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Coffee and Magnolia: 2 April 2015

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News and notes from the Auburn corners of the Internet

Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

BASKETBALL

With the recent hires of Ben Howland by Mississippi State, Rick Barnes at Tennessee, and Alabama's pursuit of some really big names as well, ESPN.com looked at who the best current coaching combinations are in the SEC.

There has been talk that Auburn may accept one graduate transfer to fill out the 2015 recruiting class - along with Horace Spencer, who is expected to sign  during the spring signing period. One good candidate for that is Providence's Tyler Harris. He will be visiting the Tigers, soon. Harris' brother played for Pearl at Tennessee, so that may improve Auburn's chances with the 6'9 power forward. Yes, 6'9. Auburn could REALLY use that height.

SOFTBALL

There's a good bit of Softball news, today. The #7 ranked Tigers have been drawing crowds to Jane B Moore Field to the point that the school has been adding additional seating for fans down the stretch.

I'm a bit ashamed to admit it, but I honestly wasn't aware that there was a professional softball league. There is, though, the National Pro Fastpitch League. Auburn seniors Morgan Estell and Branndi Melero were drafted last night in the league's draft. Estell by the Akron Racers and Melero by the Chicago Bandits. Congrats and good luck to those two ladies in their future careers!

Softball will be in town this weekend against Tennessee - the team ranked 2nd behind Auburn in the SEC home run standings (75-60. Yeah, the Tigers are - dare I say - BOOMing it) - along with the baseball team. Softball starts tonight and runs through Saturday. You can check out the information on those - and other - events in Everett's Home on the Plains.

FOOTBALL

Last fall we heard a lot about freshman defensive end Raashee Kennion. There was talk that he could be the one to step in and fill the Carl Lawson role. While he never quite stepped up that much - he was a bit small at 225 lbs to be playing DE as a true freshman - he did get some game action. Now up to 250, he's ready to be a big time contributor. And at 6'6", he could be a nightmare coming around the corner on opposing quarterbacks.

Big things are expected of Ricardo Louis in his senior season on the Plains, but he's not letting the pressure get to him. He will always be remembered and loved for the Miracle at Jordan-Hare, but now he wants to become that consistent receiving threat the Tigers need to replace Sammie Coates. The beautiful Marshall to Louis pass in the Outback Bowl is hopefully a good indication of things to come from JJ to Louis this upcoming season.

Tight-end Chris Laye is really focusing on his blocking, this spring. As the only current scholarship tight-end, he definitely needs to make sure he has all of the fundamentals of the offense down. Meanwhile, early enrollee Chandler Cox is pushing hard for the starting H-back role with redshirt freshman Kamryn Pettway. I still think Cox may be the jewel of this year's class for what he can provide to keep the offense rolling. Don't count Pettway out, though. Not by a long shot.

Gus Malzahn is high on receiver Jason Smith. There's a reason the Tigers stuck with Smith through going to JUCO and resigned him this February. I expect he will have a pretty big role in this season's offense.

Some coaching roles have been clarified after Tuesday's practice. Will Muschamp is handling the inside linebackers, while Lance Thompson is taking the outside linebackers and the "Buck" position.

The Sporting News listed Jeremy Johnson as a dark-horse Heisman candidate if the offense really clicks this fall. I could see that.