Aug 28, 2013
AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn’s depth chart for Saturday night’s season-opener at Washington State is set. The question now is just what it says between the lines about Gus Malzahn’s first Auburn football team.
It says Auburn has pretty good depth at most offensive positions and on the defensive line, not so much at linebacker and in the secondary.
It says at least five true freshmen – defensive ends Carl Lawson and Elijah Daniel, defensive tackle Montravius Adams, wide receiver Marcus Davis and cornerback Kamryn Melton – could play significant roles.
It says junior speedster Corey Grant, listed only as a kick returner, is still looking for a position where he can be a consistent difference-maker.
It says C.J. Uzomah and Brandon Fulse, both listed as tight ends and wide receivers, could play varied and significant roles.
It says defensive ends Craig Sanders and LaDarius Owens took advantage of opportunities and made big leaps during preseason camp.
It says freshman Jeremy Johnson
is even with sophomore Jonathan Wallace.
Following are my takes on each position on offense and defense:
1. Nick Marshall, 2. Jonathan Wallace or Jeremy Johnson.
My take: Marshall is going to be very, very good, but it’s going to be a process. He’ll take his first snap as a college football quarterback Saturday night. Will Auburn try to redshirt Johnson?
1. Tre Mason, 2. Cameron Artis-Payne
My take: Best 1-2 punch Auburn has had at running back since Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown.
1. Jay Prosch, 2. Gage Batten.
My take: Prosch may be the best football player on the team. I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t have a much larger role than last season. Batten is a lot like Prosch with his strength, speed and intelligence. He’ll get some significant snaps, too.
1. Brandon Fulse or C.J. Uzomah.
My take: Two very good players and two very versatile players. Both are also listed as possible starters at wide receiver.
1. Sammie Coates or C.J. Uzomah
1. Jaylon Denson or Brandon Fulse
1. Quan Bray, 2. Trovon Reed
1. Ricardo Louis, 2. Marcus Davis
My take: Lots of talent but not much on-field accomplishment. That should change in Malzahn’s offense.
1. Greg Robinson, 2. Shon Coleman.
My take: Robinson is a big-time NFL prospect and a great player. When Coleman, a cancer survivor, takes the field for the first time, it will be very special.
1. Alex Kozan, 2. Devonte Danzey.
My take: Kozan, the only redshirt freshman in the starting lineup on either side of the ball, is mature beyond his years.
1. Reese Dismukes, 2. Tunde Fariyike.
My take: Dismukes might be the most valuable player on Auburn’s offense. He would be very difficult to replace.
1. Chad Slade, 2. Jordan Diamond.
My take: Slade is an underrated and underappreciated player. He is a fourth-year junior who could play any position on the line. He is a big, strong, athletic guy.
1. Pat Miller, 2. Avery Young
My take: Miller is extremely talented and started nine games last season as a true freshman. Young started the first three games before he was hurt. It was a close race. You could win with either one.
1. Craig Sanders, 2. Nosa Eguae, 3. Elijah Daniel
1. LaDarius Owens, 2. Ken Carter, 3. Carl Lawson
My take: You could have won a lot of money betting that Sanders and Owens would be the starters in the opener. Defensive line coach Rodney Garner says both made huge progress in preseason camp. Lots of people will be eager to see Lawson and Daniel, both 5-star freshmen, in action for the first time. Injured senior Dee Ford, obviously, will be missed.
1. Angelo Blackson, 2. Montravius Adams or JaBrian Niles.
1. Jeff Whitaker or Gabe Wright, 3. Ben Bradley
My take: These guys have a lot to prove after a bad, bad 2012. Blackson has an opportunity to be a dominating player. Five-star freshman Montravius Adams has moved to the second team and has overpowering strength.
1. Justin Garrett, 2. Robenson Therezie.
My take: Garrett missed more than a week with an injury, but he’s back and that’s good news. Has Therezie finally found a home?
1. Jake Holland, 2. Kris Frost
My take: For all the criticism Holland takes from clueless fans, he has won the starting job for the third consecutive season under his third defensive coordinator.
1. Cassanova McKinzy, 2. Anthony Swain, 3. JaViere Mitchell.
My take: McKinzy started the spring with the starting job and never relinquished it. Swain has made a nice move in preseason practice. Mitchell also has made a late push but still needs to gain weight.
1. Jonathan Mincy, 2. Kamryn Melton
1. Chris Davis, 2. Ryan White
My take: Davis and Mincy are perhaps as good a pair as you’ll find in the SEC, but there’s not much depth. Ryan White will be very valuable because of his ability to play both sides. Freshmen Rudy Ford and Kamryn Melton aren’t listed on the depth chart, but they are an injury away from being forced into getting some playing time.
1. Josh Holsey, 2. Kiehl Frazier
My take: Holsey has been the clear starter since Demetruce McNeal was dismissed from the team. It’s impressive that Frazier has already moved up to No. 2.
1. Jermaine Whitehead, 2. Ryan Smith
My take: Whitehead is a really good player. I won’t be surprised if we hear a lot more from Smith, a hard-nosed senior, than some might expect.
Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow Marshall on Twitter: