Newcomers To Watch For 2011 Football Tigers

Mark Murphy and Jason Caldwell each pick five football freshmen who could contribute immediately.

Jason Caldwell's Take:

Quan Bray-With the need for help at the wide receiver positions Bray could see action early and often for the Tigers in 2011. With the ability to play a number of different positions, the speedy former high school quarterback could be the perfect backup for Onterio McCalebb while also seeing some time at slot receiver.

Sammie Coates--Losing Darvin Adams, Terrell Zachery and Kodi Burns means plenty of chances for playing time at wide receiver this fall. A superb athlete who has gained 15 pounds of muscle since last fall, the Class 2A Back of the Year has the explosion and talent to make some noise early in his career at Auburn.

Erique Florence--Although the safety position is potentially one of the strengths of the Auburn team with Neiko Thorpe making the move there, Florence could be too good to keep off the field this fall whether it is as part of the defense or on special teams. With cornerback speed and an aggressive hitter, Florence should help out immediately.

Brandon Fulse--With Philip Lutzenkirchen taking on an expanded role in Auburn's offense this season lining up as a wide receiver at times, the need for another true tight end is a major one for the Tigers. That is where Fulse could step in. At 6-5, 250 pounds, he's physical enough to add a punch in the running game for the Tigers while also a solid receiver.

Gabe Wright--There are many question marks for Auburn in 2011, but perhaps the biggest is at defensive tackle. With the top three players gone and sophomores Jeffrey Whitaker and Kenneth Carter expected to be the starters, the Tigers will need an instant impact from the signing class of Wright, Angelo Blackson and Jabrian Niles, and Wright could be just the guy for the job.

Gabe Wright is on both lists and will be an important player for the Tigers this fall.

Mark Murphy's Take:

Sammie Coates--Although it is a big jump from Class 2A football to the Southeastern Conference, the talented wide receiver from state champion Leroy High looks to have the right stuff to pull off that challenging task.

It is no surprise that he has looked good in the informal summer workouts with his new teammates. Coates is a terrific athlete who was a star football, basketball and baseball player in high school. He has the height, speed, hands and jumping ability needed to be an outstanding college receiver.

Coates is still on the thin side and that may cut into his playing time, but with the Tigers needing immediate help at wide receiver it will be a surprise if he doesn't get a chance to play early this fall.

Reese Dismukes--After leading Spanish Fort High to the Class 5A state title in December he wasted no time starting his college experience by enrolling at Auburn in January. That head start, combined with excellent size, talent and a good background playing the center position, means he will almost certainly see action this fall.

Reese Dismukes (left) is shown in spring practice.

The big question concerning Dismukes going into the season is will he move ahead of redshirt sophomore Blake Burgess for the starting assignment? At the end of spring drills those players were close to a dead heat for the number one position on the depth chart.

Brandon Fulse--One of the more impressive physical specimens in a signing class filled with them, the door is wide open for playing time at tight end with Philip Lutzenkirchen the only returning scholarship player at the position.

Fulse runs well for a big guy and has quick feet, which enabled him to also be a standout performer at Fort Meade, Fla., High on defense, but his future at Auburn is on offense.

Another player who probably has an excellent chance to play immediately at tight end is C.J. Uzomah from North Gwinnett High in Suwanee, Ga. A key for Uzomah is making the adjustment to tight end after spending much of his time at quarterback in high school.

Christian Westerman--Normally it is a longshot for a true freshman to make an impact on the offensive line, but this case could be different.

First and foremost, Westerman appears to have all of the physical tools to succeed on the college level and the desire to play right away. Combine that with the fact that there are four offensive line starting positions open and the odds are better than normal for the newcomer from Arizona to make a strong push for playing time.

Gabe Wright--It will be a big surprise if several of the true freshman defensive tackles don't play early and often this fall with depth issues at the position. Wright, a high school All-American from Carver in Columbus, Ga., already has the size he needs to play defensive tackle in the SEC.

He was signed with the intention of bringing him in to contribute this fall and nothing has happened that has changed those plans. Ready or not, several of the true freshmen like Wright, Jabrian Niles and Angelo Blackson need to contribute.

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