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Freshman Participation Report

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A look at who is on track to redshirt and who isn’t

Mississippi State v Auburn Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images

One of the few good ideas the NCAA has had in recent years is to update the redshirt rule allowing players to play four games while still not losing a year of eligibility. Loosening the hardline restriction now allows coaches to give their youngsters a taste of collegiate football action while still giving them an extra year to develop before being asked to take on more responsibility. The key though is to make sure you count the games played correctly...

Anyway with 5 games in the books it felt like now would be a good time to take a closer look at who is and who isn’t in line for a redshirt.

Redshirt Ineligible

  • #10 Bo Nix - 5 games
  • #10 Owen Pappoe - 5 games

No surprise to see Auburn’s top two ranked signees from the 2019 class on this list though I am a bit surprised there aren’t a few more names here. That’s a testament both to the amount of talent that elected to return this year and the impact that the 2018 class had last season. Eleven signees of that 2018 class saw more than 4 games of action in their freshman seasons.

Redshirt Unlikely

  • #3 DJ Williams - 3 games
  • #29 Derick Hall - 3 games

While there is still a chance both of these players could save a year of eligibility, I think the coaching staff wants them on the field this season. Derick Hall had worked himself into the #2 spot at the Buck position before his injury against Kent State. I wouldn’t be surprised if he got back on the field following the bye week against Arkansas and played the rest of the year though if there are concerns with his recovery the staff can easily decide to limit his action to only one more game and preserve his redshirt.

It’s pretty clear DJ Williams is expected to be apart of the rotation moving forward considering he’s been seeing the field on special teams duties. Some nagging injuries forced a delayed debut but Auburn fans finally got to see the youngster in action this past Saturday. I fully expect his role in this offense to grow as the season goes on.

Redshirt Likely

  • #6 Ja’Varrius Johnson - 0 games
  • #11 Zion Puckett - 2 games
  • #16 Jashawn Sheffield - 0 games
  • #18 Nehemiah Pritchett - 2 games
  • #21 Mark-Antony Richards - 0 games
  • #25 Colby Wooden - 2 games
  • #26 Jaylin Simpson - 2 games
  • #43 Kameron Brown - 0 games
  • #48 O.C. Brothers - 1 game
  • #51 Justin Osborne - 0 games
  • #58 Keiondre Jones - 0 games
  • #79 Kamaar Bell - 0 games
  • #85 Tyler Fromm - 1 game
  • #86 Luke Deal - 1 game
  • #96 Jaren Handy - 2 games

Again, the length of this list is a testament to the returning experience on this roster and how many freshman last year were asked to play significant snaps. Auburn signed a very good 2019 class but hasn’t needed many of these freshman to be ready day 1. That’s a good thing as it means you can get these guys into the system and developing before being asked to play against the LSU, Georgia and Alabama’s of the world.

I think if there are any names that get bumped off this list they will likely be defensive lineman. It looked like maybe Coynis Miller was on track to redshirt last season before seeing a lot of snaps in the final weeks of the year. Maybe someone like Jaren Handy or Colby Wooden perform well enough in practice that they get a shot to crack the rotation but as of today I think chances are very good Auburn gets to redshirt the majority of their freshman class.

War Eagle!