Auburn, Ala.--A football player who found himself buried on the depth chart last season as a redshirt freshman for the Auburn Tigers, safety Markell Boston struggled during the offseason and even considered asking to be moved to wide receiver. Now finding his groove under new position coach Wesley McGriff, Boston is improving daily and says he is loving getting on the field every day.
“It has been very fun,” Boston said. “I’ve had to step up. For the older guys, they told me to just be yourself and don’t go out there thinking too much, just be yourself and make plays. That’s what I try to do.”
A physical defender at 6-0, 200 pounds, Boston was a talented player coming out of East Coweta High in Newnan, Ga. Known mostly as a wide receiver until moving to safety as a senior, Boston got a late offer from Auburn and jumped on the opportunity. Even though he wasn’t the biggest of names in the recruiting world, Boston said for him the fact that the process took longer for him only made the payoff better.
“That’s part of recruiting,” Boston said. “You’re going to get what you want sometimes, and sometime you’re going to feel like you’re overlooked. At the same time I don’t feel overlooked. I feel like God put me right here in this place and it’s not too far from home. Everything pretty much worked out in my favor.”
It also worked out for Boston to play alongside one of the players he has looked up to since early in his high school days, fellow safety Tray Matthews. A Newnan native, Matthews started his career at Georgia, but when he was looking for a fresh start he contacted Boston about Auburn and that was all it took for the two to play together for the first time.
"That's my dog," Boston said. "We pretty much grew up together. You have some of those players that you look up to in a way and see them do things and you ask yourself, 'Why can't I do that? Why can't I do those things? Why can't we do it together and start together on a certain defense?'
"When he was at Georgia I used to think about those things. Then when he transferred he called me and said, 'Bro, do you think I should come to Auburn?' I was like 'darn right.. He made it happen. Now we are just living the dream. I'm just trying to be on the field with the same time with him and just live the dream."
Matthews is just one of the guys Boston is competing with at safety in preseason camp along with juniors Stephen Roberts and Nick Ruffin. Also with players such as Josh Holsey and T.J. Davis who have the ability to play the position, the competition level is very high in Auburn’s secondary and Boston said that only makes everyone better as they prepare for the season.
“Everybody knows there is competition and when it’s competition you’ve got that mode in your head that ‘Hey, I’ve got to get my stuff together today and be on my P’s and Q’s.. Just the competition itself, it helps everybody just try to be the best they can be.”