Over the years, we’ve done different countdowns to kickoff (or tipoff). This year, we’re putting a twist on the classic “Best Auburn Player to Ever Wear Each Number” list. Football is all about lighting up the scoreboard in 2021, so let’s take a walk down memory lane and review the last time a player in each uniform number put up points.
#25 — Shaun Shivers, RB
Game — Auburn vs Liberty, November 17th, 2018
Like Lionel James before him, Shaun Shivers will most likely go down as a Short King* fan favorite running back among this generation of Auburn fans.
At just 5’7”, though, Shivers is more than just a hard-to-catch scat back. He’ll always be known for his Iron Bowl heroics, where he separated Xavier McKinney’s head from his body en route to what would be the game-winning touchdown. We’ll be seeing that highlight in Jordan-Hare hype videos for decades to come.
What brings Shivers up in today’s countdown, though, was a garbage time score in 2018 against Liberty. As a freshman, Shivers donned the #25 jersey (he’s now #8).
Most of the Liberty defense actually seemed to recognize the draw play here, but the middle linebacker quite confidently went for the bootleg action of Stidham. This caused a massive gap in the left side of the line of scrimmage, which was all Shivers needed to get a head of steam into the second level. From there, Shivers’s burst really shone, as he made two different defenders pay for poor pursuit angles.
Shivers may never carry the load as a lead back for Auburn, but he has a skillset that plays perfectly in as a complimentary back. He has elite burst and speed, and even if he isn’t the shiftiest of backs, he’s still difficult to bring down if the defender doesn’t square him up. And at his size, that’s difficult to do.
*Credit Painter Sharpless @paintsharpless
While Shivers changed numbers going into the 2019 season, we still have prominent #25’s on both sides of the ball in 2021. Caylin Newton may not be at the top of the receiver depth chart, but as the oldest guy in that position group, he may find a role in Harsin’s offense. On defense, starting defensive end Colby Wooden is a threat to house one. As much as he plays in offensive backfields, it’s easy to see how he could pick up a scoop and score this fall.
Safe to say, if either scores in Jordan-Hare this year, it should elicit an electric response from the home crowd.