Freshmen Making Noise On Auburn Defense

Several incoming freshmen are having strong camps for the Auburn Tigers under defensive coordinator Will Muschamp.

Darrell Williams (above) has been impressive so far for the Tigers on defense at linebacker

Auburn, Ala.--Heading into fall football camp one of the areas that Auburn needed help immediately from the incoming freshmen was on the defensive side of the ball. With playing time available on every level it has meant plenty of opportunity for young guys across the board in Will Muschamp’s first season back at Auburn and the veteran coordinator said so far he’s seen plenty of positives out of the newcomers.

“I think, again, the young secondary guys—Jeremiah Dinson, Carlton Davis, Javaris Davis—are all guys that have exhibited the ability to play on the edges in the Southeastern Conference,” Muschamp said. “I’m very pleased with that. Byron Cowart has done some nice things for us. He’s going to be a guy that’s going to contribute.

Darrell Williams is a guy I’ve been excited about,” he added. “Richard McBryde’s going to be a good player in time. Right now we’ve got some older guys at the position that are a little more seasoned, but Darrell has showed up a lot. Richard’s done some nice things, so there’s no question that those guys certainly have the potential, and some other guys, too. We’re very pleased with where we are.”

With plenty of competition at linebacker with seniors Cassanova McKinzy, Kris Frost and Justin Garrett all in the mix along with sophomore Tre Williams, Darrell Williams has shown up time and time again in fall camp and Muschamp said along with good talent it shows that he was well coached in high school. That has prepared him for this moment to make a run at playing time the coordinator said.

“Obviously, Josh Niblett and his staff at Hoover (High) do an outstanding job so I think that says a lot about his coaching,” Muschamp said. “He certainly is a guy who walked in here and has got some football knowledge and understanding of what it takes to be successful. That’s a compliment to Josh and those guys, but again he runs well in space, he plays well in space, but he’s also a big man. He’s a long, big athlete. He’s a guy who has shown some intelligence and ability to be able to retain day to day with a lot of information being thrown at him in a fast game.”

It’s not just the coaches who are excited about the play of the young guys on defense to this point, but also several veterans for the Tigers has seen good things out of the newcomers. In the secondary senior Jonathan Jones said the young cornerbacks have shown up so far and he likes what he sees from the group.

“They're willing to get after it,” Jones said. “Starting with captain-led practices in the summer, they were following our lead. They pay attention to detail and they're ready, eager to learn. I think a lot of them are going to help us this year. We're going to need that depth.”

Carlton Davis is a freshman cornerback.

While Dinson and Javaris Davis have both done good things the freshman who brings a little something different to the table is Carlton Davis. At over 6-1 he has got more length and size than the other corners have, something Jones said could be an advantage for him down the road.

“Anytime you’re playing corner and a lot of press that we do, guys that have long arms, it helps them,” Jones said. “They don't have to have as quick of feet because they can get their hands on them. Once he learns and gets acclimated to college, he's going to be fine.”

Byron Cowart arrived at Auburn as a five-star recruit.

Up front the Tigers are counting on veterans such as Carl Lawson, Montravius Adams and Davonte Lambert to set the pace, but young players such as redshirt freshman Dontavius Russell and true freshman Byron Cowart should be able to help right away. While Russell was already firmly entrenched following a strong spring, Lambert noted that Cowart has come in this summer and stated his case for playing time as well.

“He looked good, real good,” Lambert said. “A freshman that can come in and play, that’s real good. We always talk and work on a few things so having him come in as a freshman and playing that’s a big part of this defense

“Freshmen, usually when they come in, are not as strong as him,” he added. “He’s fast. He’s able to learn quick. With a defense like this you have to know exactly what you’re doing.”

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