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Breaking Down Auburn’s 2021 Football Roster

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There’s been a lot of turnover so here’s a look at where things stand right now as June approaches

NCAA Football: Auburn Spring Game John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Auburn’s roster has seen plenty of turnover the past couple of months. Between a coaching change, the passing of the one time transfer rule, and the ever growing appeal of the portal, it’s felt like Auburn’s personnel is changing over almost daily.

So now feels like a good time to take a step back and examine Auburn’s current roster to get a picture of what needs still need to be filled via the portal and estimate how many spots the Tigers have remaining to use this cycle.

Here’s a position by position breakdown of who is on Auburn’s roster. Those marked with an asterisk are seniors who are using their 6th year of eligibility and will not count against Auburn’s 85 total roster spots (that’s at least my understanding of the rule). I also want to note to make it easier to keep track of whether a player is a freshman or sophomore, I decided to just move them up as normal like Auburn’s official roster decided to do.

Let me know in the comments if I missed anybody.

Quarterback (4)

  • Seniors: Grant Loy*
  • Juniors: Bo Nix
  • Sophomores: TJ Finley
  • Freshman: Dematrius Davis

Auburn’s QB room is set now with four scholarship quarterbacks spanning all four classifications though it’s important to note that Finley still has all five years of eligibility remaining due to 2020 not counting against the clock because of COVID-19.

Running Back (4)

  • Seniors: Devan Barrett*, Shaun Shivers
  • Juniors: N/A
  • Sophomores: Tank Bigsby
  • Freshman: Jarquez Hunter

Auburn needs to and plans to add at least one running back via the portal to improve depth at this position. The Tigers are also likely to sign at least two backs in the 2022 class to prepare for the departures of Barrett and Shivers.

Wide Receiver (10)

  • Seniors: Caylin Newton, Shedrick Jackson
  • Juniors: N/A
  • Sophomores: Elijah Canion, Ze’Vian Capers, Kobe Hudson, Malcolm Johnson Jr., Ja’Varrius Johnson
  • Freshman: Tar’Varish Dawson, J.J. Evans, Hal Presley

This is a very talented but young position group for the Tigers which is why Auburn is reportedly on the prowl for a veteran playmaker to help lead this group. This is a big year though for that 2020 WR class that featured four blue chip signees and 3-star Elijah Canion. Regardless of whether or not Auburn adds any more wideouts via the portal, the Tigers need that class ready to contribute this season.

Tight End (5)

  • Seniors: John Samuel Shenker
  • Juniors: N/A
  • Sophomores: Luke Deal, Brandon Frazier, Tyler Fromm
  • Freshman: Landen King

Ironically the one room that might go untouched in regards to the transfer portal because it’s deep and talented enough is the tight end room. Shenker spent this spring on the baseball diamond but is expected to return to the gridiron this fall where he will likely play a large role in Auburn’s offense alongside Luke Deal and Tyler Fromm.

Offensive Line (16)

  • Seniors: Nick Brahms, Brenden Coffey, Brandon Council, Brodarious Hamm, Alec Jackson, Tashawn Manning, Prince Michael Sammons*, Austin Troxell
  • Juniors: Jalil Irvin, Kameron Stutts, Kilian Zierer
  • Sophomores: Tate Johnson, Keiondre Jones
  • Freshman: Avery Jernigan, Garner Langlo, Colby Smith

A whole lot of upper classmen at this position for the Tigers which should lead to stronger OL play. But even with all that experience, Auburn’s staff is scouring the portal looking for OL help specifically at tackle. I expect Auburn to bring in at least one lineman from the portal before fall camp maybe two if it’s the right two. I also expect a 4-5 man 2022 OL class that heavily skews towards offensive tackle.

Defensive Line (14)

  • Seniors: Marquis Burks, Tony Fair*, Tyrone Truesdell*
  • Juniors: Dre Butler
  • Sophomores: Marcus Harris, J.J. Pegues, Colby Wooden, Jeremiah Wright, Zykeivous Walker
  • Freshman: Daniel Foster-Allen, Lee Hunter, Ian Mathews, Tobechi Okoli, Marquis Robinson

I didn’t realize until I typed this out how young Auburn is on the defensive line. Truesdell using his extra year of eligibility along with Fair transferring gives Auburn at least some veteran leadership but like wide receiver, Auburn will lean heavily on that sophomore class. Thankfully, half of that room has already seen significant action and proven ready to contribute.

Outside Linebacker (6)

  • Seniors: T.D. Moultry*
  • Juniors: Derick Hall, Eku Leota, Caleb Johnson
  • Sophomores: Romello Height
  • Freshman: Dylan Brooks

It would not surprise me at all if Auburn were to add another OLB via the portal. That edge room is pretty thin right now and even someone like Caleb Johnson might be better suited playing with his hand in the ground. Keep an eye on Virginia Tech transfer Justin Beadles out of Tyrone, GA. He’s a kid that redshirted last fall but reportedly impressed coaches with the work he put in the weight room and looks to have the skillset Derek Mason wants at this position. He’d basically be another 2021 signee given he’d have five years of eligibility.

Inside Linebacker (8)

  • Seniors: Zakoby McClain, Chandler Wooten*
  • Juniors: Owen Pappoe
  • Sophomores: Kameron Brown, Cam Riley, Wesley Steiner, Desmond Tisdol
  • Freshman: Joko Willis

Auburn is reportedly evaluating former 4-star Texas A&M linebacker Ke’Shun Brown. If the Tigers offer he’d likely commit. Given Auburn is likely to lose their top trio of McClain, Wooten, and Pappoe, it wouldn’t hurt to add another under classman to this room in preparation for 2022.

Cornerback (8)

  • Seniors: Malcolm Askew, Traivon Leonard*, Roger McCreary
  • Juniors: Dreshun Miller, Nehemiah Pritchett
  • Sophomores: Eric Reed Jr, Jaylin Simpson
  • Freshman: AD Diamond

After the departures of JUCO signees Marco Domio and Kamal Hadden, numbers at the cornerback position are getting a bit light. Which is why the Tigers seem to be recruiting every 2022 cornerback in existence right now. Per AuburnUndercover’s Keith Niebuhr, the staff could also be evaluating Missouri CB transfer Jarvis Ware though given his limited eligibility remaining, I am not sure if that move makes a ton of sense. It would not surprise me if they did try to snag another younger CB from the portal to add more depth.

Safety (8)

  • Seniors: Bydarrius Knighten, Smoke Monday
  • Juniors: Zion Puckett
  • Sophomores: Ladarius Tennison
  • Freshman: Cayden Bridges, Juwon Gaston, Ahmari Harvey, Donovan Kaufman

It is very easy to see why Derek Mason made safety such a priority after he was hired. He added two to the class at the end of the 2021 cycle in Bridges and Gaston. He’s since added two more via the portal in Knighten and Kaufman. Auburn is also heavily involved with a number of safety targets in the 2022 class.

Special Teams (2)

  • Seniors: Anders Carlson
  • Juniors: N/A
  • Sophomores: Oscar Chapman
  • Freshman: N/A

This will likely be Carlson’s last year on the Plains which is why the Tigers are in pursuit of the top kicker in the 2022 class Alex McPherson. Auburn looks to be the team to beat heading into the summer but he’s set to take official visits to a number of SEC programs including Florida where his older brother currently plays.

Total Numbers

Auburn is currently at the total roster limit of 85 spots. However, those 2020 seniors who exercised their extra year of eligibility do not count against that 85 number. Auburn has 8 “super seniors” in Grant Loy, Devan Barrett, Prince Michael Sammons, Tony Fair, Tyrone Truesdell, TD Moultry, Chandler Wooten, and Traivon Leonard. That drops Auburn’s actual number down to 77 given the Tigers 8 more spots to use in the portal.

I don’t know if Auburn will use all 8 as those scholarships count against the 2022 class for now. There’s a lot of buzz that rule will be changed for 2022 so they might take the risk if they see enough talent in the portal they want. I do expect the Tigers to at least add a running back, wide receiver, and an offensive tackle. From there, it’s likely best available.

War Eagle!