Neiko Thorpe and Craig Stevens Celebrate with fans.
Last week we were asked to participate in an question and answer session about Auburn's football team this season. While frantically searching for some sort of intelligent answer for each question, I desperately wanted to represent you, our faithful followers, and not let you down.
One of the questions asked was, where will the class of 2010 most likely impact this Auburn team? I couldn't help myself, my mind went straight to the defense. I know what you're thinking, "he's lost his mind"! With Cameron Newton, Trovon Reed, Michael Dyer and Shaun Kitchens added to an already potent offense, how could I have instantly thought, defense?
If for no other reason than sheer numbers. This year we will finally have enough players to rest the starters during those games when we score a lot of points, and have the outcome in hand. Plus, by the time Auburn gets to Amen corner, the backups will have enough playing time to be able to actually contribute at a quality level. We are not just talking two deep here, we could be as deep as four, at some defensive positions by mid-season.
We have an infusion of great young talent, Jessel Curry enrolled early at linebacker,as did Craig Sanders at defensive end, to participate in spring drills giving them a leg up on learning the defensive plays.
The breakdown by position shows where each area of the defense will get the help needed to give the starters some rest.
Linebacker- Jessel Curry,Jawara White,LaDarius Owens,Jake Holland - One of the most highly touted linebacker classes in the country, these young men need to step it up at fall practice, and be ready for duty. They will be counted on more than any other area on defense.
Defensive Tackle- Kenneth Carter,Jefferey Whittaker - Coach Rocker has two very talented guys to bring along during the season.
Defensive End- Craig Sanders,Corey Lemonier,Justin DeLaine,Joel Bonomolo - This group is as strong and talented as any recruited at Auburn in a long time.
Defensive Back- Demetruce McNeal,Jonathan Mincy - With the expected return of McNeil, Etheridge, and Savage this was the area that needed the least amount of players this class. Factor in the sky high improvement of Ikeem Means and you know why the Tiger's staff didn't go after many DB's, the two young men that did get signed are of extremely high skill set, and will be brought along by Chizik and company.
Last season the Tigers faded in the second half against the like of Georgia, and Alabama. Coach Chizik stated to the freshmen at their inaugural football meeting to "be ready to play". With this incoming class comes high expectations. They will be called upon to not only bolster Auburn's defense with depth, the expectation is that quality playing time will be required from many of these young men. Giving the starters some much needed rest should assure that Auburn's defense will be strong throughout the entire season.