Auburn Football Newcomers to Watch: No. 9

This incoming freshman has a good chance to contribute to the 2012 Auburn football team.

Auburn, Ala.—Coming in at No. 9 on our list of Auburn football players who have a chance to make an impact in their first season of collegiate game action is linebacker Cassanova McKinzy.

A physical linebacker with the size to be able to handle himself in the rough and tumble SEC right away, McKinzy was rated a four-star prospect and the number 10 middle linebacker in the country last year by

One of the biggest reasons why McKinzy could make an immediate impact is a lack of depth at the middle linebacker position for the Auburn Tigers. With Jake Holland and Chris Landrum the only two players there and Landrum just a redshirt freshman coming off a knee injury, McKinzy could provide some instant punch at the position and challenge for playing time right away.

At 6-3 and nearly 240 pounds, McKinzy starred on both sides of the football at Woodlawn but is defense all the way at Auburn. With new defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder looking for more bulk at the linebacker positions in the future for the Tigers, McKinzy is a player to definitely keep an eye on this fall.

It's that addition of VanGorder that has McKinzy smiling about his future at Auburn. Despite Clemson, Alabama and several other schools trying to make a push for him, the linebacker said having a guy like VanGorder as his coach has him pumped about the future.

"I feel like it's a great opportunity," McKinzey said. "You've got somebody coming from the NFL that can get you ready physically and mentally. I think it's going to be a great opportunity because he knows everything you're supposed to do if you want to make it to the next level. He's a good guy and has good schemes. He has a good mindset of what he wants to do on the field.

"He has a lot of packages that can relate to me coming off the edge," McKinzey added. "I don't like to just sit back. Basically he's going to use me where I fit to make it to the next level."

Newcomer No. 10 Ricky Parks

Newcomer No. 11 Jaquay Williams

Newcomer No. 12 Mike Blakely

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