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Monday Mailbag

You asked, we answered!

Welcome to our first pentakontadi-annual (ahem, weekly) mailbag! With all of the basketball news and with A-Day last weekend, you guys had some great questions for us.

Outside of Casey Mize, who is Auburn’s best MLB draft prospect, both pitching and offensive? - Straw_Man

Well, there are two ways to take this. The easy, get me out of here answer would be any 2 players on the roster and that would be Tanner Burns and either Steven Williams or Edouard Julien. However, I am taking it that you mean in this year’s MLB Draft and that is a bit more interesting. Without really thinking about it, I would have said Calvin Coker but after a night to sleep on it I will go with Andrew Mitchell even with the arm tightness that held him out until this past weekend. Sure, he had a rough go of it at Arkansas this weekend but pitchers not named Casey Mize or Tanner Burns didn’t have too much success either. As far as fielding prospects go, I am kind of partial to Brett Wright getting a strong look as he has a no hitter that he called for Casey Mize under his belt and a swing that can do some damage when he gets around on one. Brenden Venter would also be a name to watch as he is now a utility player who can play either corner or in the outfield if you are in a pinch, he just needs to get out of the slump he is in but that’s pretty much the entire lineup right now. - Drew McCracken

If you had to guess, do you think Wiley is leaving? - TitansPacersAU

I’m going to say 75/25 he stays. Mustapha’s departure was very unexpected, simply because he’s not anywhere on any of the draft boards, and so it seems like his best bet is to play abroad somewhere. Wiley’s a different story, though, since he’s rated higher than Heron, but I think he would benefit greatly from a year visibly playing college basketball and dominating the SEC. With what Auburn brings back for 2018-19, I think that sways him to stay and help us win a second straight conference championship. - Jack Condon

Who do you see as the most likely player to declare early for the NFL draft next year (especially any RS-SOs or true JRs)? - Straw_Man

There are three really obvious candidates right off the bat — Marlon Davidson and Derrick Brown on the defensive line and Jarrett Stidham at quarterback. Davidson and Brown are obvious choices, since they both seem poised for really dominant years up front, and they’ll get a ton of high-profile chances to be seen and judged. If they have good years, I think it’s less than 50/50 that we have both back for 2019. As for Stidham, it may depend on the quarterback class for next year’s draft, but if he sizzles this season, he’s got the arm and can make the NFL throws, and so I could see him leaving town a season early. - Jack Condon

To add to Jack’s answer, keep an eye on someone like Jamel Dean as well. He’s got the measurables NFL teams love and I could see a big year from him leading to an early departure. Prince Tega Wanogho is another guy that looks like an NFL talent who could cash in on a breakout season. Finally, Nick Coe will be draft eligible at end of the year as he will be a redshirt sophomore. Because he’s not a starter I don’t think he leaves but given the way Garner rotates guys through he might be productive enough for some NFL teams to draft early enough that it’s worth leaving. - AUNerd

What is/was the staff’s favorite restaurant in Auburn/Opelika? - deep blue

Oh man. Niffer’s is always a personal favorite of mine. The Hound is better overall, and I really like it, but nostalgia puts Niffer’s number 1 for me. — AU_Jonesy

It’s really difficult to nail down just one restaurant in Auburn. With the fact that the town’s changed so much since I spent most of my time there in school, the challenge becomes even tougher. When I was in school, it was hard to beat the understated elegance of beers and fried crab claws over a vinyl checkerboard tablecloth at the Creole Shack, and I went on my fair share of “fancy” dinners at Amsterdam. I ate at Little Italy a ton, but never before midnight, and when Cheng Du graced College Street, that was the Chinese food du jour. However, I’m going to go with Mike and Ed’s BBQ. Although, Jonesy’s Niffer’s nod is a good one. There’s nothing like squeezing into that parking lot before tucking into a huge tray of corn nuggets, then dinging someone’s car as you peel out onto Opelika Road. - Jack Condon

Buff Con. Hand’s down. You cannot beat an All You Can Eat Wing night on Monday Nights. Hated when that place left us but I was able to snag a Neon Sign and a Pint Glass to watch the Tigers on Saturday and that makes me happy every time I fill it up. Honorable Mentions would include Little Italy, Momma G’s on Donahue and Mag, Chang Du, The Grill, and the Zaxby’s on College (mainly because of the post Baseball games on Friday Night). - Drew McCracken

Venditori’s has a special place in my heart as it’s where I took my now wife on our first date and where we had our rehearsal dinner. I’m also a big fan of getting breakfast at Chappy’s Deli. But as a college student I loved me some Cancun’s Mexican Grill. - AUNerd

Oh man, there’s a ton of ways to go with this one. I probably have singlehandedly kept Chipotle on Magnolia open at certain points, mainly due to the fact that there’s no campus dining options on the engineering side of campus. I’ve certainly frequented Moe’s BBQ downtown quite a bit (always get the Mac & Cheese y’all). If I’m hosting someone who has never been to Auburn before, Niffer’s is a must. There’s simply nothing more Auburn than that place. BUT (he says in a Stephen A. Smith voice)... Recently, I have found a new favorite. Auburn has generally lacked in options for Italian (Venditori’s isn’t really my jam), but there is a new place on College Street (in the same strip as Acapulcos) called Fratelli’s that is awesome. As I understand it, it’s owned and operated by two brothers who immigrated from Italy a few years back, and they’ve been saving up since they got here to be able to open their own restaurant. It’s still a work in progress, but they make great food fresh in their kitchen for a decent price. I’ll expound more upon it in the comments for those interested. - Ryan Sterritt