Jason's Friday Mailbag: 1st Summer Edition

Covering a lot of ground talking about Auburn football recruiting, projected depth chart, basketball and much more in the first summer edition of Jason Caldwell's summer mailbag column.

ATLtiger07: Any chance you can speak a little bit about the Tony Jones situation? That came out of the blue. Also, are all the basketball signees on track to enroll this summer?

From what I understand this is an opportunity for Jones to move into professional basketball, something he’s wanted to do. I also think it has a great deal to do with keeping Todd Golden on the staff. He’s going to be a wanted man in the basketball world in a few years and for Auburn to move him to the staff out of an administrative role was something Pearl has been wanting to do. The signees are all scheduled to be on campus before the start of fall semester classes in August.

TexasTiger02: 1) Who will be our DT recruits come early February?

That’s a good question. I think the Tigers have a great shot at Antwuan Jackson at defensive tackle and I still believe getting Stephon Taylor on campus will give Auburn a great shot at him as well. I think Marlon Davidson is going to be a defensive tackle down the line and I like Auburn’s chances there as well.

2) How many interior DL recruits is our staff shooting for?
With Auburn playing both a 4-3 and 3-4 under Muschamp you’re going to have some guys that are recruited as DE’s that will play more of an interior position in the 3-4 look. I’ll say the Tigers sign at least four in this class.

3) Who will be the #2 WR and #3 WR production wise behind Duke?

No question in my mind that Ricardo Louis will be the No. 2 wide receiver this season. After that I like Marcus Davis to be Mr. Dependable and be the third receiver.

4) Who will be the #1 Starter at RB for us?

I think Roc will be the game one starter, but all three of the returning guys will get some action early in the season. After that it’s a toss-up as to who will wind up being the guy.

5) Do you think we beat UGA at home in November?
I think Auburn beats the Bulldogs this season.

6) Do you think there may be a talent/depth issue at TE?

There is no may to it. Auburn has some concerns at tight end this season with Chris Laye the only true returning player at the position and incoming freshman Jalen Harris likely to need to some to adjust to this level. Because of that I think we’ll see a great deal of Kamryn Pettway and Chandler Cox on the field at the same time.

7) Who is the one Offensive Lineman you're hearing most about who's improving?

For me it’s Austin Golson. I think most of the linemen are making some strides with Robert Leff a guy I think has gotten a lot better, but Golson’s adjustment at center was really impressive this spring.

aubblue: How confident are you that we can win the National Championship in Football AND Softball this upcoming year? What about making the Sweet 16 in basketball AND a super regional in baseball? Which of the two above is more likely?

I think Auburn has a shot to win in football and softball. To have a chance is a big step for any program and that’s about as far as the confidence factor goes. As for the Sweet 16 in basketball, I don’t think that’s in the cards just yet. Is it possible? Yes, it’s possible, but I think it’s another year away before is a stronger possibility. As for a super regional in baseball, that’s going to take some serious offensive improvement to make happen. If the Tigers can get some juco help at the plate and on the mound they could have a shot at postseason again.

TexasTiger02: Can you give us your best guess on who our 2 deep will be in the secondary on a 4-3 defense and nickle?

I will go with Jonathan Jones and Josh Holsey at corner with Stephen Roberts and Blake Countess behind them. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Countess become a starter later in the season however. At safety it’s Tray Matthews and Rudy Ford with Nick Ruffin and Markell Boston behind them. At the nickel I think Tim Irvin is the starter with Javiie Mitchell as the linebacker type. I won’t be surprised to see Richard McBryde make some noise there however.

AUBnMD: Do you think Gus will ever allow scholarship football players to play on our basketball team? We have several athletes IMO who could have helped in the past and several current footballers who would be contributors, altho I have no idea how much playing time they might get on the court.

The easy answer is probably never. I wouldn’t rule out a baseball player sometime down the line, but even that is tough with spring practice. With basketball there is just so much missed time with football practices and games going into January. Then the winter workouts are perhaps the most important time of the year for football. In the end I think it’s just too much overlap to work in this day and age.

gtwstock: When do you think we will finally have plans formally announced concerning the modifications at Jordan Hare? How large do you think the softball stadium capacity needs to be (hint, 450 people reserved season tickets - new season ticket holders, so probably at least 1,000 more tickets- in the first hour that reservations were open this morning)?

I think it’s an ongoing process to finalize the plans and I wouldn’t be surprised if they announce something sometime during the season. That would be the most opportune time to announce with the people paying the most attention. As for softball I think they need to add 750-1,000 seats with upper levels on each side.

miggs: Who physically of the incoming freshmen have impressed you?

Just about every incoming freshman I have seen has really looked impressive, but Richard McBryde looks really strong and physical as does Mike Horton. Horton has trimmed down almost 40 pounds in the last year and looks very impressive. Another one is Montavious Atkinson. He’s slim and trim, but has a strong build

AUTD2: What do you think our chances are in landing Josh Langford? What position do you think Kerryon Johnson will end up playing?

I think Auburn has as much of a chance at landing him as any big-timer in a long time prior to Austin Wiley in 2017, but in the end I think beating Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina, etc. is going to be too tough. As for Kerryon Johnson I think he plays the speed back role next season, but he’ll also be able to run as a true tailback as well.

earlc: Why has the stadium upgrade become so complicated?

I think the way the stadium is built has made it a more difficult fix. Because the north end zone is basically built on stilts in a hole, adding an extra deck for premium seating, etc. would be too much of a load without doing major re-engineering. I believe they will have to reinforce the foundation on that end before moving forward.

nhill76: Could you do a breakdown of how many you think will be taken at each position group for the 2016 football class?

I’ll take a shot, but the situation is always pretty fluid this time of year. QB (2), RB (2), WR (3), TE (1-2), OL (3-4), DL (4-6), LB (3-4), DB (4-5). That’s my best guess.

austudent22: With stadium renovations in the chamber one certainty seems to be the relocation of the press box to the endzone or a corner. As a member of the press what is your feeling on that ? Is there a negative for Auburn ootball/Athletics/University from such a move?

I don’t have a problem with moving the press box down the line some. The biggest thing is to upgrade it and make it more functional for people to use during the game. To me a bigger deal is having an on-field press room for photographers, video guys, press conferences, etc. with bathrooms and facilities. Right now Auburn is woefully behind in that department.

wtbtiger: Who has stepped up in the off season and taken a leadership role on the football team?

That’s something that really starts to take shape during these summer afternoon workouts, but I think Cassanova McKinzy and Kris Frost are two guys that are doing a good job right now. I also think Avery Young is going to be a very good leader for this team. Jeremy Johnson has those traits and the more he gets used to it being his job and more leadership he’ll continue to show.

TexasTiger02: When Woody Barrett said "there will be a lot of Florida players coming to Auburn"... Whom was he referring to?

That’s anybody’s guess right now, but I think he’s going to make a run at Nate Craig for sure. I really think he was talking more in general terms right now knowing how much emphasis Auburn is putting on Florida.

TexasTiger02: Jason, did you ever get in the habit of buying preseason magazines? And if so, do you buy Athlon, Lindey's, Sporting News, and/or Phil Steele?

I used to buy them all when I was younger and in school. That was part of my ritual to get ready for the season then, but when Mark started doing the football guide that was pretty much the only one I bought after that. Crazy that I’m now working on that very same magazine. Life is funny sometimes.

Actman:#1. Do you see us going into 2015 with 12 or 13 scholarship players? Will CBP add another to replace Purchase, or leave it open. #2. Have you seen any summer practices? if so, who has impressed?

As of right now I think they’ll likely leave it open to give them another scholarship for the 2016 class, but if the right guy walked in the door they would definitely take him. As for summer practices, I haven’t seen any yet but I’m looking forward to seeing these new guys. I think Bryce Brown is going to be a steal when all is said and done.


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