SEC Media Days is complete. Fall camp starts on August 2nd. Watch lists are being dropped daily. Talkings heads are pumping out previews and fighting for the hottest takes. Aaron Murray is still crying about Nick Fairley. It’s almost here folks. Auburn football is almost back!
But we still have some more waiting to do. So to pass the time I thought I would take another stab at Auburn’s 2019 depth chart. This is my 3rd take on the subject and it’s a little scary how much has changed since the first one. With the birth of the transfer portal and less strenuous rules around eligibility when changing schools, rosters are undergoing much more attrition during the offseason these days. It also means teams are adding new faces as well. Let’s get caught up on where things stand now that it appears the roster is in its mostly final form.
- #13 Joey Gatewood | 6’5” | 233 lbs | rFreshman --OR--
- #10 Bo Nix | 6’2” | 207 lbs | Freshman
- #24 Cord Sandberg | 6’3” | 215 lbs | rFreshman
Unsurprisingly, after spring practice this became a two man race between the freshman QBs. Also unsurprisingly, Malik Willis’s name ended up in the transfer portal shortly after Gus Malzahn made the cut. It was recently reported that he will play for Hugh Freeze at Liberty next season which should be a lot of fun to watch.
Who from Gatewood and Nix emerges as the guy is yet to be seen though based off the rotation at A-Day, it looks like Joey might be the 1A option. But don’t be surprised if you see both on August 31st.
Running Back (4)
- #28 JaTarvious Whitlow | 6’0” | 210 lbs | rSophomore
- #9 Kam Martin | 5’10” | 189 lbs | Senior --OR--
- #25 Shaun Shivers | 5’7” | 179 lbs | Sophomore --OR--
- #3 DJ Williams | 5’11” | 216 lbs | Freshman
- #32 Malik Miller | 5’11” | 235 lbs | rJunior
- #21 Mark Antony-Richards | 6’1” | 195 lbs | Freshman
I am taking some liberties here. First, I’ve dropped the “OR” from Boobee and made him the #1 back. While I still expect to see plenty of Kam Martin, I think Whitlow will enter the fall as the bellcow. Besides Boobee more than likely being the guy, there’s no telling how things will shake out. Shaun Shivers missed spring ball while running track which gave early enrollee DJ Williams a chance to get a lot of reps. He looked outstanding during Auburn’s spring game and you have to think given his skillset he will have some sort of role in the offense. Richards is at the bottom of list only because he just arrived on campus but he’s a guy the staff believes can one day develop into a Kerryon Johnson type of back. It just might be hard for him to see the field in 2019 though it’s definitely not impossible, kid can play.
- Jay Jay Wilson | 6’3” | 280 lbs | rSenior --OR--
- #47 John Samuel Shenker | 6’3” | 248 lbs | rSophomore --OR--
- #29 Harold Joiner | 6’4” | 215 lbs | rFreshman
- #99 Spencer Nigh | 6’0” | 267 lbs | Senior
- #86 Luke Deal | 6’5” | 251 lbs | Freshman
Wilson and Joiner are in my opinion the biggest wildcards on the roster in 2019. Wilson isn't yet listed officially on Auburn’s roster but is enrolled and on campus. Both are tremendous athletes that don’t necessarily fit a specific position. Meanwhile, Shenker was the #1 guy this spring and should be poised to play a lot of snaps this season. Reportedly, Luke Deal’s recovery is going well. I still think he finds a way to contribute before the season is over.
Wide Receiver (9/Split End)
- #17 Marquis McClain | 6’2” | 224 lbs | rJunior --OR--
- Zach Farrar | 6’3” | 209 lbs | rJunior
- #11 Shedrick Jackson | 6’0” | 198 lbs | Sophomore
It appears the top concern Gus Malzahn had for his offense following spring practice was finding a true deep threat for the 9 position. The Tigers pursued a number of grad transfer WR targets, most notably La’Michael Pettway, before snagging Youngstown State’s Zach Farrar. He only played in 6 game last season for the Penguins but was effective in limited action catching 20 passes for 307 yards and a TD. He will have a shot at earning the nod as starter but you have to think Marquis McClain won’t easily hand it over. This could be do or die time for the redshirt junior out of Crestview, FL
Wide Receiver (5/Big Slot)
- #18 Seth Williams | 6’3” | 224 lbs | Sophomore
- #80 Sal Cannella | 6’5” | 228 lbs | Senior
- #85 Tyler Fromm | 6’5” | 218 lbs | Freshman
Auburn’s A-Day happened to turn into the “Seth Williams Experience” and I think everyone was ok with it. The Cottondale, AL native was a breakout star in the 2018 campaign and is poised for an even bigger sophomore season if the QB situation works out. In my first two iterations of this depth chart exercise, I had Williams at the “9” but he was back at his normal spot during A-Day so that’s where I will move him to as well.
Sal Cannella bounced back from a disappointing debut 2017 season with a strong year in 2018 catching 12 passes for 111 yards and 3 TDs. He will more than likely continue to be mostly a redzone target but hopefully one that is used even more effectively this upcoming year.
Wide Receiver (3/Slot)
- #33 Will Hastings | 5’10” | 174 lbs | rSenior
- #6 Ja’Varrius Johnson | 5’9” | 163 lbs | Freshman
It will be very interesting to see how Hastings performs this season coming off a severe knee injury and having to get on track with two freshman QBs. Johnson is going to be hard to keep off the field despite his small stature.
Wide Receiver (2/Flanker)
- #12 Eli Stove | 6’0” | 188 lbs | rJunior --OR--
- #5 Anthony Schwartz | 6’0” | 179 lbs | Sophomore
- #19 Matthew Hill | 6’1” | 190 lbs | rFreshman
- #16 Jashawn Sheffield | 6’1” | 183 lbs | Freshman
A lot of talent at this position but only one football to throw around. Stove was an underrated piece of the 2017 attack and getting him back is big but it’s hard to justify not having Anthony Schwartz on the field. The speedster finished tied for 2nd with Boobee Whitlow in points scored last season for the Tigers. Then you have one of the top ranked players in Auburn’s 2018 class trying to crack the rotation in Hill who made some big plays himself during Auburn’s spring game. Very interested to see how the rotation shakes out at the “2” spot in 2019.
- #76 Prince Tega Wanogho | 6’7” | 305 lbs | rSenior
- #66 Bailey Sharp | 6’5” | 305 lbs | rSenior
- #65 Alec Jackson | 6’5” | 304 lbs | rSophomore
If there is one player Auburn can ill afford to lose in 2019 it’s Prince Tega Wanogho. The once 4* DL prospect has developed into one of the best offensive tackles in the SEC and has a legitimate shot at being an early round pick in the NFL Draft next year. So obviously losing him would be a blow due to his talent but the damage would be exponentially worse due to the lack of any sort of options behind him. Bailey Sharp will head into the 2019 campaign as the 3rd tackle option which makes things feel a little less dire but after Sharp there’s pretty much nothing in terms of known talent.
Jackson is hoping to follow in Tega’s footsteps. He too was signed as a defensive lineman but made the switch to offense. The season has gone off the rails if he sees meaningful playing time in 2019 but the hope is he can get up to speed in time to compete for the starting spot in 2020. Grimes owes a huge thank you to Rodney Garner for his help finding left tackle talent...
- #77 Marquel Harrell | 6’3” | 309 lbs | rSenior
- #56 Tashawn Manning | 6’3” | 326 lbs | rSophomore
- #62 Kameron Stutts | 6’4” | 320 lbs | rFreshman
Harrell was banged up to start the 2018 campaign and it showed in his play. But as he got healthy, he came on strong to close out last season and per PFF ranked #1 in the SEC for interior OL in terms of not allowing pressure. I expect a big senior year from the veteran guard.
Behind him are two guys with a lot of potential. Manning is the 3rd former defensive lineman signee to find a new home on the offensive side of the ball. He’s got a chance to earn the starting nod next season. I am interested to see how Stutts has developed after his redshirt year. He’s got the physicality to be a force in the interior.
- #54 Kaleb Kim | 6’4” | 300 lbs | rSenior
- #52 Nick Brahms | 6’3” | 301 lbs | rSophomore
- #50 Jalil Irvin | 6’2” | 299 lbs | rFreshman
- Kamaar Bell | 6’4” | 325 lbs | Freshman
I dropped the “OR” from Kim and Brahms as it appears the senior is set to begin the season once again as the starting center for the Tigers. Center was one of the biggest struggles for the Tigers in 2018 which means that in order for Auburn to make the jump they want to offensively in 2019, this position needs to be one of the most improved next season. Kamaar Bell was the last 2019 signee to make it campus but he’s officially enrolled which means every single member of the 2019 signing class made it to campus.
- #64 Mike Horton | 6’4” | 325 lbs | rSenior
- #59 Brodarious Hamm | 6’5” | 312 lbs | rSophomore
- #58 Keiondre Jones | 6’3” | 325 lbs | Freshman
I think Mike Horton might have been the most disappointing player in the 2018 season for me. He was solid early in 2017 before an injury sidelined him for the rest of the year. The hope was he would be one of the veteran leaders on what was a very new offensive line in 2018 but that never materialized. Like the rest of the offensive line though he showed signs of improvement as the year went on. I have a hard time believing we won’t see a big bounce back season from Horton in 2019.
Behind him things get interesting. Brodarious Hamm overcame cancer and has now solidified himself as Horton’s backup. But given his size and Auburn’s need, might the Tigers give him a chance to play offensive tackle some this fall camp? Then there is Keiondre Jones who has arguably the highest upside of any of Auburn’s interior players. It will be hard for him to find his way onto the field as a true freshman but I fully expect him to be in the middle of next year’s interior OL position battles.
- #71 Jack Driscoll | 6’5” | 300 lbs | rSenior
- #68 Austin Troxell | 6’6” | 305 lbs | rSophomore
- #72 Price Michael Sammons | 6’7” | 307 lbs | rJunior
- #51 Justin Osborne | 6’4” | 280 lbs | Freshman
The biggest news of the offseason was the news that Austin Troxell had torn his ACL. The Huntsville, AL native was barely beat out for the starting right tackle job last season by Jack Driscoll and was the clear #3 OT heading into the 2019 campaign. But now he will miss all of this season which makes Auburn’s already dire depth situation at offensive tackle even worse. However, this is also Troxell’s 3rd major knee injury in five years. You have to be concerned about his ability to make it through an SEC season 100% healthy in 2020 and beyond. Let’s hope the big fella can get healthy and stay healthy moving forward.
Sammons came in pretty early during A-Day on the 2nd team OL at right tackle. Time is quickly running out for the Nigerian native. I haven’t heard a ton of buzz about him but let’s see if he can have a strong fall camp. Keep an eye on the freshman Osborne. A year in Auburn’s strength and conditioning program will do him good. Great athlete but missed a lot of time his senior year of high school. Interested to watch his development.
- #3 Marlon Davidson | 6’3” | 278 lbs | Senior
- #1 Big Kat Bryant | 6’5” | 247 lbs | Junior
- #45 Caleb Johnson | 6’2” | 257 lbs | rFreshman --OR--
- #90 Charles Moore | 6’4” | 255 lbs | Freshman
For Davidson, 2019 needs to be all about the pass rush. The soon to be 4 year starter has been a rock on Auburn’s defensive line the past 3 seasons but a career total of only 8 sacks is a big red flag for any NFL team that wants to spend an early round pick on the Greenville native. If he can put up 6+ sacks this year (no easy feat), I think you could see him move up some draft boards.
Bryant is clearly the #2 man behind but after that I really don’t know how the rotation shakes out. I list Moore here but could have easily put Jaren Handy or Colby Wooden too. I am also not certain where Caleb Johnson is expected to play long term but he was at end during the spring game.
- #5 Derrick Brown | 6’5” | 318 lbs | Senior
- #8 Coynis Miller Jr | 6’2” | 312 lbs | Sophomore
- #96 Jaren “Stone” Handy | 6’5” | 259 lbs | Freshman
It’s early but I have seen a number of mock drafts already with Brown in the top 10. He just needs to stay healthy and keep producing. What happens behind him will be very interesting. Coynis Miller has the talent to be a breakout player for Auburn’s defensive line in 2019. He arrived late to campus last season and never really got into playing shape. A full offseason should really help the talented sophomore though Malzahn said yesterday he’s recovering from an injury. Tigers need him healthy for the Ducks because who fits in behind those two is a mystery.
- #94 Tyrone Truesdell | 6’2” | 310 lbs | Junior
- #44 Daquan Newkirk | 6’3” | 306 lbs | Junior
Truesdell is one of the strongest human beings on Auburn’s roster and will more than likely be tasked with the duty of filling the shoes of Dontavius Russell. Truesdell looked solid last season in his limited snaps but I need to see if he can consistently get the job done like his predecessor. As for Newkirk, he lost another spring to an injury but is expected to be back by kickoff against Oregon. Auburn needs him to stay healthy and become the #4 man in the interior rotation.
- #91 Nick Coe | 6’5” | 291 lbs | rJunior
- #55 T.D. Moultry | 6’2” | 243 lbs | Junior
- #25 Colby Wooden | 6’4” | 243 lbs | Freshman --OR--
- #29 Derick Hall | 6’3” | 230 lbs | Freshman
Where Nick Coe plays this fall will be interesting to watch. He could honestly line up at any of the four spots along the line but for now I will keep him pencilled in as Auburn’s starting Buck. In order though for Auburn to move Coe around, they really need T.D. Moultry to turn the corner this fall. He’s got the work ethic and athletic talent, it’s just about finding the consistency and not letting one mistake turn into another and then another...
This position took a depth hit when it was announced that Richard Jibunor had entered his name into the transfer portal. My understanding is this was more of Auburn’s decision than Jibunor’s but regardless he was a guy to be optimistic about heading into the 2019 campaign. That means there’s a good chance one of the true freshman Buck recruits could get a chance to play early. My money is on Wooden finding his way into the rotation by season’s end.
Strong Side Linebacker
- #10 Owen Pappoe | 6’1” | 219 lbs | Freshman
- #36 Josh Marsh | 6’2” | 218 lbs | rFreshman
Auburn operates mostly out of two linebacker sets these days but there are still some opponents on the schedule that will allow them to put 3 backers on the field. When the need arises, I expect Pappoe to be out there at the SAM though Wooten or McClain could also slide over if needed.
- #33 K.J. Britt | 6’0” | 236 lbs | Junior
- #30 Michael Harris | 6’3” | 240 lbs | rFreshman
- #43 Kameron Brown | 6’0” | 255 lbs | Freshman
It’s KJ Britt’s defense now. He has some big time shoes to fill but from an athletic perspective you can make the argument Britt will provide an upgrade. But what Davis brought from a leadership perspective cannot be undersold and that is where Britt will have to prove he’s ready.
- #31 Chandler Wooten | 6’2” | 228 lbs | Junior --OR--
- #35 Zakoby McClain | 6’0” | 210 lbs | Sophomore
- #48 O.C. Brothers | 6’1” | 231 lbs | Freshman
I am not sure which of these two will officially get the start each week but it really doesn’t matter. Both Chandler Wooten and Zakoby McClain will play starter snaps in 2019. Wooten went down with an injury during A-Day but will reportedly be ready for fall camp. The pair will look to fill the shoes of Darrell Williams and Montavius Atkinson next season.
Again this is why AU keps Buck so wide— AUNerd (@AUSportsNerd) January 5, 2019
Moultry able to quickly get up field & force this back inside
No one reaches Tutt who makes a hell of an open field tackle on a big time athlete pic.twitter.com/KsGIXyQDPm
- #6 Christian Tutt | 5’11” | 190 lbs | Sophomore
- #15 Jordyn Peters | 6’1” | 195 lbs | Junior
- #11 Zion Puckett | 5’11” | 208 lbs | Freshman
I took down the “OR” between Tutt and Peters because I think the sophomore has the clear edge right now. Tutt became the de facto starter by the end of the 2018 season and Peters missed all of spring ball with a foot injury. However, I still expect Peters to have an important role in the secondary in 2019. I am also very high on Zion Puckett but finding a way onto the field might prove difficult with the number of returning starters this season.
- #13 Javaris Davis | 5’10” | 180 lbs | rSenior
- #10 Devan Barrett | 6’0” | 195 lbs | Junior
- #26 Jaylin Simpson | 6’0” | 162 lbs | Freshman
Having Davis back full time at corner is big for the Tigers. While undoubtedly a weapon at the Star, Davis is at his best matched up in press coverage on the outside. Like so many other positions, who is Davis’s backup is the more compelling storyline this fall. I thought Devan Barrett would end up the bellcow back last season (just a tad off on that one) but he appears to have found a home in the secondary. Let’s see how many snaps he gets in SEC play this year.
- #20 Jeremiah Dinson | 6’0” | 191 lbs | rSenior
- #21 Smoke Monday | 6’2” | 186 lbs | Sophomore
- #16 Malcolm Askew | 5’11” | 185 lbs | rSophomore
Dinson and Monday return to play all the snaps at free safety in 2019 but it appears that Malcolm Askew might have a future in this program after all. After not seeing really any playing time his first two seasons, Askew got a lot of snaps this spring with Monday sidelined with an injury and reportedly impressed. He could be in line to take over as the #2 man at this spot in 2020.
- #24 Daniel Thomas | 5’11” | 209 lbs | Senior
- #9 Jamien Sherwood | 6’2” | 204 lbs | Sophomore
Hard not to be a fan of Daniel Thomas. He got his AU offer at the last moment and has made the absolute most of it. But I think there is a multi year NFL starter playing behind him. Jamien Sherwood flashed as a freshman last season and I expect him to only improve in 2019.
- #4 Noah Igbinoghene | 5’11” | 200 lbs | Junior
- #17 Roger McCreary | 6’0” | 188 lbs | Sophomore
- #14 Traivon Leonard | 6’0” | 198 lbs | Junior
- #18 Nehemiah Pritchett | 6’1” | 162lbs | Freshman
For the past two seasons, Auburn has produced back to back 2nd round picks at the cornerback spot. If they are gonna make it three years in a row, Noah Igbinoghene is probably the best bet. I don’t think it’s emphasized enough what he accomplished last season. No he wasn’t perfect but after not having played DB for a number of years, in a single offseason he switched over to CB and found a role as a starter. Auburn needs him to be better though in 2019. If he is, Iggy could hear his name called pretty early in next year’s draft because he’s got all the raw tools NFL teams want in their DBs.
Behind him is Roger McCreary who actually played a lot of meaningful snaps late in 2018. Everything I heard about McCreary coming out of high school is that he had all the physical talent in the world but still needed to learn how to play the position. Don’t be surprised if he takes a big step this upcoming year.
The next iteration of this will be when Auburn officially releases their depth chart. That day is not too far away now with fall camp just over two weeks away. Hang in there folks, for better or worse, Auburn football is almost here again!