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Aug 19, 2017
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  Newcomers Expected To Make An Impact This Fall

Some of Auburnís best football players in program history have been first-year starters. More recently, Cam Newton is a great example. Traditionally, Bo Jackson is a good guy to look to.

The Tigers finished with another top 10 recruiting class in February, and numerous first-year players this fall have a chance to see key playing time.

Auburnís biggest position signed ó defensive line ó also happens to be one of its most deep and intriguing. Derrick Brown, Marlon Davidson, Antwuan Jackson and several others are expected to make a push for playing time, but with Carl Lawson, Montravius Adams, Byron Cowart and Maurice Swain, to name a few, still stalking the trenches, the newcoming Tigers will have to earn a spot just to spend time as a substitute for the big dogs.

Davidson enters as a freshman after being one of the nationís top defensive prospects. Talent aside, he has a good chance to getting a step up on his other newcomers as a January enrollee.

Brown, who will arrive on campus this fall, was a huge get for Auburn, not only for the sake of having the 5-star recruit, but also snagging him from Georgia, where he was their No. 1 target. He was the Tigersí first 5-star in the 2016 class.

Jackson is only a 4-star recruit, but heís already at 6-foot- 3, 305 pounds coming to the Plains. Thatís a great start for the interior lineman, and he isnít even on campus yet.

Several new Tigers are being discussed at the wide receiver position, where despite losing position coach Dameyune Craig during the offseason thereís still a lot of optimism for the new guys. And, unlike the defensive line, thereís plenty of room for new playmakers.

Auburn has seemed to struggle the past five or so years with only one receiver being a go-to, dependable player. Last year was no different, and Auburn enters 2016 looking for anybody to be reliable hands.

Marcus Davis is currently big man on campus, but Nate Craig-Myers and Kyle Davis are generating a lot of excitement on the Plains.

Craig-Myers, who committed to Auburn before decommiting then eventually signing, graduates as the No. 6 wideout nationally and No. 5 prospect out of Florida. When he committed to Auburn (the second time) on ESPNU, he said, ďFirst, my freshman year youíre going to hear Iím a Freshman All-American.Ē Thatís big talk coming in.

Davis, who is an early enrollee, stands at 6-foot- 2, 208 pounds and was at one point rated as the nationís top receiver. Davis had 773 receiving yards on 47 receptions as a senior at Archer High in Lawrenceville, Georgia. At Auburn, along with playing wideout, he practiced returning punts in the spring.

Lastly, and arguably the most talked about position this offseason, is quarterback. Jeremy Johnson and Sean White return, but much of the spring centered around JUCO transfer John Franklin III.

JF3 ó the nickname that has spread across every message board ó brings a dual-threat attack that Auburn lacked in 2015. His style compares to Nick Marshall, as does his size. However, his throwing skills seemed less than Marshallís during the Tigerís A-Day game. Despite that being a concern, thereís still a chance Franklin wins the QB job.

Incoming freshman Woody Barrett has also had his name thrown in the quarterback debate. Barrett has a solid build, standing at 6-foot- 2, 225 pounds. Although thereís a difference between high school and SEC play, Barrett passes the eye test on every tape online. The real questions are first how he transitions in fall camp, and second if Auburn is willing to give a true freshman a chance to lead the offense.

The Tigers enter the 2016 with a lot of question marks ó the biggest being at quarterback ó but with another solid recruiting class in the books, Auburn could have the talent to answer most questions.

Brandon Miller

Coming June 27: Football Preview: Quarterbacks and Wide Receivers

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