Where there's smoke, there's usually some form of fire. That definitely was the case with the Roc Thomas transfer rumors, it seems.
"Roc Thomas has asked for his release from Auburn and I have granted his request. We wish him nothing but the best moving forward."— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) May 31, 2016
After rumors arose in December, which Gus Malzahn emphatically denied, things quieted down through Spring Practice. Now, with the semester over and summer school beginning, the rumors came up again. This time, they turned out to be true. Roc Thomas, a former 5* running back, is transferring from Auburn to Jacksonville State.
Thomas came into Auburn with a lot of promise. Being a 5* will do that. Unfortunately, he was behind Cameron Artis-Payne for most of 2014, struggled with the occasional fumble at the worst possible time, and then spent most of 2015 with various minor injuries.
I'm not going to say him leaving doesn't hurt, because it does. Thomas had excellent hands, and when he was in space he could do a lot of damage. He wasn't going to play the traditional running back role in 2016, though. He was much more likely to be a slot receiver/speed sweep rusher.
Thomas will go to Jacksonville State, where his former high school coach is the head coach, his girlfriend attends, and is minutes from his hometown of Oxford.
For Auburn, Jovon Robinson was the likely workhorse going into Fall, and now that's pretty much cemented in place. Backing him up will be sophomore Kerryon Johnson - who is just as dynamic as Roc, and should fill his role - freshman Malik Miller, and fullbacks Kamryn Pettway and Chandler Cox. One possibility for the Tigers is that we could now see 3-4 of those on the field at the same time. Combine that with the incoming wide receivers, and there is a ton of potential for big plays on the offense.