Photo by Jason Caldwell

Football, Football Recruiting And Auburn's Coordinator Search Are Featured In This Week's Mailbag

Discussing Auburn's recruiting on defense without a coordinator, early contributors and much more in this edition of Jason Caldwell's Friday Mailbag column in which he answers questions about the Tigers.

csgau: other than the Memphis QB, what other players do you see causing AU match up problems?

“Wide receivers Mose Frazier and Anthony Miller have combined for 110 catches, more than 1,400 yards and nine touchdowns this season so they’re going to need to get plenty of attention from Auburn’s defense.”


BigTiger1: For this program to move forward, a DC needs to be on board pretty soon. Especially for defensive recruiting particularly D-lineman. When do you see that happening and who are our best shots to finish filling out our needs at D-tackle and linebacker.

"As we saw on Thursday with Antwuan Jackson the defensive line recruiting usually has to do more with the position coach than coordinator, but there is no question that getting a new coordinator on board soon would be important because of the linebacker and secondary spots. Those are where new coaches are going to come and getting guys in place would allow them to get to know the guys on the recruiting board and also bring some new names as well."


autigerman: Who do you personally like as our future DC?I like Allen at SF...I feel this may be the way we are headed what say ye?

"Right now I think he’s probably the most likely guy, but that’s more of a guess because of the connection with Hugh Freeze and that connection with Malzahn. If it’s not him I still think Bob Shoop from Penn State is a name to watch, but it would take a whole lot of money to make that happen."


wareagle7799: Jason, is the thus far missing EE of Kyle Davis possibly due to the re-commitment of Eason to UGA? Or is this a timing issue?

“I don’t think Kyle Davis still unsigned has anything at all to do with Jacob Eason. I think it’s just a matter of him coming off shoulder surgery and getting it done.”


joel50: If you're in Gus Malzhan's shoes who are your personal top 2 or 3 picks for DC.

“If this is a wish list there are plenty of guys that would be on it, but if you’re talking about reasonable candidates right now I think the guys mentioned would be good and Charles Kelly is another guy who makes a lot of sense.”


m5guy: Does the DC turn out to be a name that we have heard tossed around a lot or a name we all go - WOW!?

“That’s a good question. It wouldn’t be shocking to see the guy be someone off the radar that just blows up in a hurry.”


howells: With the guys counting back, how many can we hold? Can we take 33?

“Auburn has room for all of the early guys with Jamel Dean also counting back. He came in from Ohio State in August and should be a player to watch on defense next season. As for the total number it will depend on how much attrition there is, but I could see Auburn getting to 25 without a problem and probably a few more.”


Supperclubber: Out of the seven or eight signees that are coming in January, who do you think has the best chance to be a significant contributor in the 2016 season?

"I think several of these guys are going to play very early, starting with John Franklin. I’m not selling Sean White or Jeremy Johnson short, but this season showed me that Auburn needs a more serious running threat in this offense to take things to another level. That’s what Franklin brings to the table, but he can also throw it.

I think Paul James, Marlon Davidson and Antwuan Jackson are all also going to be in the rotation right away on the defensive line because of the lack of depth there. I’ll throw in tight end Landon Rice as well. Things are wide open for him."


Plainsman94: Garnering their highest preseason ranking ever at #10, is this the year that Jeff Graba's squad ends the 109 meet losing streak to Alabama? Early Meet on Jan 17th in Birmingham (slanted judging) or later in the season at Auburn?

“I think with every passing year that Sarah Patterson is out of Tuscaloosa, Auburn’s chances for a win increase. Gymnastics is such a subjective sport that in the past the Tigers had to be considerably better than Alabama to even keep it close because in the minds of the judges Alabama was supposed to be better. Now with Auburn becoming more and more consistent it only helps them in terms of reputation."


adam36830: How do you see recruiting finishing out this February?  Do you see any surprises or long shots?

“I believe Auburn has a great chance to finish strong in this class once again. It’s kind of tough to pinpoint anyone at the moment, but I think offensive tackle Willie Allen really likes the Tigers. Getting him in for a visit in January would be a huge thing for Auburn with a major need at offensive tackle."


givhandy: Proud of the coaches keeping the recruiting effort going strong. Any ideas on who else we can expect to join the list of signees? I'm sure naming a DC will have an effect on that list.

“They are recruiting a bunch of top guys still with Derrick Brown probably the guy to focus on for the Tigers. I’m still not ruling out Rashan Gary completely, but Michigan has so much momentum it’s hard not to see him there. I think Derrick Brown is a guy the Tigers have a great shot with after getting Antwuan Jackson."


ATLtiger07: How do you feel about the running back situation next year and two years down the road? Are we done recruiting RBs for 2016?

“Unless something changes I think Auburn is done with running backs in 2016. I do think they should sign a second guy in this class, but I like Malik Miller. I am looking to see him run on this level to see what he can do, but he reminds me of an old-school Wisconsin back. With Kerryon Johnson as the speed guy down the road and 2017 Alaric Williams already on board they are in pretty good shape."


mgmzebra: Compare the starting OL for Bowl game to the 2013 guys who played for the trophy.

"That’s a tough one because of having Reese Dismukes and Greg Robinson playing so well for that team down the stretch. This group has been hurt and that has caused them problems, but I like the interior of this line a whole lot. When healthy I think Austin Golson is going to be really good and Braden Smith is turning into a beast. I still don’t think Alex Kozan is close to where his play was two years ago."


No7tiger: How do you see the team's mindset and motivation going into the bowl game?  

How much of a sense of urgency do you think there is to win this game? Thanks

“So far the mindset of the team looks good, but it’s just hard to tell until they kick the ball off. This team should have plenty of incentive to get a win, but that doesn’t always equate to playing a great game. We haven’t seen one of those this season so this would be a good time for it. The young players have a lot of respect for the team's seniors and want to send them

out with a win so that is a reason we could see the Tigers play with a lot of energy in this game."


aunatchamps: What do you think about the drawings for the new North endzone? What will the new seating capacity be? When will we start and end the project?

“I like the look of things for what the updates could be, but the key word is could. This is just the first step in the process and I think it’s going to take some time to get the funds for what will be a very costly addition. If it gets going it won’t increase the capacity a whole lot. My guess is it wouldn’t be much over 90,000 or so. Who knows when or if it will start but it won’t be before 2017 in my opinion. We have seen a variety of different stadium proposals over the years that didn't get past the planning stage."

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