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Aug 16, 2018
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  Football Preview: Running Backs

Auburn will have a new starter in the backfield during the 2018 season. Who earns the starting role isn't set in stone, but one tailback enters fall camp as the top contender to fill the role after the SEC's leading rusher and Offensive Player of the Year from last season entered the NFL Draft.

The Tigers will need to replace Kerryon Johnson and Kamryn Pettway after both decided to leave early for the NFL Draft. Johnson had a stellar 2017 campaign rushing for 1,391 yards while Pettway was hobbled by injuries.

Auburn has five position players vying for the starting job. Despite not having any proven returning tailbacks, position coach Tim Horton believes the streak of at least one 1,000-yard rusher will continue. The Tigers have produced at least one 1,000-yard rusher for each of the last nine years.

Kam Martin has a good shot at keeping the streak alive, especially since he's expected to get the bulk of the carries. Last year, Martin was the Tigers' second-leading rusher behind Johnson, finishing with 453 yards on 74 carries.

Martin's size could be a factor if he wants to succeed as an every-down back in the SEC. At 5-foot-10 and 193 pounds he doesn't have the ideal size but he has produced when called on and provides a big-play threat out of the backfield.

Martin will see plenty of competition from the four other scholarship tailbacks in fall camp. Malik Miller, JaTarvious Whitlow, Devan Barrett and Asa Martin should see the field either as backups or to give Martin a much needed break during the grind of a long season.

Miller has 50 carries for 204 yards in mop-up duty during his two seasons on the Plains, while Barrett had 79 rushing yards on 14 carries as a freshman last season. Whitlow hasn't recorded a college carry after being redshirted last season due to an ankle injury.

Newcomer Asa Martin participated in spring drills and has been compared to Johnson. The reigning Alabama Mr. Football, he rushed for 2,228 yards and 33 touchdowns as a senior at Austin High.

Quarterbacks and Receivers

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