Auburn Football Newcomers to Watch: No. 4

This series features Auburn football players who are expected to make their college debuts this fall with good chances to be significant contributors for the Tigers.

Auburn, Ala.—Coming in at No. 4 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 Kris Frost.

A talented two-way player coming out of Butler High in Matthews, N.C., Frost was expected to make an impact last season, but an arm injury forced him to have surgery and miss the entire 2011 season.

Instead of playing, he had to sit and watch while working to get back into top form physically. Getting back on the field in the spring was a good feeling the young linebacker points out.

"First off, just getting started was a leap for me, a big milestone," Frost says. "I was finally happy to get on the field and be able to compete with all the other guys and just get a feel for everything and how college football, the speed of college football, trying to adjust to the size of everyone.

"I feel like I made some major strides," he says. "I've started to become more mature as far as thinking goes, thinking on the field and being a student of the game."

In charge of helping Frost get up to speed on defense will be Tommy Thigpen. Frost's recruiter when he was in high school. The former linebacker is back coaching the position after working with the secondary his first three seasons at Auburn. Frost says he's excited to have Thig working with him.

"Well, him being my recruiting coordinator, it was amazing, it was like a dream come true," Frost says. "I spend a lot of time with him, I get very personable. I get to go in his office and watch film whenever I want. Practice should always be fun while you're working, and he really brings that over into the game."

Watching as Frost grew from 225 pounds to his current weight of 233, Thigpen notes his growth must catch up on the field as well because he's going to be counted on to provide depth for the Tigers this season.

"We've got to up his football IQ from spring," Thigpen says. "From here to September is a long way away so we're looking for a long of development with him. If he can meet the challenge he should be able to help us in a lot of situations.

"He played around like a rookie, like a guy that's been away from football for a year. But he's a very prideful kid and, he's a smart young man. We know he's come in to do all the things he needs to do to put himself in a position to help us. We expect a lot of improvement from that whole corps."

Kris Frost was a U.S. Army All-American as a senior in high school.

Frost agrees with Thigpen, noting that he's got plenty of mental work ahead of him this summer and in two-a-days to be ready to challenge senior Jonathan Evans and sophomore Justin Garrett for a starting role on defense.

"I definitely know that I need to improve in that aspect," Frost says. "I need to improve as to where to get lined up and where to be pre-snap so that when the ball is snapped, it doesn't make my job even harder than it is. I know for sure that I've done a good job by being aggressive to the ball and always hustling to the ball.

"Basically that's what all the coaches always say they want is to see us hustling to the ball. A lot of times, even if you make a mistake, your hustle will make up for it. That's one thing I feel good about what I did this spring, but I'm definitely in the books to get the plays right and get lined up right."

Hoping to get to 240-245 pounds by the time the season rolls around, Frost says the linebackers as a group are working hard to get ready for the season. With a season off from playing in a game and having to prepare to jump into the action this fall, he notes for him this summer is the time to get the job done.

"We're making strides," Frost says. "I feel like all the guys in the weight room are making strides. Especially on the field running and everything during our sprints, we're all really getting after it and competing with one another.

"I'm definitely in the process of getting fully in shape like I was when I came as a freshman, and I'm almost there," he adds. "I feel like we're all making strides as a football team, and that's the biggest thing is just being able to see that everyone's competing. That's what makes the workouts fun."

No. 12, Mike Blakely

No. 11, Jaquay Williams

No. 10, Ricky Parks

No. 9, Cassanova McKenzie

No. 8, Jovon Robinson

No. 7, Sammie Coates

No. 6, Christian Westerman

No. 5, Corey Grant

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