn's 2024 recruiting class, Thompson likely possesses the greatest chance to come to the Plains and start before the conclusion of his freshman season.

Tight End: 1

Martavious Collins, 6-foot-3, 245 pounds, South Pittsburg (Tenn.) High School

Committed April 14, 2023

A power player, Collins is most likely to be an H-back at the college level; he can be in the backfield as a fullback when needed. A powerful upper body and hips allow him to plow through defenders after the catch. Still, his ability to help the rushing attack is a mainstay as to why he's a Power 5 football recruit.

Offensive Line: 2

DeAndre Carter, 6-foot-4, 340 pounds, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei

Committed Sep. 3, 2023

Prospect Evaluation for DeAndre Carter

Road grader. That’s the easiest way to define Carter’s style of play. Another way to define him would be the hammer hitting the nail. Carter's 340-pound frame is indicative of what Auburn offensive line coach Jake Thornton needs to help kickstart Auburn’s rushing attack into another gear. 

Here’s the unique part, however. Carter is agile enough to play right tackle if truly needed. His lateral ability is quite impressive. Hard to not see Carter being a starter before the end of his sophomore season despite it being hard for young offensive linemen to break into the lineup, traditionally speaking.

Seth Wilfred, Offensive Tackle, 6-foot-6, 295 pounds, Las Vegas (Nev.) / Snow Junior College (Utah)

Committed Dec. 11, 2023

Heavy hands define Wilfred. When he strikes an opposing player, that player is going to move against his will. Wilfred is not just a mauler either. Before delivering a blow he shows good foot quickness and the hand-eye coordination necessary to maximize his chances of creating a great block.

His Snow Junior College freshman film also shows a player who can move to the second level and take on linebackers who want to avoid him altogether. Wilfred does not get out over his feet and lunge. He's calculated with his movements.

Seeing him run in open space during a screen pass is another tremendous measuring stick for this young man. He's agile in space and leads the way for his running back with surprising speed.

He will have three more years of college football available, and Wilfred could also potentially redshirt to provide a total of four years to play three for Auburn.

Defensive End: 2

TJ Lindsey, 6-foot-3, 270 pounds, Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy

Committed Aug. 12, 2023

Prospect Evaluation for TJ Lindsey

Possesses excellent hands to fend off offensive linemen. Lindsey also showcases some of the best moves of any defensive line recruit from the class of 2024. No doubt, he’s utilizing the coaching that’s coming his way. 

Lindsey also has the frame to play 3-technique or strong side end, i.e. 5-technique. Depending on down and distance, and game situation, Auburn can move Lindsey into different positions to best utilize his skills. Look for him to be a player that is more than just a big body. Lindsey can rush the passer.

Do not be surprised if Lindsey ends up contributing to the 2024 Auburn football team.

Joseph Phillips, 6-foot-2, 250 pounds, Tuskegee (Ala.) Booker T. Washington

Committed June 15, 2023

Three Takeaways: Jordan Phillips' Senior Film

Natural edge rusher. Phillips plays fast from a 7-technique and creates pressure on quarterbacks. Also good at timing a blitz from the interior when playing linebacker, Phillips has the tenacity to fend off a much bigger offensive lineman and chase the quarterback down from behind. He can be utilized in a multitude of ways for Auburn, but his primary objective will be playing on the edge and creating havoc.

Defensive Tackle: 2

Malik Blocton, 6-foot-4, 280 pounds, Pike Road (Ala.) High School

Committed July 8, 2023

Interview: Auburn DL Commit Malik Blocton

Can Malik Blocton Make An Immediate Impact?

With his natural size, he’s a future 3-technique for the Tigers. The skills are present for him to be a menace as well. Strong hands at the point of attack. To that point, Blocton will shock an opposing offensive lineman with two hands to the breastplate, find the ball carrier, and then use his athleticism to make a tackle for loss. 

Blocton’s power is something that will aid him in competing for playing time earlier than many interior defensive line recruits entering the SEC. Going against top Birmingham competition, his film showcases Blocton moving offensive linemen into the backfield and/or out of his way.

Dimitry Nicolas

Dimitry Nicolas

Brian Smith

Dimitry Nicolas, 6-foot-3, 300 pounds, Miami (Fla.) Norland

Committed Aug. 25, 2023

Nicolas will be a nose guard for the Tigers, with his frame and style of play fitting in well together with what AU likes to do with their four-man defensive front. As a 1-technique, Nicolas provides the power to take on double teams and hold the point of attack. 

He’s also that rare player who will reestablish the line of scrimmage with a traditional bull rush. Provides the tenacity and athleticism to create tackles for loss. Do not count Nicolas out as a pass rusher either. He will add more moves once he’s on the Plains and physical skills are there to one day start for the Tigers.

Linebacker: 3

D’Angelo Barber, 6-foot, 220 pounds, Pinson (Ala.) Clay-Chalkville

Committed July 3, 2023

Barber has an old-school feel to his game. Loves to mix it up with interior offensive linemen before scraping off the blocks and finding the running back. From one perspective, he fits what many Auburn fans grew up watching during the Bo Jackson era. What also makes Barber valuable for the spread football era is his ability to run to the perimeter and be a solid pass defender. 

Many middle linebackers fail at this crucial duty. Barbers’ frame already looks like he's seen ample time in the weight room and he should at least be a special teams candidate as a true freshman for the Tigers.

Demarcus Riddick, 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, Clanton (Ala.) Chilton County

Committed July 26, 2023

Prospect Evaluation for Demarcus Riddick

A tremendously gifted athlete, Riddick will primarily play linebacker for the Tigers despite the physical tools to be any one of a big-bodied outside wide receiver, flex tight end, or even a running back. 

No question, he could be an edge rusher as well. His film even showcases him returning a punt for a score. He’s often the quickest player on the field despite being well over 200 pounds. Those points help define why Riddick is just an incredible football player. Still, there's more. 

Riddick’s instincts as a pass defender are elite. He has Sunday ability if he continues to hone his craft as a linebacker because of the natural athleticism that goes along with those instincts. Riddick certainly has a chance to be an instant-impact freshman for the Tigers.

Jamonta Waller, 6-foot-1, 240 pounds, Picayune (Miss.) Picayune Memorial

Committed Nov. 11, 2023

Auburn Briefing: Jamonta Waller is 'not just a pass rusher'

A natural pass rusher off the edge, Jamonta Waller is also a prospect who can play as a traditional linebacker. That's why he's listed at this spot instead of defensive end. 

Sure, Waller will be on the line and in a 2-point or 3-point stance and go after the signal caller. He's much more than just a downhill pass rusher, however. 

Waller uses his hands and feet in coordination with one another to fend off interior offensive linemen during running plays, he tracks down mobile quarterbacks from behind and in the open field. He's able to play in coverage, unlike most edge rushers. Waller is a big-time player and it's huge for Freeze and his staff to have flipped him from the Florida Gators.

Cornerback: 2

Jalyn Crawford, 6-foot, 180 pounds, Lilburn (Ga.) Parkview

Committed July 15, 2023

In terms of natural cornerback skills, overall, Crawford is one of the nation’s most well-rounded. He's twitchy while moving as he comes out of his backpedal; plants one foot to immediately change directions. 

The downhill speed to break on comeback and curl routes is evident. Crawford also demonstrates good leaping ability. As for his frame, that’s more good news. Crawford’s arm length allows him to deflect passes many cornerbacks simply cannot reach. Look for Crawford to work his way into the rotation no later than his sophomore year, and he holds a chance to be a multi-year starter for Auburn.

A’Mon Lane, 5-foot-11, 180 pounds, Moody (Ala.) High School

July 30, 2023

Lane plays cornerback with a strong safety mentality. He’s a downhill striker who plays nickel cornerback or outside cornerback. Regardless of where he’s lining up, Lane does his most outstanding work when he’s in bump-and-run coverage. Turns and runs with fluidity as a coverage man. Even versus larger wide receivers or even tight ends, Lane’s ability to play through the intended target when the football arrives allows him to get pass breakups. Perhaps his best attribute is playing the run. Whether blitzing or fending off a blocker to reach a running back, Lane is ultra-aggressive near the line of scrimmage and enjoys contact.

Safety: 3

Kensley Faustin, 5-foot-11, 170 pounds, Naples (Fla.) High School

Committed June 13, 2023

Auburn is gaining a defensive back with the ability to play any of free safety, nickel, or even cornerback with Faustin. He’s most often playing a single-high safety spot for Naples High so that's why he's listed with the safety position. 

That's where he does a tremendous job of running to the play and creating interceptions and pass breakups. The key is Faustin’s initial ability to examine the play quickly, and then use his natural open-field speed. He’s also a bump-and-run candidate from the slot or out wide. Faustin has legitimate cornerback skills. It will be interesting to see how Auburn's coaching staff utilizes Faustin’s skills throughout his time on the Plains.

Kaleb Harris, 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, Alabaster (Ala.) Thompson

Committed Oct. 23, 2023

Prospect Evaluation for Kaleb Harris

Hard-hitting safety that does well from the deep secondary or in the box. Playing for Thompson, one of the state of Alabama's best prep programs, it's obvious Harris understands the nuances of how and when to attack the football in the air. 

He's also adept at taking proper angles to the football to limit an opponent's yardage. A smart football player, one could argue that Harris possesses more polish to his game than most other prep safeties across the country. He's rarely out of position and understands his role well. Look for him to make at least an impact with the Tigers as a special teams player next fall, if not challenge for a spot on the two-deep at safety.

Laquan Robinson, 6-foot-2, 195 pounds, Greenville (Ala.) High School / Goodman (Miss.) Holmes Community College

Committed Nov. 10, 2023

Even as a sophomore in high school, Laquan Robinson's film makes it clear that he's a striker. The further one delves into this young man's past, the more clear it becomes that he loves physical contact. He's been that way long before his prep career came to a close. Now 10 pounds heavier, far stronger, and most certainly a wiser football player after spending two seasons at the junior college level, Robinson's abilities are heightened. 

He's twitchy enough to play free safety. Robinson's penchant for physical contact likely dictates that he plays in the box for the Tigers, however. Blitzing, helping in run support, and playing downhill overall would be areas he's best suited to do. Do not be shocked if Robinson plays some nickel either. He has the cover skills to do so. He's an excellent pickup for the Tigers at a position where Auburn definitely needs veterans to join the 2024 roster.


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Pro Football Network projects D.J. James to be a second round selection

Taylor Jones
~2 minutes

The 2024 NFL draft is still five months away, but it is never too early to discuss the possibility of which Auburn Tigers will head to the league next.

According to a mock draft from Pro Football Network, the first Tiger that could be taken in the 2024 NFL draft is cornerback D.J. James. James has been a valuable asset to the Auburn defense in two seasons and could be a great piece to an NFL franchise.

Which team is projected to take James? The mock draft simulator from Pro Football Network forecasts the Dallas Cowboys as the winner. The draft field has not been set yet, but Pro Football Network believes that James and the Cowboys could pair up with the No. 60 overall selection.

In two seasons at Auburn, James has recorded 75 tackles with three interceptions and 18 pass deflections. Mixing in his three-year career at Oregon, James recorded 147 tackles and five interceptions over a five-year collegiate career.

The 2024 NFL draft is slated to begin Thursday, Apr. 25 in Detroit, Michigan.

Contact/Follow us @TheAuburnWire on  X (Twitter), and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Auburn news, notes, and opinions. You can also follow Taylor on Twitter @TaylorJones__

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Auburn DE Wilky Denaud enters the transfer portal

Christian Clemente
2–3 minutes

After one year at Auburn, defensive end Wilky Denaud has entered the transfer portal. From John Carroll high school in Florida, Denaud was ranked as the No. 417 player and No. 49 defensive lineman in the 2023 industry-generated 247Sports Composite rankings.

Denaud did not play as a freshman. The night before Auburn's season opener, Denaud was arrested on third-degree larceny charges, according to the Lee County Sheriff's Office. Denaud was released later in the day.

Auburn has already seen reserve defensive tackles Stephen Johnson and Enyce Sledge enter the portal, with Sledge committing to Illinois. Overall, Denaud is Auburn's ninth departure to the portal. You can follow all of the Auburn movement in the transfer portal HERE.

247Sports high school evaluation on Denaud:

"A bigger edge player that can create some pressure. Measured in at just a hair under 6-foot-4, 245 pounds spring before senior season. More importantly, had a near 82-inch wing span. Could probably hover around 255 pounds at the next level, but frame looks like it should eventually carry 265 pounds or more. Has plenty of experience working as a 6/7-technique in a traditional 4-3 front. Tends to win on Friday nights with power and heavy hands. Somewhat flexible in the lower half and has flashed the ability over the years to bend while running the arc. Not one to bail on a rush and will keep his legs pumping while in backside pursuit more times than not. Adequate snap anticipation and a decent first step allows him to wedge his way into the backfield, but at times seems to play at one speed and lack real juice, which makes sense given subpar testing profile. Skillset and larger build suggests that he could probably get the job done as an edge-setting defensive end for a Power Five program, but ceiling might ultimately be highest as a 4/5-technique in a 3-4 look. Likely going to need some time to get adjusted to the physicality of big-time college football after playing in one of the Sunshine State’s lower classifications. However, has produced for three straight years under the lights and owns a promising multi-sport background."

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Can Auburn Recruit Malik Blocton Make An Immediate Impact?

Brian Smith
4–5 minutes

How quickly can Auburn Tigers 2024 recruit Malik Blocton make an impact? 

He's a talented 6-foot-4 and 280-pound defensive tackle who's been recruited by the heavyweights of the SEC. While not easy for a freshman to come in and compete right away, the chance to do so is there for the Pike Road (Ala.) High School recruit. 

The Tigers certainly need help along the defensive trenches. Check out the following 2023 statistics for Auburn.

The Tigers are allowing 159.2 yards on the ground, including 4.4 yards per carry. That's overall, and it's worse for specific games. LSU went for 238 yards and Ole Miss 223. Those are indicators that both talent and depth are needed on the Plains. 

Similarly, Auburn's pass rush needs more talent to get after opposing quarterbacks. Auburn has 28 sacks. A solid number, ranking Auburn #46 in the nation. It's still far from where Hugh Freeze and his staff would like to be.

So how can Blocton make an impact? Let's talk about his skills from two specific points of view, run defense and rushing the passer.

First off, he has the size as mentioned above. That cannot be taught. What's even better would be his first-step quickness which helps Blocton maximize his opportunities. 

Watching Blocton's senior highlights, he uses his hands well to quickly disengage from offensive linemen and play downhill. Once he's penetrated into the backfield, his athleticism allows Blocton to sink his hips and change directions to tackle running backs behind or at the line of scrimmage. That will translate well to what Auburn likes to do.

Point blank, Blocton fits the one-gap scheme that most SEC teams like Auburn tend to operate. Even if just a reserve for the Tigers, there's no reason that a player with Blocton's natural physical skills cannot be a part of a rotation of defensive linemen that helps lower the rushing average the Tigers currently sit at come the 2024 season. Now let's talk pass rush.

His film is eye-opening because he plays defensive tackle, a standup outside linebacker position, and defensive end. He showed the propensity to get into the backfield from any of those spots. Impressive, but there's going to be a change for Blocton at Auburn.

Blocton has made it clear that he expects to play defensive tackle, long-term, for Auburn. That could be a problem for interior offensive linemen as Blocton learns his craft and becomes more efficient with technique.

He's quick enough to play 5-technique, a.k.a. strong-side defensive end, but will be going against interior offensive linemen built for power. Look for Blocton to take that speed inside and create pressure from the interior. 

He's already showing the ability to shock offensive linemen with his quick hands and power, and he often adds a swim or rip move to finish off the play and get into the backfield. 

While Blocton is going to add many different moves to his repertoire as a Tiger, those traditional moves will give offensive linemen fits when combined with his natural athleticism. Keep in mind, that Blocton is probably going to rotate with other Auburn defensive linemen quite often. Fewer snaps mean more juice to turn it up a notch when rushing the passer.

Yes, Blocton can make an immediate impact for the Tigers. The physical ability is apparent on film and there's a need for big bodies that make plays in the backfield. Look for the Auburn coaching staff to find ways to place Blocton in packages that get him meaningful reps during his freshman season.

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Auburn transfer impact WR Robert Lewis

Nathan King
4–5 minutes

Auburn’s first transfer commitment of the 2024 cycle is at a big position of need.

The Tigers not only got Robert Lewis on campus for a visit less than a week after the portal opened, but on Sunday afternoon, they added the productive Georgia State receiver to next year’s offensive blueprint. Set to be a fifth-year senior, Lewis brings more than 1,300 career receiving yards and 14 touchdowns to the Plains.

Lewis said he quickly connected with Auburn receivers coach Marcus Davis and is excited about the role Hugh Freeze has envisioned for him in next year’s passing game.

“Just a lot of things that caught my eye and I feel like it can be a perfect fit,” he told Auburn Undercover. “With everything that the coaches had for me in the scheme and the offense, it just seemed like it was a perfect fit."

From nearby Covington, Georgia, Lewis was a 3-star recruit in the 2020 class, though he had some SEC interest from programs like Tennessee and Kentucky. He chose to play close to home at Georgia State, though, and emerged as a starting receiver for the Panthers during his redshirt sophomore season.

At 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds, Lewis was one of the most explosive pass-catchers in the Group of Five in 2022, averaging 17.2 yards per catch with six touchdowns. He then took another step forward this season, leading Georgia State in receptions (70), yards (877) and touchdowns (seven).

Lewis is the first transfer pickup for Auburn, likely with a few more decisions for names like Southern Miss offensive lineman Gerquan Scott this week. The Tigers will likely look for at least one more addition at wide receiver, where next year’s group is brimming with young talent, but might need an influx of experience to bridge the gap.

Here’s the way-too-early early depth chart impact for Lewis, and a glance at who else Auburn has in the receiving corps for 2024 at the moment.

Seniors: Ja'Varrius Johnson (RS)*, Robert Lewis (RS), Koy Moore

Juniors: Camden Brown, Jay Fair

Sophomores: Caleb Burton (RS)

Freshmen: Cam Coleman, Perry Thompson, Malcolm Simmons, Bryce Cain

* = Eligible to use extra year of COVID-19 eligibility


Way-too-early depth chart projection

WR/X: Cam Coleman, Perry Thompson, Camden Brown

WR/Z: Robert Lewis, Caleb Burton, Koy Moore, Malcolm Simmons

WR/H: Ja'Varrius Johnson, Jay Fair, Bryce Cain

Just because he’s sub-6 feet doesn’t mean Lewis is typecast as a slot receiver. Over the past two seasons at Georgia State, he’s proven he can be utilized at multiple spots as a pass-catcher.

In 2022, he spent most of his time in the slot, then when he stepped into a bigger role this season and had a breakout year, Lewis played only 21.0 percent of his receiver snaps in the slot, per Pro Football Focus. Lewis is an explosive route-runner who won’t necessarily make plays in traffic — PFF had him at only five contested catches in 2023 on 13 opportunities — but has a knack for getting himself open underneath coverage.

His speed isn’t jaw-dropping, and Auburn will have a handful of better athletes at receiver in 2024. But Georgia State consistently put the ball in his hands on screens and short patterns, and Lewis showed a veteran ability to squeeze a few extra yards out of most plays.

Set to play his final college season at Auburn, Lewis will be looked to as a veteran piece of the receiving corps not only to help lead a crop of elite, 5-star youngsters, but also fill a need for experience and versatility in the passing attack. Auburn lacked consistency at receiver in 2023, and the monumental lack of production from its trio of veteran transfer additions was a big gut punch. The Tigers will hope those fortunes will be reversed and that Lewis can find his way into a valuable role.

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Auburn DB Keionte Scott makes his decision, will return to The Plains for in 2024

Updated: Dec. 11, 2023, 11:04 a.m.|Published: Dec. 11, 2023, 11:01 a.m.
3–4 minutes

Auburn, AL - 20231021 - Auburn Tigers Football vs. (13) Ole Miss

AUBURN, AL - OCTOBER 21 - Auburn Defensive Back Keionte Scott (0) during the game between the Auburn Tigers and the (13) Ole Miss at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, AL on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023. Photo by Austin Perryman/Auburn TigersAustin Perryman/Auburn Tigers

Auburn received the news Monday morning that defensive back and punt returner Keionte Scott would be returning to The Plains for his senior campaign in 2024.

Scott made his announcement on X, the social platform formerly known as Twitter.

Scott’s decision to return to Auburn comes on the heels of Nov. 30th’s news, in which he took to X to announce he’d been invited to the 2024 Reese’s Senior Bowl in Mobile.

However, with Monday’s news, it appears Scott will be putting off his transition to the NFL for another year, which comes as a huge advantage to Auburn’s secondary and locker room as a whole.

Scott appeared in nine of Auburn’s 12 regular season games in 2023 after being forced to miss action with a high-ankle sprain he sustained in Week 3 against Samford. Scott’s ankle injury ended up requiring surgery, sidelining him for the Tigers’ games against Texas A&M, Georgia and LSU.

In the nine games Scott appeared in, he tallied 41 total tackles, three tackles for a loss and four pass breakups on defense. Scott added 188 yards on 12 punt returns, including a 74-yard punt return for a touchdown against Arkansas on Nov. 11.

And while Scott’s role on the field was big, his role in Auburn’s locker room as a leader was arguably bigger.

“Keionte Scott changes our team,” Auburn head coach Hugh Freeze said as Scott began returning to practice after his injury. “And he’s been back around us this week and he just picks everybody’s spirits us. He really does, particularly on defense.”

Fellow defensive back Jaylin Simpson can attest as he credited Scott for helping him bounce back from a nagging calf injury.

Scott also brings intangibles to the recruiting trail.

Despite hailing all the way from San Diego and having only been at Auburn since 2022 after coming in from the JUCO ranks, Scott is referred to as the “closer” on the recruiting trail.

Needless to say, returning Scott’s on-field production and the intangibles he brings to the Auburn football program is huge for the Tigers as they approach Year 2 under Freeze.

With Scott returning in 2024, he’s set to lead the cornerback room, which — barring any changes — will feature returners Champ Anthony, Kayin Lee, J.D. Rhym, Colton Hood, JC Hart and Tyler Scott, as well as 4-star commits A’mon Lane-Ganus and Jalyn Crawford.

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Pike Road’s 4-star defensive lineman Malik Blocton makes it official, inks with Auburn

Published: Dec. 11, 2023, 10:14 a.m.
3–4 minutes

Malik Blocton signing

Pike Road defensive lineman Malik Blocton celebrates his signing to Auburn football on Dec. 11 from Pike Road High School's library.Ainslie Lee/AL.com

Admittedly, Pike Road defensive lineman Malik Blocton was a bit early as the early signing period doesn’t officially get underway until Dec. 20. But that’s the price you pay when you’re invited to play in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star game Dec. 16 and have to get to Hattiesburg, Miss.

And though a few days early, Blocton didn’t pull any surprises on Monday morning as he inked his national letter of intent with the Auburn Tigers, who earned his commitment back in July, beating out the Texas Longhorns.

Blocton, who rates as a 4-star defensive line commit and sits just inside the top-25 of the state of Alabama’s 2024 prospects, says it was Auburn’s defensive line coach Jeremy Garrett who played a significant role in his pledge to Auburn.

“I had a really close relationship to Coach Garrett before he even got to Auburn,” Blocton said, adding that Garrett recruited him when he was on Hugh Freeze’s staff at Liberty. “We already had a relationship, so when he got to Auburn, he was right up the street from me. And I just made the decision to go to Auburn.”

Garrett, a former SEC defensive lineman himself, is often regarded as a “player’s coach.”

And if there’s any Auburn recruit that has learned that, it’s Blocton, who is the younger brother of current Auburn defensive lineman Marcus Harris.

“He was telling me that what I see is what I get with coach Garrett,” Blocton said of he and his brother’s conversations. “He’s not one of those guys who switches up. He always gonna be the same, so he was just telling me to come in and work hard. He’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be worth it.”

Blocton’s addition will add a 6-foot-4 and 275-pound body to Auburn’s defensive line — something that paid dividends for Pike Road this season as Blocton led the Patriots in tackles with 118 total tackles, 30 tackles for a loss, 14 sacks, two fumble recoveries and an interception.

But according to Pike Road’s first-year defensive coordinator Cory Lee, Blocton brings more than just a big, abled body to Auburn’s defensive line room.

“When you meet someone like Malik, you know what they can do on the field and you’ve seen their film,” said Lee, who met Blocton in April. “But you quickly find out what kind of person he is. He’s not just that guy on the field, he’s that guy off the field, too.”

Blocton was also named Pike Road’s homecoming king and was a member of Pike Road football’s leadership council this year.

“He has exceeded expectations of a lot of people,” said Pike Road head coach Granger Shook. “Very, very proud of who he is and the young man he’s going to be. What’s so impressive to me about Malik is that he still has so much more to do. He is just getting started... I can’t wait to watch him on Saturdays play at Jordan-Hare. I’m going to be up there a lot.”

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From a football mom's point of view: 'Hugh Freeze brought a whole different atmosphere'

Published: Dec. 11, 2023, 1:01 p.m.
5–6 minutes

The situation Pamela Blocton found herself in on Monday morning was one most football moms can only dream of.

She sat at a table in Pike Road High School’s library and watched her son, Malik Blocton, sign his name on the dotted line, making his commitment to Auburn football official. Blocton, a 4-star defensive line prospect, was going to be an Auburn Tiger.

Farther down the table sat her older son, Marcus Harris, who already plays at Auburn and is a staple along the Tigers’ defensive line.

“Listen, I would have never imagined in a million years that any of this would be going on how it is,” Pamela Blocton said. “But I am blessed. I thank God.”

In true mother fashion, Pamela Blocton found a great sense of relief on Monday morning. Not just because she was watching a second son of hers live out his dreams, but because he — like his older brother — would be living out those dreams close to home.

“It’s relieving,” Pamela Blocton said. “He’s right up the road from home.”

After all, Pamela Blocton had been the “mom of a college football player a few states away” before.

After graduating from Park Crossing High School in 2019, Harris went on to play football at Kansas, where he played with the Jayhawks until transferring to Auburn in 2021.

Having Harris just 50 miles away instead of 700 miles away was a nice change of pace for Pamela Blocton, who could only hope the same opportunity would exist for her younger son, who entertained the Texas Longhorns throughout much of his recruitment.

All along, however, there was a familiar feeling about Auburn. And that feeling didn’t just come as a result of her older son playing there.

“It was just like coming home. It was just love,” Pamela Blocton said. “You know, when you’re at home, you can just lay back and relax. You just feel loved and I just feel love, camaraderie, a family. And that’s what I’m all about.”

Fortunately for his mother and Auburn, alike, Malik Blocton felt that way too.

But those feelings weren’t always present, Pamela Blocton says.

Instead, they arrived when first-year head coach Hugh Freeze arrived.

“When ‘Freeze Warning’, as they say, he brought a whole different atmosphere,” Pamela Blocton said of the arrival of Freeze. “He brought a family-oriented (culture).”

Freeze wants to get to know his recruits and their families as people, not just products on the football field, says Pamela Blocton.

And it’s evident anytime Freeze pays her and her sons a visit in their home.

“He came to the house and he was laid back. He was just like he was at home,” Pamela Blocton said of Freeze. “He was just in the living room, having a family conversation. It was just nice. It was family oriented. Nothing but love.”

As a mother who is soon to have two sons playing for Freeze, Pamela Blocton also appreciates how accessible Auburn’s head coach is to both her as a parent and her sons as players.

“He’s not one of those coaches where, ‘I’m untouchable.’,” she says. “He interacts with them... Like, we went to the Big Cat (Weekend) and he was interacting in the pool with the kids. You know, having fun. And that’s what they like to see. They want someone they can relate to.”

Admittedly, Freeze was thrown into the pool that Saturday afternoon in July after 5-star wide receiver Perry Thompson flipped his commitment from Alabama to Auburn in what was one of the first dominoes to fall in what has been a wildly successful recruiting cycle for the Tigers.

The commitment — well, now signing — of Malik Blocton is included in that success.

And while Auburn fans should be thrilled with the prospect of having both Malik Blocton and Marcus Harris suiting up for the Tigers next fall, you’d be hard pressed to find someone more excited than the tandem’s mother.

“I love it,” Pamela Blocton said. “And you know, his brother has already been talking to him before this as they were recruiting. He was just telling them how it feels to be at Auburn. And so it’s relieving because he’s going in there just like… he’s transitioning very well because his brother has told him everything he needs to know.”

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happy tuesday you beautiful people...........................

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