Bryan Harsin’s very first spring practice is in the books. Over the next 2 weeks, I’ll take a look at where each position group stands as we head into the long summer off-season.
Post Spring Depth Chart
- #86 Luke Deal | 6’5” | 255 lbs | Sophomore — OR —
- #85 Tyler Fromm | 6’5” | 240 lbs | Sophomore
- #47 John Samuel Shenker | 6’4” | 249 lbs | Senior
- #87 Brandon Frazier | 6’7” | 267 lbs | Sophomore
- #40 Landen King | 6’5” | 214 lbs | Freshman
Much was made last season about Chad Morris’s history of using tight ends in the offense. While no Auburn tight end surpassed 100 yards receiving last year, the Tigers did utilize them more than they had since C.J. Uzomah’s departure. Between Shenker, Pegues, and Deal, Auburn tight ends combined for 18 receptions for 165 yards. That’s obviously nothing to get too excited about but it was a clear uptick in usage for a position that has largely been ignored since 2014.
If A-Day was any indication, Auburn’s tight end production should increase even further next season. Unless I missed it, at least one tight end was on the field for every single snap, often two. In fact, Auburn started the game in 12 personnel with a completion over the middle to Tyler Fromm.
It’s a new day on the Plains.
Under Bryan Harsin and Mike Bobo, the demands of this position have greatly increased. On one snap, the tight end might be lined up in the traditional pro style but on the next could be split out wide. Then on the very next snap could align like a fullback in the backfield. Versatility is key for players at this position moving forward. You better be able to do a little of everything.
Fortunately, Auburn’s new staff inherits a room loaded with versatile athletes. Despite Auburn’s inability to consistently utilize this position under Malzahn, Auburn was able to sign multiple highly rated and regarded tight ends the last few recruiting cycles. So much so, Auburn was able to move former 4-star J.J. Pegues to defensive tackle.
John Samuel Shenker elected to play baseball again this spring and missed practice. That opened up the door for sophomores Luke Deal and Tyler Fromm who both put together big springs and appear poised to see plenty of snaps this fall. I expect Shenker will join them in the rotation as his skillset is perfect for what Harsin wants moving forward.
What I thought was most interesting on A-Day was that every tight end saw action with the first team. True freshman Landen King was targeted multiple times with the 2nd team but also saw snaps with Bo Nix. Brandon Frazier worked with both units as well. I don’t think Auburn will have a single player rack up stats at this position this year because I think there’s a very good chance you see all five extensively.