John Franklin (above) is competing for the quarterback starting assignment.
Auburn, Ala.--After missing his previous A-Day games due to injuries, redshirt junior Carl Lawson made the most of his playing time on Saturday.
The talented defensive end was in on four tackles, including two for lost yardage and one sack, as he was named Auburn's defensive Most Valuable Player for the annual spring scrimmage at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
“It was real fun,” Lawson said. “I got a chance to go out there and tackle, and all of that stuff, so I am real appreciative of it.”
Lawson’s playing time was limited to the first quarter and some action in the second quarter, but after that he was a spectator so the coaches could make sure he stays healthy while giving less proven performers a chance to show what they can do.
Lawson said he felt like he performed well, but added, “Of course, there is some stuff I need to clean up.”
The defense has performed well in all of the spring scrimmages under the direction of new coordinator Kevin Steele.
“I do feel like we are going in the right direction,” Lawson said.
In other news and notes:
*Junior Tre Williams, who shared game-high honors for most tackles with six with fellow linebacker Darrell Williams, said that his sophomore teammate is improving. “Darrell, he’s stepped up to that next level and I love it,” Tre Williams said. “Last year he was kind of struggling in some places and you can tell he’s been working. It showed out there today.”
*Coach Gus Malzahn had praise for the defense and one of its key members, senior tackle Montravius Adams, said the group is showing promise. “I feel like if we keep putting in the work then we will be an overall better defense this upcoming season,” the senior said. “When the starters go out then we have backups that could be starting. They go in and make the same plays. It is just good that we don’t have a drop off.”
*The longest play of the scrimmage was a 72-yard run by fullback Chandler Cox, who was fired up about the play. “I wasn’t thinking about getting that big of a gain, but I was looking and thinking ‘is someone going to catch me?’ It was an awesome time and play.”
*Juco transfer quarterback John Franklin noted that he is up to 185 pounds, right at 15 more than he weighed when he arrived at Auburn in January. “I want to get within 190-195 range,” he said on his goal for the season, although he said it is important to make sure he doesn’t add too much weight to impact his speed.
“As long as I keep my speed and I’m able to move with the weight, I’m fine,” he said. “It’s going to come. I’m not really worried about it too much. I’ve been small all my life and it hasn’t really bothered me yet so I’m not really worried about it.”
*Cornerback Jonathan Jones received the Shug Jordan Award as the to 2015 senior player.
*Another 2015 senior defensive back Blake Countess, received the Zeke Smith Award as the top defensive player. Countess played safety, cornerback and nickel after transferring to Auburn from Michigan.
*Running back Peyton Barber received the Pat Sullivan Award as the top offensive player. Barber declared for the NFL Draft following the 2015 season even though he still had two more years of eligibility.
*Shon Coleman, a redshirt junior who also declared for the NFL?Draft, won the Ken Rice Award as the top blocker.
*Senior defensive back Rudy Ford is the winner of the Mike Kolen Award as the leading tackler from the previous season when he played both safety and nickel.
*Braden Smith, a junior offensive guard, received the top lineman award.