Photo by Jason Caldwell

Jason Caldwell's Monday Morning QB Column: Softball Rolling, Big Recruiting Week At Linebacker

Auburn's softball rolls into the NCAA Tournament with another SEC Tournament title, the football Tigers pick up a much needed recruit and the baseball Tigers will try to play their way into the league tournament.

Super(b) Finish For Softball Tigers

Coach Clint Myers and the Auburn Tigers didn’t finish the regular season on a high note, dropping four of their final five games, but they didn’t let that slow them in the SEC Tournament. Beating No. 4 Alabama, No. 1 Florida and No. 12 LSU on the way to a second-straight tournament title, the Tigers are once again rolling as they enter the NCAA Regionals as the No. 4 national seed.

Since this team walked off the field last season in Oklahoma City after losing a heartbreaker to Florida, Auburn has made it a goal to get back to the College World Series once again and finish what it started in 2015. Much of the season that looked like it would happen before the late hiccup. That could have been enough to derail many teams, but not this group of Tigers.

Mentally tough up and down the roster with seniors such as Emily Carosone, Tiffany Howard and Jade Rhodes all coming up big with newcomers Kaylee Carlson and Makayla Martin picking up their performances on the mound, Auburn won’t have to leave home to get another chance at a national title. Considering the home field advantage that has been built at Jane B. Moore Field since Myers’ arrival that should be good news for the Tigers.

More good news for Auburn is the way the bottom of the order is performing. One of those is shortstop Whitney Jordan. Playing much better on defense and swinging the bat with more authority, Jordan’s play is huge and as Haley Fagan continues to get back into the groove it only makes this Auburn lineup stronger. If this team can keep improving, something Myers said has been the goal all season long, that push for a national title will continue to be a possibility.

 

Big Seven Days For T-Will

When Travis Williams took over as linebacker coach for the Auburn Tigers the first thing he knew he needed to do was increase the talent level at his position. With his first two commitments for the 2017 class the first part of the goal has been accomplished.

After watching Tadarian Moultry in action for just a short time last week it didn’t take me long to see the raw ability he possesses. A dynamic athlete who can really cover ground even though he’s already almost 230 pounds, Moultry is the type of player who could help the Tigers break the streak of not having an All-SEC linebacker in a decade.

Watch Tadarian Moultry run down the QB in this clip from his recent spring game 

Another player who could help that quest is the most recent commitment, Chandler Wooten. A coach told me that Wooten may have the most ability of any of the linebackers in the South this season and there is no question he’s been one of the guys at the very top of Williams’ list since he started recruiting this class. Long and rangy at 6-3 and nearly 230, Wooten should play at 240 pounds or even more by the time he’s an upperclassman at Auburn.

When you pair Wooten with Moultry it’s hard to imagine a better start to Williams’ first linebacker class than those two. Expected to sign at least four linebackers in this class, if Auburn’s next two are anywhere close to the first two in terms of talent it will be a banner year for the Tigers.

 

Still Alive

Coach Butch Thompson and the baseball Tigers ran into a buzzsaw over the weekend as the No. 3 Mississippi State Bulldogs are clicking on all cylinders and that showed with a sweep at Plainsman Park. Entering the weekend with a one-game cushion in the race for the SEC Tournament, Auburn still finds themselves squarely in the hunt thanks to the rest of the teams at the bottom of the standings also struggling.

With one series left at Vanderbilt beginning Thursday, Auburn’s 8-19 SEC record has them one game ahead of both Arkansas (7-20) and Tennessee (7-20) and tied with Missouri (8-19)  in the standings. Because Missouri has the head-to-head tiebreaker that leaves Auburn currently 12th and holding onto the last spot for Hoover.

It will all come down to the final weekend of play in the league as Arkansas travels to Mississippi State while Tennessee plays at Georgia and Missouri plays at Kentucky. With Georgia winning two over the weekend that puts the Bulldogs at 10-17 and in good shape for a tournament spot. Missouri, Auburn, Arkansas and Tennessee will fight it out for the last two tournament spots this weekend.

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