Yeldon Finishes His Junior Year In Style

Daphne junior T.J. Yeldon talks about winning the state title and recruiting.

Daphne, Ala.--When standout junior running back T.J. Yeldon and Daphne prepared to face the Hoover Bucs at Jordan-Hare Stadium in the Class 6A title game on Friday night, not many thought the Trojans had a chance to win their first title in almost a decade.

Thanks to Yeldon's play as a runner and receiver as well as one of the best defensive performances of the year in the AHSAA, Daphne won 7-6 to finish a perfect 15-0 season.

"It meant a bunch," Yeldon said. "For our seniors it was their last time playing together. I have been playing with them since I was little. It was our last time so we had to go all out."

Rushing for 49 yards on 13 carries and adding 42 yards on five catches, Yeldon had two of the biggest plays for the Trojans on the way to the victory. Early in the fourth quarter he capped a 33-yard drive with a plunge from the one for the go-ahead touchdown.

He then sealed with the game with a third down run with just over a minute left in the contest. Facing a third and nine, Daphne decided to give the ball to Yeldon. Making a man miss, he turned the left side and gained 16 yards before being hit and fumbling the ball. He fell directly on top of it to secure the first down and the championship for the Trojans.

"I knew it was going to be open because the safety was widening out," Yeldon said. "I just had to make the one guy miss. I almost started crying on that play but it worked out."

A 6-2, 195 junior, Yeldon finished the 2010 season with 1,112 yards and 18 touchdowns and added 34 receptions for 504 yards and five scores. Those kinds of numbers are the reason why he's already receiving attention from schools all over the country and has five offers to show for it.

"I have Auburn, Florida State, Tennessee, Arkansas and Illinois," Yeldon said.

With an offer from the Tigers, Yeldon was already very familiar with Jordan-Hare Stadium but playing in the huge venue was a different experience for him. With the tie to Auburn already he said the experience was one he won't soon forget.

"It felt great because they have been recruiting me real hard," Yeldon said. "I have been liking them a lot. It was amazing to play there."

Just as comfortable catching passes and lining up at receiver as he is at taking a handoff and churning out yardage, Yeldon has the look of a young Harvey Williams in that he's long and lean but still very physical. The skills he brings to the table make him a very versatile player, something Auburn has a use for in Gus Malzahn's offense.

"We run the same exact offense they do," Yeldon said. "Our coach, the offensive coordinator, is a big Auburn fan and he always calls me up there to talk to coach Trooper (Taylor) and coach (Curtis) Luper. I think I fit really well in their offense."

With his season complete Yeldon said he'll now turn his attention to getting bigger and stronger before his senior season. While he's expecting to continue to get more and more attention from schools, he said Auburn is definitely a school he'll take a close look at and he'll be interested to see how the Tigers finish out this year.

"I have been trying to do the same things they are doing because they are recruiting me real hard," Yeldon said. "They have been sending me letters and telling me to keep working hard. I've just done what they've been telling me. Hopefully, they'll win a championship too."


Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories