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

College football never ends. Even after all the equipment is logged and returned to storage, coaches are on the recruiting trail trying to bring the new superstar to campus. As the summer heats up and anticipation for the upcoming season rises, the time to test Auburnís 2017 recruiting class gets closer and closer.

Head coach Gus Malzahnís 2017 signing class finished in the top 10 according to most sites. It wasnít his best signing class, but Malzahn appears to have filled some holes needed. And some of these holes are immediate, and fans should get to know these new names.

The biggest name of all to know is one all Tiger fans already do know ó Jarrett Stidham. Stidham made his name at Baylor as a freshman then spent a year in junior college after transferring from Waco, Texas. The quarterback was listed as the No. 1 player in JUCO last season, despite not actually playing football.

Thereís really no need to say much about Stidham. Everyone knows what to expect from him, especially after his A-Day performance included 267 passing yards on 16 of 20 passing. Auburn offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey has said he wants the Tigers to throw the ball more. Stidham will likely be the guy throwing it.

Who will be on the receiving end of those passes includes an incredible deep receiving corps. Most names and faces are well-known, but several newcomers could work their way into the mix. JaTarvious Whitlow is one kid with the athleticism to find his way on the field somewhere. Whitlow is shifty and quick similar to former players like Onterio McCalebb or Quan Bray. Whitlow, a receiver, will likely see the field at wideout and could be a potential punt returner.

Though Auburn hasnít thrown an incredible amount to tight ends in the past, Malzahnís 2017 class included two, which could be a sign of things to come. Four-star recruit Sal Cannella joins the Tigers from junior college and 3-star John Samuel Shenker will join the team as a freshman. Auburn has used tight ends effectively when it has worked them in, which is a good sign moving forward with Cannella and Shenker.

The Tigersí offensive attack in the trenches could have at least one newcomer making an impact this fall, 5-star offensive tackle Calvin Ashley. The 6-foot- 6, 310-pound incoming freshman is more of a grown man than a newcomer. With Robert Leffís tackle spot up for grabs, Ashley could slide right in place for Auburn. Four-star recruits Nick Brahm and Austin Troxell are also players to watch.

Defensively, Markaviest Bryant is a name that could be mentioned with Carl Lawson. The 4-star defensive end joins a team that needs some help filing holes on the line. The announcement of Bryantís surprise signing on National Signing Day could be just the first time in 2017 Bryant makes Tiger fans happy.

At linebacker, Tadarian Moultry is expected to be a big-time player, with the only question being when. The 4-star prospect is one of three linebackers Auburn signed in February, showing Malzahn and Co. are aware of the gaps needed to fill. Of the other two signees, K.J. Britt missed most of spring practice with an injury, but the early signee should see the field this fall at least on special teams.

In the secondary, Malcolm Askew and Carlito Gonzalez are going to be two fun players to watch in the future. New position coach Greg Brown comes in with an open mind and these two are most likely to work their way into finding the field. Surely, if nothing else, theyíll be on the field for special teams.

Itís difficult to know how Auburnís 2017 signing class will always do. An injury or another issue could change a career, but with summer here and fall practice still a month and a half away from starting, itís hard for fans to not speculate and have high hopes. Right now it appears several newcomers could have big 2017 seasons, but we wonít know for sure until the season is in full swing.

Brandon Miller

Quarterbacks and Receivers

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