Chad Simmons

Jason Caldwell's Monday Morning QB Column: Austin Troxell A Huge Get For The Auburn Tigers

Talking about Auburn's huge commitment over the weekend, baseball recruiting, and another Top 10 finish for Jason Dufner.

Austin Troxell (above) is another standout from Madison Academy who plans to play college football at Auburn.

Troxell A Big Deal For Tigers

The commitment of four-star offensive tackle Austin Troxell on Saturday is likely one of the most important in the 2017 football recruiting class for the Auburn Tigers no matter how things end on signing day in February.

There is no question that the offensive line  has been a big question mark in terms of recruiting for the Tigers in the last several years and that was obvious in spring practice with the move of Austin Golson to left tackle after starting at center a year ago.

Already with five-star Calvin Ashley on board for the 2017 class, the Tigers needed at least one more bookend tackle to take the offensive line group to the next level and Troxell could be that guy. A massive prospect at nearly 6-8 and around 330 pounds right now, Troxell is athletic and has a mean streak on the field.

I first saw him when he was just a sophomore and still playing tight end for the Mustangs. At that time it was easy to see he was going to be a top prospect, but as he’s continued to mature and develop he’s turned into one of the best players at his position in the country.

With four-star guard Nick Brahms back on the Auburn campus and looking very much like he will sign with the Tigers, that would be three very strong offensive line commitments for Herb Hand to coach. With several other talented players on the board, taking a fourth lineman in this class a strong possibility.

On a side note, you have got to give Tim Horton some major props for the work he’s done on the recruiting trail, especially at Madison Academy. Getting Kerryon Johnson and Malik Miller the last two years and now with a commitment from Troxell, the running backs coach helped to land three of the state’s top players from an area that hasn’t been a considered an Auburn stronghold, to say the least, in the past.


Still Waiting On Juco Hitter

At this point it’s a good sign for Coach Butch Thompson and the Auburn Tigers that junior college signee Joshua Anthony has yet to sign with the Atlanta Braves after being drafted in the 16th round. Having already signed eight players taken ahead of Anthony with number one selection Ian Anderson expected to sign as well, the Braves have spent a lot of money so far and that’s good news for the baseball Tigers.

Photo Courtesy of Western Oklahoma State

Joshua Anthony

While having Keegan Thompson back after missing the entire 2016 season, along with high school signees such as Davis Daniel and Trevor Hillhouse, Auburn’s pitching staff should be in good shape when you factor in guys like Casey Mize, Cole Lipscomb, Gabe Klobosits, Andrew Mitchell, Daniel Sprinkle and even Daniel Robert.

What’s missing is a whole lot of offense with Anfernee Grier, Josh Palacios, Jordan Ebert and Niko Buentello all gone from last year, the top four hitters in the order for the Tigers. That’ i what makes getting Anthony on campus so important.

With every passing day that looks better and better for Auburn and it would be a huge deal when you consider he batted .475 last year with 24 home runs, 86 RBI and added 49 stolen bases. A dynamic hitter at the plate and capable of locking down the third base position, Anthony is the difference maker the Tigers need on offense.


Dufner Doing It

With a tie for eighth in the U.S. Open at Oakmont, Jason Dufner continues a strong year as he continues to find the groove following a neck surgery that cut short his 2014 schedule and caused him to struggle a year ago. While he still managed to earn just over $1 million in 2015, Dufner had just two Top 10 finishes in 21 starts.

Already with a win this season, Dufner now has five Top 10 finishes in 20 starts and has finished in the Top 25 eight times. That has him in great shape in the FedEx Cup standings and pushes his season earnings to around $2.25 million.

This year’s British Open Championship is at Royal Troon, a place Americans have won six consecutive times. Included in that group are players such as Justin Leonard, Tom Watson and Tom Weiskopf, all players that were known as ball strikers. The time could be right for Dufner to get major No. 2 as he continues to round into form.

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