April 9, 2014
Auburn linebacker Cameron Toney says he expects to make an impact as a redshirt freshman
By Phillip Marshall
AUBURN, Ala. - For Auburn linebacker Cameron Toney, it was the hardest year of his athletic life. For the first time, he was a watcher and not a player. As Auburn raced toward the BCS Championship Game last season, he could offer only moral support.
Such is the life of a redshirt.
"Probably the toughest thing I've been through," Toney said.
Toney signed with Auburn out of Huntsville High School in 2013. He believed he could play early, but a high ankle sprain suffered his senior year in high school continued to plague him. It soon became obvious that he would not play as a freshman.
"Just sitting on the sideline and watching the game and knowing I can't play was really difficult for me," Toney said. "It really told me I needed to get better and work on a lot of things. It was tough to watch those great games, and I wasn't playing."
Away from the cheering crowds, Toney worked hard to make sure he was ready when his time came. He got bigger, stronger and faster. At 6-foot-1, 243 pounds, he looked the part of a Southeastern Conference linebacker. On the field, he quickly showed he was ready to compete.
"I think I've gotten a lot better," Toney said. "I think I've proved a lot. I've been rotating with the ones, so I think I've been doing great. It means a lot to me. It means the coaches have their eyes on me and are really expecting a lot out of me. I believe I can make a great impact on the team."
Defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson says Toney has made significant progress.
"He's had a really solid spring," Johnson said. "He's caught on pretty well to what we're doing. He's a guy that plays faster than he measures."
"They are great leaders," Toney said. "I look up to them. When I came here, they basically told me what I was going to go through. I'm in great position to help those guys out this year."
Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow Marshall on Twitter: