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Jason Caldwell's Monday Morning QB Column: Huge Additions For Football And Softball

Talking Auburn football recruiting, basketball energy and a snowstorm for softball in the new edition of Jason Caldwell's Monday Morning QB column.

The Need For Speed

There is no question that the addition of four-star running back Kameron Martin in the 2016 class is huge for the Auburn Tigers because of the lack of depth at one of the key positions in Gus Malzahn’s offense, but that’s not all he brings to the table.

One of the fastest backs in the country, Martin’s big-play ability is something sorely lacking for the Tigers last year. In 2010 Cam Newton made the offense work, but Onterio McCalebb’s speed on the edge made teams have to respect the entire width of the field.

In 2013-14 the Tigers pounded the middle with Tre Mason and Cameron Artis-Payne, but it was the speed threat of Nick Marshall at quarterback that put the fear into the hearts of the opposing defense.

Last season that was a key element missing for Auburn and when you force an offense to have to drive the length of the field it brings the possibility of mistakes more into play. 

Now with Jovon Robinson to run between the tackles, Kerryon Johnson to do a little bit of everything out of the backfield and a potentially a solid offensive line to run behind, Martin’s speed threat should make Auburn a threat to get back to chunk yardage plays more often and in Malzahn’s offense chunk yardage plays equal more points.

Basketball On A Hot Streak

The only thing left for Bruce Pearl and the Auburn basketball Tigers  is to win. That’s it. Everything else is present and accounted for.

I saw that firsthand last week when the Tigers were hosts for 96 high school teams over three days, including some of the top up-and-coming prospects in the country. There is no question that AAU basketball is a direct pipeline when talking about college basketball recruiting, but getting guys on campus is always a great way to build relationships and that’s what this Auburn staff understands better than any we have seen on the Plains.

Combine that with the fact that they are already recruiting at a high level with the nation’s No. 1 2017 class featuring five-star Austin Wiley and four-star Davion Mitchell, and the excitement surrounding the program would be enough to get Auburn fans pumped up.

Speaking of basketball prospects, one of the most impressive to me was 2018 big man Javian Fleming. Reminiscent of a guy like Mario Austin, a former state of Alabama prospect who played at Mississippi State, Fleming has a big body but his footwork and touch allows him make plays in different ways.

Photo by Jason Caldwell

Javian Fleming is a class of 2018 basketball prospect who has an offer from the Tigers.

Earning an offer from the Tigers following his impressive play, Fleming is a prospect who has a chance to be big-time when everything is said and done in the next two years.

Another Carlson

The commitment of Anders Carlson for the 2017 class may not get much attention outside of the Auburn, but if he’s anything close to his brother Daniel Carlson it could be one of the most important players the Tigers add next year. 

Turning into one of the biggest kicking weapons in school history because of his accuracy on field goals and extra points and his leg strength on kickoffs, Daniel Carlson could be the difference between winning and losing games for the Tigers in the next two seasons if the defense continues to show improvement.

A very similar prospect, Anders has the size at 6-4, 190 and also the leg strength that should allow him to continue to fine-tune his game over the coming years. Similar to a golfer, if a kicker can hit it a long way you can always learn to dial it back to improve accuracy. That should be the case with the youngest Carlson, which could set up the Tigers for a long time to come.

Blizzard Warning

If anyone (and I don’t know how that could possibly be the case) thought Auburn’s softball success was just going to be fleeting then this past week should give a strong indication that Coach Clint Myers and his staff are just getting started. 

First getting a commitment from the nation’s No. 1 junior, Taylen Snow, Auburn added her sister and Washington freshman Tannon Snow on Saturday to complete a huge few days for the future of the program. 

Preparing to enroll right away and eligible to play next season as a sophomore, Tannon should help as the Tigers try to replace Emily Carosone and Jade Rhodes on the infield. The California record holder with 60 career home runs and 212 RBI, Tannon can play a number of different positions and brings what should be another power threat after starting 43 games as a freshman at Washington.

Still a year away from getting to Auburn, Taylon is a capable of playing the infield or outfield but there is no question she will add to what should already be a talented squad.

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