Auburn’s coaching staff has been working hard to backfill the string of losses to the portal over the previous weeks. On Wednesday, Auburn landed UAB nose tackle Tony Fair. Today, they snagged former Southeast Missouri State standout Bydarrius Knighten.
Knighten had an incredibly productive career at SEMO recording 262 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 6 interceptions, and 23 pass breakups. He earned All-OVC honors twice and was an HERO Sports All-American honorable mention in 2018.
The SEMO transfer is a rangy, versatile defender capable of playing either safety position or the nickel for the Tigers. At 6’1” 200 lbs, he’s got great size and length matched with impressive quickness that allows him to be a force in the run game and disruptive when the ball is in the air. At minimum, he’ll give Auburn depth at the safety position but don’t be surprised if he’s starting week 1. Knighten’s looking for an opportunity to boost his NFL Draft stock and will have a chance to be an impact player for the Tigers this fall.
This recruitment escalated quickly with Auburn offering on Wednesday and landing his commitment today. Mississippi State was long believed to be the leader before Auburn swooped in and stole the Mississippi native. That’s the 3rd DB the Tigers have beaten Mike Leach out for since Bryan Harsin arrived on the Plains having previously won recruiting battles for 3-star Cayden Bridges and West Virginia transfer Dreshun Miller.
Auburn is far from done in the portal. In fact, it sounds like there are even more spots they are trying to fill than earlier in the week. Knighten’s commitment should not affect Auburn’s recruitment of Vanderbilt safety Donovan Kaufman. Derek Mason wants both to shore up depth in the backend of Auburn’s defense and give him more flexibility with guys like Ladarius Tennison and Nehemiah Pritchett.
The Tigers also reportedly remain in pursuit of Kansas defensive line transfer Marcus Harris who will have four years of eligibility remaining. A decision from both he and Kaufman could come at any time. Per AuburnUndercover’s Keith Niebuhr, Auburn fans should also keep an eye on former 4-star Aggie linebacker Ke’Shun Brown, a friend of Harris’s.
On offense, I still expect the Tigers to sign a running back, likely Central Michigan transfer Jordon Ingram. They also are reportedly heavily involved with former LSU starting quarterback TJ Finley who could have a decision as soon as next week. Obviously they will continue to monitor the portal for offensive line help and will try to add a veteran playmaker to the WR room if any become available.
Long story short, Auburn is far from done building the 2021 roster. Knighten is just another piece of this staff’s vision for what they need to compete this fall.
War Eagle Bydarrius!