If you just happened to miss it, yesterday was the first day that mid-year JUCO players could sign with colleges. Auburn brought in a total of four players. Two of those were long-expected signees Jason Smith and Jovon Robinson. DT Maurice Swain was a welcome surprise, as Auburn really wanted him, but were holding off on accepting a commitment until they were certain he would be an early enrollee. Mississippi State gave him the full-court press, and many thought he would pick the Bulldogs because of it. Instead, he decided to stay close to home (being from Lagrange, GA) and come to Auburn.
The fourth signee was punter Kevin Phillips, who will take a preferred walk-on spot at Auburn. Punting was a bit of an issue for Auburn this season, as various kickers were given chances to take the job, but it kept reverting back to field goal kicker Daniel Carlson. Phillips averaged close to 40 yards per punt for Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, but the biggest thing about him is the hang-time he gets.
The players are reportedly "hanging on every word" of new defensive coordinator Will Muschamp. Muschamp is just observing bowl practice, but you know he's making some comments along the way. The defense for the bowl game is being run by Charlie Harbison. Defensive Grad Assistant (and former Auburn LB) Travis Williams is coaching the linebackers - Ellis Johnson's previous spot.
In injury news, Auburn hopes to have injured offensive linemen Jordan Diamond and Alex Kozan back in the spring. Diamond had surgery for undisclosed reasons during last season, and Kozan was lost for the year before the season even started due to a back injury while working out at home. A healthy Kozan can go a long way towards getting Auburn's inside rushing game back on track. He is an absolute road paver.
Speaking of the offensive line, the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer is now on the Offensive Tackles in their projections for next year's Auburn football team.
Reese Dismukes became Auburn's first consensus All-American since 2010 yesterday. He was named a first-team All-American by four of the five organizations recognized by the NCAA. The fifth organization named him to the second-team for some reason.
In other "honors" news, former Auburn running back, Heisman Trophy winner, freak athlete, and all-around legend Bo Jackson will be given the Doak Walker Legends Award for his contributions on and off the football field.
According to the Sporting News, Auburn is looking at a possible $100 million renovation of Jordan-Hare that would involve putting new luxury seating in both endzones. I came across an old article by (former College and Mag editor) Chris Fuhrmeister the other day about possible improvements to Jordan-Hare from early 2013 when Texas A&M announced their renovations to Kyle Field. I think we may revisit that post here in the next few days.
The ladies continued their winning ways with a 62-56 win over Savannah State. This was the 11th straight home win for Coach's Flo's team, and they improved to 7-2 overall on the season.
The men's team looked sluggish at times in the late first-half and early second-half, but finished strong and routed Winthrop 80-62 last night in Auburn arena thanks to strong play by Cinmeon Bowers. Here is my quick "three things we learned" recap posted shortly after the buzzer.