Diamond Working Hard to Earn Playing Time

Auburn freshman offensive lineman Jordan Diamond talks about adjusting to college football.

Auburn, Ala.--One of Auburn's group of seven true freshmen offensive linemen says he doesn't care where he plays, he just wants to find a way to get on the field and contribute to the 2012 AU football team.

That is the word from big Jordan Diamond, one of Auburn's prized recruits, who was rated five stars by Scout.com during his senior season last fall at Simeon High School in Chicago.

"I feel like I have done good so far in practice," Diamond said. "A spot is open so I just have to go out there and grind and go get it."

Jordan Diamond is shown at an Auburn practice.

Diamond has been working at guard in preseason practices as the Tigers prepare for their Sept. 1st season opener vs. Clemson.

The freshman points out he came to Auburn with the expectation that college football preseason drills would not be easy and he has found that to be the case.

"Practice has been a grind," he said. "You have to go out there, one day at a time, and give it everything you have got."

Mainly a tackle in high school, he has been playing both left guard and right guard for the Tigers. John Sullen is the returning starter at left guard, but has missed much of the preseason with an injury giving Diamond plenty of opportunity to show what he can do at that position.

"I don't care where I play," Diamond said.

The right guard starting spot could be open, too, despite having returning starter Chad Slade as the guy to beat for the No. 1 spot. However, there is a possibility that Slade will slide outside to right tackle with the Tigers losing both of their starting tackles who were seniors in 2011.

Head Coach Gene Chizik told Diamond and all of the other Tigers that every starting position is open to be taken by any player this preseason, even true freshmen. That was what Diamond wanted to hear. "It is not just encouraging to me, it is encouraging to everybody," he pointed out. "It is encouraging to feel like you have an opportunity to play here."

Standing six-foot-six and weighing in at 313 pounds, Diamond said he is about where he wants to be size-wise, 10 pounds less than he was in high school. "I can get it down a little more to get a little quicker," he stated.

Adjusting to the workouts in the summer heat and learning new terminology to understand offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler's system have been part of Diamond's freshman challenge in addition to adapting to college life and tougher competition.

"The first couple of days in the summer when I first got here it (the heat) was kind of rough, but now my body is used to it." Diamond said. He added that the physical demands are tough, but noted that is the way college football is and he was prepared for it.

The freshman said he believes he is improving as he learns the system from his position coach, Jeff Grimes.

Asked if he is seeing signs the offensive line, as a group, is getting better, Diamond said, "Oh, yeah. We are being coached like we have never been coached before.

"I like what Coach Grimes is doing with the offensive line," Diamond said. "He has put all of the guys in a situation where they have got to compete. I am just thankful for the opportunity I have right now."

Part of a highly-rated recruiting class, Diamond points out the freshmen are building a good bond. "Our goal in the class of 2012 is to be champions," he said. "That has been our goal since the first day we got here."

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