2017 Prespring Rankings: No. 16 Auburn Tigers
The 2017 prespring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Auburn Tigers
No. 16: Auburn Tigers
Auburn Tigers Prespring Status
Auburn went from being almost totally ignored to start the season, to 1-2 after losing to Clemson and Texas A&M, to surviving a minor miracle of a clock flicker to eek by LSU, when a loss might have meant the end of the Gus Malzahn era, like it did for Les Miles. And then it all shifted into high gear, winning six straight before the key injuries kicked in.
Losing three of the last four wasn’t as bad as it appears on paper, with a banged up offense not able to do a thing against Georgia, and with losses to Alabama and Oklahoma to close things out. And now the offense might just be dominant from pillar to post considering what’s coming back.
Bruising RB Kamryn Pettway chose to come back for another year, while Baylor QB Jarrett Stidham chose to transfer over. With just three starters gone, the O should blow up, while the defense welcomes back seven starters from a group that finished seventh in the nation in scoring D, allowing just 17 points per game.
Auburn Tigers Biggest Issue
And the pass rush will come from where? Carl Lawson is turning pro early after leading the way with nine sacks, while Montravius Adams finished second on the team with 4.5 sacks on the inside. Marlon Davidson is promising at one end, but can anyone quickly replace a tone-setter like Lawson?
Auburn Tigers Biggest Positive
The offensive backfield should be outstanding. Georgia might have the market cornered on top SEC running back tandems – if Alabama doesn’t take over – but the1-2 punch of Pettway and Kerryon Johnson should be unstoppable at times after combining for well over 2,000 yards with 18 scores. Depending on what the coaching staff decides to do with some of the other parts of the puzzle at quarterback and receiver, the top eight ground gainers from last year are back.
Really, Why Are The Auburn Tigers Ranked Here?
It would’ve been interesting to have seen what the Tigers could’ve done if QB Sean White and Pettway were in one piece all season. The addition of Stidham should make the passing game even more efficient and effective, but it’ll be the ground game that’ll dominate. The D might take a wee step back, but that’s okay – Auburn’s O will pick up the slack.