Happy Saturday y’all! We are… hang on let me count… 14 weeks from kickoff! Yeah, I know, that’s not as exciting as it was in my head. Anyways, if you don’t know what we’re doing, we’re counting down the days until kickoff with the top 100 Auburn recruits of all-time*. So far, we’ve hit on a transfer ghost and a quarterback turned receiver turned coach. Who’s next?
Coming out of Tampa Catholic, Devan Barrett was a great get for the Tigers. Barrett looked the part of a star in the making coming out of high school. Our own AU Nerd (among others) comp’d his abilities to Tre Mason, another Florida running back without elite speed but with incredible quickness and vision. Barrett racked up over 3,000 yards rushing and 32 touchdowns his junior and senior years, and his athleticism allowed him to get some looks from schools as a DB, as well.
Barrett had offers from basically every major program, but he was most seriously looking at McElwain’s Florida, Butch Jones’s Tennessee, and Fedora’s UNC. Ultimately, Devan committed to Auburn the summer before his senior year, and there was relatively little drama leading up to his signing on NSD.
Devan Barrett will be a junior this fall. Though it feels like he’s been on the Plains a while, that largely has to do with how much he’s been moved around on the roster, starting at running back, then moving to wide receiver, and finally corner.
Barrett actually received a decent amount of playing time as a freshman running back, though his usage frustrated fans (and yours truly) as he was only ever in on a toss sweep/RB screen. This seemed to work to great affect early in 2017, with his 13 touches in his first 5 games going for over 5.3 yards per touch. Teams figured out what was going to happen when they saw him on the field, though, as his touches diminished along with his production as 2017 went on. In his final six games, his yardage rate fell to just over 4.1 yards per touch on 11 touches. I will hesitate to say any of this was the true freshman’s fault - I think he was a victim of Kerryon Johnson’s success, as later in the year Johnson turned into a super-human who you couldn’t take touches away from. This, in turn, limited Barrett’s role to one tiny part of the offense. (Shhhh, don’t talk about Kerryon’s injury).
In the spring of 2018, despite the loss of Johnson and Kam Pettway, the Auburn running back room was packed full. Full of unproven talent, but still full. With redshirt freshman Boobie Whitlow making a big name for himself, Kam Martin having a productive if limited 2018, and true freshman Shaun Shivers providing some elite speed, Barrett was moved to wide receiver. Whether he didn’t take to the position or coaches decided they saw something else, I don’t know, but by fall Barrett had flipped to the defensive side of the ball.
The Tigers’ newest corner didn’t play a ton of snaps last fall, recording only three tackles (two against Alabama State and Liberty), but he stayed engaged by standing out on special teams. This included a touchdown on a blocked punt by Jordyn Peters in the Alabama State game.
It remains to be seen how much playing time Barrett will get in the secondary this fall, but I’d love to see his perserverance pay off - it’s not easy to switch positions and shine as a former top recruit.
Tomorrow, we go back to the quarterback well. And folks, I’m sorry.