Auburn lost a running back today when Asa Martin decided to transfer.
Martin played sparingly early in the year, getting snaps against Alabama State (2 carries for 13 yards), and then made a huge catch in the LSU game for 33 yards that helped the Tigers on a scoring drive. He also made a single catch against Southern Miss, but it was his only carry of the game against Mississippi State that was the death knell.
He played a special teams snap in the win over Arkansas, and that was technically his fourth appearance of the season. New rules for this year allow players to play in four games and still keep their redshirt if they so choose. Once Martin checked in against MSU in Starkville, he was ineligible for a redshirt, and would have no chance to preserve a year of eligibility despite barely being a factor in the offense. He finally got 10 carries in the win over Liberty before Thanksgiving, but that was after his fate had been sealed.
When Auburn put freshman RB Asa Martin into the Mississippi State game, his 2018 redshirt was burned.— Sam Blum (@SamBlum3) December 6, 2018
But, allegedly, not all of the AU coaches knew that was the case.
An inside look at how Auburn botched Asa Martin's redshirt: https://t.co/2auBTpq8IH pic.twitter.com/7jd90nPQCP
To be honest, the situation was bungled from start to finish. How a coaching staff doesn’t have someone who’s aware of the number of snaps that each player is playing is beyond me. It should be of special interest in instances like Martin’s, where he’s worried about keeping that year of eligibility while getting to grow in the system.
Instead, he’s gone. One of the highest-ranked recruits of his signing class, he was supposed to come in and be a feature back in Gus Malzahn’s system. Auburn won a recruiting battle for him against Alabama, but again it didn’t pan out and never paid off for either party.
His final stats for the season are pedestrian — 13 carries, 57 yards, 2 receptions, 36 yards. That’s it, and it’s frustrating from the perspective that Auburn needed all the offensive help it could get this year, and Martin’s role never materialized despite us hearing platitudes that “there was a package for him”.
Now, the depth chart takes a hit. The remaining players (not counting seniors) actually listed as “Running Back” on the roster are:
- Kam Martin
- Devan Barrett
- Shaun Shivers
- Boobee Whitlow
- Harold Joiner
- Malik Miller
- Cedric Chambers
We’ve seen Whitlow, Shivers, and Kam Martin make an impact, and Malik Miller started becoming more of a feature back as the year went along, but at the same time, losing a talent like Asa is inexcusable with this year’s actions.
Auburn doesn’t currently have a running back committed for the upcoming recruiting class, so we’ll have to see how things shake out as the early signing date draws closer and closer.