For the first time in four years Auburn won’t have Chandler Cox clearing space for Auburn’s run game. That won’t be an easy hole to fill but Auburn has a plethora of interesting options to use. Gus Malzahn is reportedly also combining the tight end and H-Back positions this year in the offense which is welcomed news. The Tigers have potential weapons galore but it will come down to deploying them properly.
- Chandler Cox (7th Round Pick) - 3 carries 3 yds 2 TD 11 rec 93 yds 8.5 avg TD
- Spencer Nigh (Senior) - 3 KR 29 yds 9.7 avg
- Malik Miller (rJunior) - 19 carries 68 yds 3.6 avg 3 TD 13 rec 144 yds 11.1 avg TD
- John Samuel Shenker (rSophomore) - 3 rec 40 yds 13.1 avg TD
Strength - Versatility
Auburn has an interesting mixture of talent at both the tight end/h-back spot and the fullback position. John Samuel Shenker took the majority of the first team snaps this spring but faces some wildcard competition from Jay Jay Wilson who is a freaky athlete but inexperienced in the system. Tyler Fromm might end up taking more of the Sal Cannella route in his career given his skillset while Luke Deal is your old school pro style type of tight end.
At fullback, Malik Miller has reportedly been working at that position this fall which makes a lot of sense. The Tigers also return walk on Spencer Nigh who has had a role in this offense in previous seasons when Auburn went heavy. You could also see Harold Joiner line up somewhere amongst this group though is reportedly working with the running backs to start fall camp. Put simply, Auburn has a wide range of different type of athletes they can use as weapons from these two positions in 2019.
Weakness - Predictability
One problem that has developed under Malzahn over the pass few seasons has been the pigeon-holing of players. My concern is with such a diverse skillset at these spots, guys are given specific rolls. Nigh is the blocking back, Miller is the 3rd down pass protector/screen man, Wilson/Fromm are the pass catchers, Deal is the run blocker and Shenker is the 3rd down threat. Supposedly one of the focuses Malzahn has this fall is keeping the same 11 on the field and avoiding those issues moving forward. But I am gonna need to see it before I believe it. I still have Devan Barrett nightmares...
Shenker is the safe bet to see the most reps in this group but I fully expect Jay Jay Wilson to have some sort of role in the offense. The key will be how quickly can he learn his blocking assignments and prove to the offensive staff he can execute what is one of the toughest jobs in this system. I will also say that if Luke Deal can get healthy he’s a kid I expect to make an impact. Name a program that is known for producing tight ends and they were after the former 3* prospect but an ACL injury on his first day robbed him of spring practice. Hopefully the young man can get healthy and on the field this fall.