SEC Country wants to tackle the best questions from Auburn football and Auburn basketball fans. Look for our Auburn Question of the Day every Monday through Friday . Today, I’m sniping a question that was originally for recruiting reporter Benjamin Wolk. Go here to see all of our previous answers.
How about Kameron Stutts & Jalil Irvin’s chances of immediate involvement for open OL spots if Calvin Anderson falls through. Can Coach Grimes develop these guys enough to be prepared for next season?
— War Damn Recruiting (@WarDamnRecruits) February 9, 2018
AUBURN, Ala. — Make no mistake about it — Auburn football wanted more numbers in its 2018 recruiting class than it got on the offensive line.
The Tigers signed 3-star linemen Jalil Irvin and Kameron Stutts in this cycle. It could add another in the next few weeks with Rice Calvin Anderson, who will be a graduate transfer and has several powerhouse programs vying for his services.
Auburn’s 2018 class was a strong one for building depth, and that extends to the offensive line. Even though the Tigers lost four starters on the line to graduation, they have a next wave of starters ready to step into the void.
Prince Tega Wanogho, Mike Horton and Marquel Harrell will most likely take over as full-time first-team linemen in 2018. Redshirt freshmen Calvin Ashley and Nick Brahms should be in the mix for starting positions as well. Auburn also has returning reserves in Tyler Carr, Kaleb Kim, Brodarious Hamm, Austin Troxell and Prince Sammons.
Due to that returning experience, there won’t be a lot of pressure on Irvin and Stutts to play right away. Neither are early enrollees, which will make it tougher for them to break into any sort of rotation as freshmen.
Irvin has been told by coaches he will compete for the starting center job when he arrives at Auburn. Brahms and Kim will be the top candidates there in spring practice, and there’s a chance Horton could slide from guard to work at center. Irvin will have the opportunity in fall camp to prove he can be a key depth piece at a position that doesn’t return any starting experience.
As for Stutts, his future at Auburn most likely will come at guard. Horton and Harrell are the favorites there for starting jobs in 2018. Coaches like the potential in Hamm, who redshirted in 2017 after successfully beating cancer in 2016. Don’t be surprised if he makes a serious move this preseason.
While Auburn wanted more on the offensive line, any additional pickups — except for the experienced Anderson — wouldn’t have been expected to start in 2018. Irvin and Stutts will compete for playing time in fall camp, but either filling an open starting job would be a major surprise.
Their presence will be valuable in terms of numbers. Auburn lost five offensive linemen and brought in only two through recruiting. The Tigers shouldn’t lose many linemen after the 2018 season, but they’ll have to backfill, so to speak, with the 2019 class.
As interior players, Irvin and Stutts should have time to develop as freshmen under J.B. Grimes without being forced into key roles. That’s the ideal scenario for offensive linemen in the SEC.
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