With a history of putting true freshmen on the field if they can help the team, Malzahn will have plenty of options at his disposal this fall, but here are five players who will have a good chance to play an important role this fall.
The backup to Auburn senior center Reese Dismukes, junior college transfer Xavier Dampeer, got valuable practice time in the spring and should be a solid option if needed in 2014. With last season's number two center Tunde Fariyike not returning for his redshirt senior season, the Tigers needed a solid option behind Dismukes and they found their man in Dampeer.
With standout fullback Jay Prosch moving on to the NFL, Auburn is looking for the right fit at that position heading into the new season. While tight ends such as Brandon Fulse and C.J. Uzomah did a solid job in the spring and walk-on Gage Batten is also available, another option may be big freshman running back Kamryn Pettway from Prattville. Even though he has the skills to play tailback, Pettway is a devastating blocker and at around 230 pounds could be a weapon as a lead blocker for years to come if he's called on to play the position.
There is little doubt that as long as he can stay healthy that five-star running back Racean Thomas will have a chance to jump into the rotation immediately this fall for the Tigers. A talented runner with the ability to take it the distance from anywhere on the field, Thomas has the total package at his disposal with the power to break tackles at the point of attack as well.
Going through spring practice for the Tigers and showing the ability to make plays, speedy Stanton Truitt is similar to Marcus Davis and may have a chance to get some action this season for the offense. Even if that is limited because of the depth at wide receiver Truitt could be a big addition to the special teams units early in his career.
Of all the offensive players who have a chance to play this fall, the easiest to predict is junior college wide receiver transfer D'haquille Williams. Coming in during spring practice and immediately showing he's ready to play now, Williams should fit in nicely with Sammie Coates, Ricardo Louis, Jaylon Denson, Quan Bray, Marcus Davis and the other receivers for Coach Dameyune Craig. A player built in the mold of former Dallas Cowboys' star Michael Irvin, Williams uses his size, route running and great hands to challenge the defense at every turn and should be a weapon right away for Nick Marshall.