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6.11.24 Football Articles

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I am throwing this in here as there is nothing out there this early.



Auburn might have just finished its best overall sports year

Justin Ferguson

~3 minutes

(David Gray/Auburn Tigers)

Auburn’s 2023-24 athletic year was already a pretty strong one. Then the Tigers decided to throw a couple of major exclamation points at the end of it.

On Saturday, June 8, Auburn completed its final events at the 2024 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon. That put an end to a sports season that started all the way back on August 17, when the women’s soccer team faced Samford in its season opener. That’s nearly 10 whole months of competitive action.

The 2023-24 year — which was the first full one for Auburn under athletic director John Cohen — featured one memorable team national championship, nearly another one at the last moment, multiple SEC titles and several noteworthy postseason pushes.

Two years ago, Auburn had arguably its most successful athletic year of the era, with two SEC titles, two Final Fours, a national quarterfinal appearance and a pair of top-16 finishes. The variety among the championship-caliber teams was as strong as it had ever been.

This past year stacked up even better when it was all said and done.

Three different teams won SEC titles, topping the 2021-22 mark. The Tigers won a team national championship in men’s golf and narrowly finished in second in men’s track and field — which also had a natty in an event. They had two teams finish in the top eight nationally in their sport, and three different teams were in the top 16 at season’s end.

While the 2021-22 year had seven teams either win titles or go deep in their respective postseasons, the 2023-24 year had eight and still saw some breakthroughs elsewhere.

Even with another losing record in football and a considerably down year for baseball, Auburn could also point to the end of an NCAA Tournament drought in women’s basketball and celebrate sustained success in swimming and diving and volleyball.

With a successful 2023-24 in the books and 2024-25 just a little over two months away from getting officially underway, let’s take a look back at what all 17 varsity teams did this past year and where they’re heading in the future.

This breakdown goes team-by-team, and they’re (for the most part) ranked by their in-season accomplishments. Due to the wide range of in-season and postseason formats, it can be tough to compare some of these sports to others.

But, at the end of the day, Auburn appears to be in a good spot as it continues to push toward being a strong, all-around athletic program — or, as Bruce Pearl and many others like to say, an “everything school.”

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10h ago football

New offer 'more than exciting'

Caleb Jones • AuburnSports



Bryce Deas

decided to make the trip to Auburn over the weekend.

He was a participant in Auburn's Elite Camp on Sunday, and by Monday, had an offer from the Tigers, his 12th overall offer.

"Receiving this offer is more than exciting," Deas said about the offer. "Just blessed I'm able to play football at a program like Auburn."

Bryce Deas earned an Auburn offer Monday. (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

Deas made the trip with his teammate and fellow Auburn defensive back target Blake Woodby, who had officially visited Auburn a week prior.

"It’s great, me and Blake been friends since youth ball, so he told me to come down here, he told me it was something special," Deas said. "When I came down here, very welcoming, they love me."

While camping, the 6-foot-2 defensive athlete spent most of his time working under defensive coordinator DJ Durkin.

"He’s a guy, he's a student of the game," Deas said. "I really love that about him so I can work on what I need to work on. I can pick his brain, he can develop, just get better."

Auburn is now one of the programs Deas is taking a close look at, along with Oregon, USC, Miami and Maryland.

"I really love this place, I would love to come down here and ball," Deas said.










6'2" | 205 lbs | ATH | 2025

St. Frances

Baltimore, MD




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AuburnSports - Rivals100 LB felt 'good culture' during OV

Caleb Jones

~2 minutes

was all set to visit USC this weekend.

Then he decided that he wanted to see Auburn for the first time.

The No. 58 overall recruit in the 2025 class was in town this weekend for his first ever official visit. Making the trip from Nebraska, the four-star linebacker took note of a couple of things.

"It was very good," Jones said. "Southern hospitality is a real thing here. Everyone I met was very kind and very welcoming down to Auburn."

What was the reason for the change in plans? Defensive coordinator DJ Durkin.

"I had a previous relationship with Coach Durkin at Texas A&M," Jones said. "He’s from Youngstown, Ohio, and my head coach is from Youngstown, Ohio, so they got that fire in them and I know what they’re about. His scheme fits my play of football better I’d say."

Plenty of things stuck out about the visit, including the southern hospitality and even the weather, but the culture that head coach Hugh Freeze is implementing was a big one.

"I would just say I felt a really good culture here," Jones said. "Everyone is connected, like a big family I would say. I felt that, it was a good, big family."

This was Jones' first official visit, but he has a couple more set up for the remainder of the month. He'll officially visit Nebraska next weekend and Oklahoma the following weekend. Wisconsin is another school in the mix for him.

As far as a decision timeline, Jones isn't focused on making a decision anytime soon. He's got other priorities at the moment.

"Whenever the time is right, I’m not rushing toward anything," Jones said. "I’m more focused on my high school team because we’re trying to get a three-peat for a state championship."

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AuburnSports - Quick return for Woodby

Caleb Jones

3–4 minutes

The chance to visit Auburn again was something couldn't pass up.

That's exactly what happened this weekend.

Woodby's high school teammate, , had booked a trip to participate in Auburn's Elite Camp Sunday. Knowing that Woodby was fresh off his official visit, Deas had asked about Auburn, and ultimately, Woodby decided to tag along on the trip.

Why did he return to Auburn just a week after his official visit?

"It’s just family, it’s nothing shady going on," Woodby said. "Everybody loves each other here. I know everybody — from the janitors, to the NIL department, to offensive coaches, d-line coaches, not just Coach [Wesley McGriff], Coach Rohan (Gaines) and Coach (Charles) Kelly, I know everybody here."

It's not necessarily a convenient trip, either. Woodby lives in Baltimore, Md., playing for St. Frances in the Charm City, nearly 800 miles away from Auburn. Once he was back in Auburn, there was no need for a name tag, because everybody knows him.

That's how it should be in his eyes.

"You kinda lose the feeling of football," Woodby said. "Football is a team sport and everybody is supposed to be a brotherhood, supposed to be a family. You lose that aspect when it becomes a factory and coaches only worry about what they got going on the field. It doesn’t really sit right in players mouths and it definitely doesn’t make a player want to play hard for them. The fact that I know everybody and everybody knows me, it’s great.

While on campus, Woodby strengthened his relationship with cornerbacks coach Wesley "Crime" McGriff. The two spent time hanging out at the elite camp, following a morning workout where Woodby got to learn under McGriff.

"It was pretty good," Woodby said. "He let me know a lot of things I need to work on, a lot of things that he felt like could make me a great player, not just a good player."

Knowing what McGriff has accomplished in the industry is a big thing for Woodby, who now has some things to take back to Baltimore.

"He has a rap sheet of putting guys in the league and he knows a lot of good players that played in the league for a long time," Woodby said. "The things that he said I need to work on, nine times out of 10, I probably got to work on them. Just going home and taking those mental notes, knowing the things that I did wrong, knowing the things that I did good. Just keep repping and getting better everyday."

Woodby will visit Maryland June 21-23 for his final official visit of the summer. He'll return next month to Auburn for Big Cat Weekend at the end of July and is looking at taking some other official visits in the fall.

However, he plans on having a decision no later than his birthday, on Sept. 21.

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AuburnSports - Auburn 'pretty close' to Michigan in pursuit of No. 1 DE

Caleb Jones

2–3 minutes

Auburn is working to pull off a big-time flip.

It sounds like the Tigers made some progress this weekend, too.

Michigan commit took his official visit to Auburn over the weekend, traveling from his hometown of Oak Park, Illinois, with his parents and little brother. It was his first trip to Auburn since April, and now he's gonna have to make a final decision.

"I really liked the visit, every time I’ve come it’s felt like home," Marshall said. "Now I really got to make that choice between the two schools."

Marshall, 6-foot-5 and 270 pounds, committed to Michigan in late April of this year. That hasn't stopped Auburn from recruiting Marshall heavily, especially defensive tackles coach Vontrell King-Williams.

"I like Coach Vontrell, he’s from where I’m from, so we got that connection from that," Marshall said. "He’s been recruiting me for a year or two now, so we have that relationship, have that bond."

Previously, Marshall was recruited by Jeremy Garrett as well, while King-Williams was an analyst. Once Garrett left to take a job with the Jacksonville Jaguars, King-Williams earned a promotion.

"It actually really helped [Auburn's] chances because it’s a guy that I was already close to, talking to every day," Marshall said.

His relationship with King-Williams has put Auburn in a position to where Marshall has a choice to make: stick with his Michigan pledge or flip to the Tigers. What's given Auburn a chance?

"Their culture of the team, Coach (Hugh) Freeze, how he handles the team, handles himself," Marshall said. "Coach Vontrell, how he carries himself, how he coaches. I met some of the players, too, they’re pretty cool. The recruits are cool, so why not surround myself by good people like that."

Auburn also has a strong message for Marshall.

"That I’m a ball player, that I’m gonna come, change the program and have the pieces to get the program changed around and make it better," Marshall said.

There's a chance Marshall returns to campus in late July for Auburn's Big Cat Weekend and he'll take his official visit to Michigan June 21-23. How much of a move did Auburn make over the last couple of days?

"I would say it’s pretty close, especially after this weekend," Marshall said.

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Jason Caldwells Monday morning quarterback column

Jason Caldwell

4–5 minutes

Busy time for Auburn football

I'm not sure I remember and more hectic recruiting time than we have right now in major college football. With December and April turning into transfer portal recruiting times for staffs, June has become the month of official visits. By the time this month is done, Hugh Freeze and his staff will have hosted close to 40 official visitors in a span of about three weeks.

Is it ideal to have visitors on campus now versus in the fall or December? Probably not, but this is the way things work now because this is when kids want to take their visits. If you say you'll wait, chances are you won't even get a visit because recruiting will be over with. 

Throw in probably 1,500 kids on campus for various camps over the last week and it's a time of very little sleep and very little rest for the Auburn staff. This is the perfect time to give a shoutout to a bunch of people behind the scenes that make these weeks possible at a place like Auburn.

Will Redmond is a guy we featured a few weeks back as Auburn's new GM of Player Personnel, and it's a busy time for him between official visits and also making sure the coaching staff gets eyes on the top prospects during the camp sessions.

Tim Baggett, Brendt Bedsole, Ethan Johnson, Grant Miller, AK Mogulla, Aaron Pittard, TJ Randall, Mikel Riggs and many others are vitally important to making weeks like these run on the field. Off the field, Bianca Webb and her recruiting operations staff put in long hours with official visits and unofficial visits to make sure everything goes smoothly. While the staff gets talked about for the long hours, there are a bunch of folks involved who work tirelessly to help put recruiting classes and rosters together.

The toughest of leagues

We have talked about the difficulty of baseball and softball in recent years when talking about competing in the Southeastern Conference. With softball now done and baseball's College World Series lineup almost set, it's apparent that things are only going to get more difficult moving forward in those two sports.

In softball, with 4-time national champion Oklahoma and runner-up Texas joining the league, that would have meant 15 teams in the new format would have made the NCAA Tournament last season. That's almost a quarter of the field from one league. Oklahoma is the most dominant softball program of the last 20+ years and is on one of the most dominant runs in history. Texas is young and talented and only getting better. Welcome to the toughest league in the country in any sport.

Maybe just behind them is SEC baseball. If Georgia beats NC State tonight in game three of the Athens Super Regional, that would give the league 5 of the 8 teams in Omaha with Tennessee, Kentucky, Texas A&M and Florida all punching their tickets over the weekend. If NC State were to win, that would give the ACC the other four teams. No matter what, the entire field in Omaha will be comprised of just two leagues. With the Pac 12 going away and the Big 12 losing two of its three historically best programs in that sport, college baseball is quickly becoming a two conference sport. Yes, programs like Oklahoma State and Kansas State will make a run occasionally and we saw West Virginia this year, but there is no question that in softball and baseball, the SEC is where it's at and things are only going to get tougher.

Track-ing the Tigers

Some have asked me the next Auburn program to win a national championship. Over the weekend we almost saw it happen with the men's track and field team coming up just one point short of winning the title. Coach Leroy Burrell has done a remarkable job along with his staff of building the program back in a hurry with a combination of transfer and newcomer talent. I believe a title is coming soon as they continue to add more depth to the team. The sprint portion of things is already elite and will only continue to get better. If Auburn can add just a little help from the middle distance and field portions, look out.

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Auburn football kicks off week by hosting several key targets for official visits

Taylor Jones

3–4 minutes

Auburn’s summer recruiting efforts have gotten off to a great start as nine targets have made their way to the Plains for official visits, earning commitments from two of those visitors.

Four-star CB Donovan Starr kicked off the weekend by announcing his commitment to Auburn on Thursday, two days after his official visit. Four-star OL Broderick Shull followed suit Friday by pledging to Auburn over Nebraska and Kansas State. Shull visited during the weekend of May 31 alongside fellow targets five-star CB Na’eem Offord, five-star wide receiver Caleb Cunningham, and four-star CB Blake Woodby.

Auburn wrapped up another impressive weekend by hosting 2025 commits Tavaris Dice and Tyler Lockhart, Michigan pledge Nate Marshall, and four-star linebacker Christian Jones. This week will be Auburn’s busiest recruiting week to date, as several notable recruits such as four-star EDGE Zion Grady and Georgia commit Jadon Perlotte flock to campus.

Monday and Wednesday will be major recruiting days for Auburn, but it will only be an appetizer for what is sure to be a crucial weekend.

Here is a look at which targets will visit campus this week.

ClassPositionHigh school/HometownHeightWeightRatingSchools of interest

2025RBBaylor (Chattanooga, Tennessee)6-12173-starAlabama, Michigan, Miami, Ohio State

Visit date: Monday, June 10

ClassPositionHigh school/HometownHeightWeightRatingSchools of interest

2025DLCalvary Day (Savannah, Georgia)6-32853-starClemson, Miami

Visit date: Monday, June 10

ClassPositionHigh school/HometownHeightWeightRatingSchools of interest

2025EDGEWestern Hills (Frankfort, Kentucky)6-52654-starAlabama, Georgia, Kentucky

Visit date: Monday, June 10

ClassPositionHigh school/HometownHeightWeightRatingSchools of interest

2025TEOak Ridge (El Dorado Hills, California)6-62254-starOregon, Texas, UCLA, Washington

Visit date: Monday, June 10

ClassPositionHigh school/HometownHeightWeightRatingSchools of interest

2025EDGEEnterprise (Enterprise, Alabama)6-42354-starAlabama, Georgia, Florida State

Visit date: Monday, June 10

ClassPositionHigh school/HometownHeightWeightRatingSchools of interest

2025EDGEWarner Robins (Warner Robins, Georgia)6-42455-starUSC (commit)

Visit date: Monday, June 10

ClassPositionHigh school/HometownHeightWeightRatingSchools of interest

2025TEJasper (Jasper, Texas)6-62484-starBaylor, LSU, Texas

Visit date: Wednesday, June 12

ClassPositionHigh school/HometownHeightWeightRatingSchools of interest

2025LBBuford (Buford, Georgia)6-32104-starGeorgia (Commit)

Visit date: Wednesday, June 12

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