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Aug 19, 2017
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  Football Preview: Defensive Backs

The Auburn defense will look different this year at defensive back with the departures of Rudy Ford and Josh Hosley. Both finished in the top 15 in total tackles, but that doesnít mean Auburnís roster wonít be able to replace their spots at corner back and Nickel.

Auburnís defensive back corps this year will likely be led by redshirt senior Tray Matthews. Matthews has made a name for himself in the last two years since transferring from Georgia. He was even one of three representatives for the Tigers at SEC Media Days this summer and is one of Malzahnís most experienced players on the roster.

Matthews doesnít have much left to prove. Heís a fireball at safety and led the team in tackles last year. This year, however, heíll have a chance to work with younger players with new position coach Greg Brown and second-year defensive coordinator Kevin Steele.

Brown will be working with a handful of talented defensive backs from former position coach Wesley McGriffís collection. Two names Auburn fans will remember are Stephen Roberts and Carlton Davis. Roberts returns to the other safety position after starting in 2016. Though Davis had a relatively down year in 2016, with Hosleyís departure, he is now the top corner. Auburn will need him to play up to par, as opposed to being good enough.

For the other corner spot, itís projected to be between sophomores Jarvaris Davis and Jamel Dean. This battle likely raises the biggest question mark in the secondary. Dean suffered an ACL tear last year that cost him a starting spot, however Davis played well last season. The battle could continue well into fall camp.

For all secondary players, Jeremiah Dinson has the biggest opportunity this fall. The redshirt sophomore is expected to pick up the Nickel starting spot, which he had at the end of spring. For Dinson, itíd be a personal special moment after he missed all of last season following a necessary knee surgery late in 2015.

Steeleís defense this fall is expected to be even better than the one produced last season. In the secondary, the 2016 defensive backs watched passing yards allowed rise from 2015, but passing efficiency defense improved. The Tigers ranked 22 nd nationally in the latter. If Auburn is going to have a successful fall on defense, those numbers will need to continue improving, and this could be the group to make that happen.

Brandon Miller

Quarterbacks and Receivers

Newcomers

Running Backs and Offensive Line

Linebackers

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