The Tight End position at Auburn has been, for lack of a better word, cursed over the last few seasons. Tight ends have left for various reasons and then there's the tragic death of Jakell Mitchell in a shooting. All of that has combined to leave Auburn with few options at a position that has never played a major role in Gus Malzahn's offense, but it has been an important one when used effectively.
With only rising junior Jalen Harris having any experience - mostly with blocking and only one catch - it was important that the Tigers added at least one tight end capable of contributing immediately. Today, they've done that. 3* JUCO Salvatore Cannella, a 6'6 230 lbs tight end originally from Arlington Heights, IL committed and will sign with Auburn during this JUCO signing period. He should be able to enroll in January and go through Spring Practice with the Tigers.
The Tigers beat out Texas as one of the final teams Cannella was considering. Tom Herman tried to snag him in the final seconds, but Cannella's official visit to Auburn last week was just too good for him and his family and he decided to become a Tiger rather than a Longhorn.
So, I like this guy's hands. He's making some good jumps for the ball and coming down with some difficult grabs. Hopefully, he's exactly what we need to get the tight end involved more again. He could take that over-the-middle route and free up Kyle Davis for some more vertical plays.
As we noted the other day with Traivon Leonard's commitment, this bumps the Tigers back up a spot in the national rankings after the Tray Bishop decomit. It fills a definite position of need. Cannella may not be the only tight end the Tigers take, either, as they'd obviously like to add some young blood they can bring along there, too.