Big Auburn Center Has Big Shoes to Fill

Austin Golson and Coach J.B. Grimes talk about the 2015 Auburn football team's center position where the Tigers will have a new starter this season.

Auburn, Ala.--Although the Auburn Tigers have to replace a consensus All-American and four-year starter at center, offensive line coach J.B. Grimes said he is encouraged about the possibilities for the position this year.

Austin Golson, a transfer from Ole Miss, emerged from spring drills atop the depth chart ahead of senior Xavier Dampeer, who backed up Reese Dismukes, last year’s winner of the Rimington Award presented to college football’s top center.

“I think I have two centers I feel really good about,” Grimes said. “I am really happy with the Golson kid. He has a chance to be a really good player. He is 6-5, 305 pounds and is a good athlete.

“I like his smartness,” the veteran offensive line coach added. “He has got a football IQ so he has a lot of things going for him.”

Austin Golson is shown in action at Auburn's 2015 spring football game.

Grimes noted that Dampeer, a 6-2, 305 senior, also took a step forward in spring drills and should be ready to play if needed after seeing limited playing time last season as the backup to Dismukes, who was signed by the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers.

Auburn fans got their first look at Golson in the A-Day Game when the sophomore took the snaps with the first team offense. “I really enjoyed it,” the former Prattville High star said.

“The fans are awesome, I never would have thought there would be that many people at the A-Day game,” he said. “I’m glad we could put on a show for the fans and I hope they enjoyed it.”

Golson was a standout performer at Prattville High School before signing with Ole Miss and joining the Auburn team last year.

Golson said he had fun playing in a game situation after spending the 2014 season working with the scout team because as a transfer he was ineligible to participate in games. “Any time I get to play football I enjoy it,” he said. “I hope I continue to get some action and we’ll see how it goes from there.

“I feel like I have gotten a lot better,” said Golson, who pointed out that Dampeer finished spring with a good performance in the A-Day game so he isn't assuming that he has won a starting spot . “I know I still have a long way to go, but as far as building chemistry with my teammates and stuff like that I have got a lot better.”

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