Blake Countess was around the football in only year at Auburn
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. ― He played right away as a graduate student transfer. He went on to be named the team's defensive MVP.
Blake Countess will remember his only season at Auburn, from his play on the field, the friends he made off of it.
"It's been wonderful. Everything I've asked for, the coaches have delivered on. It's been great," said the transfer from Michigan.
The defensive back and the rest of the Tigers are preparing for the Dec. 30 Birmingham Bowl against Memphis. For Countess and Co., it's a chance to face Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch, who could be the first pick in the NFL draft.
"It's a great opportunity, and that's how I'm approaching it, as another great opportunity to kind of showcase my skills and this defense to put a good product on the field," Countess said.
The opportunistic Countess finished the regular season first in fumble recoveries, second in interceptions, third in kickoff returns and fifth in tackles. He said moving from Michigan and the Big Ten, where he started 30 games, to Auburn and the SEC, where he started 12 more, was an experience.
"Things are done a little bit differently down here," he said. And "seeing different venues in the SEC" was a plus, Countess said.
Being named the team's MVP at Auburn annual football banquet last week was a bonus.
"It meant a whole lot ― just from the respect of my teammates and coaches, that meant a lot to me. I wasn't really expecting it at all, but it definitely meant a lot to hear my name called," he said.
Countess will be playing for different defensive coaches in the bowl, now that Will Muschamp and Travaris Robinson have moved on to South Carolina. There was a coaching change before he left Michigan as well.
"That's the landscape in college football, it happens. The coaches are in and out, we know that," Countess said. "As a player, you pick a school for the school and teammates. It happens, I don't think anybody was surprised or shocked so to say with either coaching change at either school. It happens. You just have to focus on you and those group of guys you have around you.
"I'm looking forward to this bowl game and going out on top, going out the right way."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine