Chandler Cox (above) has won praise for his performance this preseason.
Auburn, Ala.--The search for leadership on a football team is always important because in the rough times of a season those are the guys coaches depend on to help steer the ship. That was an issue last season when Carl Lawson went down and the struggles at quarterback had the players looking for someone to step forward.
So far in preseason practice those questions have been answered in a positive way with Lawson back and leading the way on defense. With wide receiver Marcus Davis taking on a leadership role on offense from the senior class things look solid heading into 2016 with several new names have been added to the list.
Coach Scott Fountain said even though he’s just a sophomore, Chandler Cox is stepping up for his team.
“I have seen guys that want to take charge and speak up," Fountain said. 'There are a lot of leaders out there that lead silently, but very few will speak up. That’s something that Carl and Chandler really get my attention with, particularly Chandler because he’s a verbal guy. Also Marcus Davis is a great leader by example. I think those three guys, from what I have seen, have been great leaders for us.”
Cox comes from one of the top programs in Florida at Apopka High School where he played wildcat quarterback, running back, linebacker and even some safety. Moving into a bigger role this season at both H-Back and even some tailback, Cox has stepped it up in every area said Fountain.
“The energy that Chandler Cox brings to the practice offensively, because I’m more of an offensive guy, is contagious,” Fountain said. “We’re dog tired in the middle of practice and we’ve had some really hot days. He’s yelling ‘let’s go’ and he means it. He brings that energy to get guys going. This kid feeds off of it and that guy feeds off of it. It has a real effect on your football team.”
Much like Lawson and Davis, Tre Williams is a player who is expected to carry a leadership role for the Tigers this season as well. Coming back as the only linebacker with any significant Auburn game experience, Williams has shown that he is willing to take control, but he’s not the only linebacker doing that.
Joining that group, according to senior defensive tackle Devaroe Lawrence, is redshirt sophomore linebacker DeShaun Davis. A player finally getting to show what he can do on the field, Davis has joined Lawson and Williams on defense to form a group that is taking control.
“At times you hate to love them because they are pushing you and they’re always in your ear,” Lawrence said, “but those are some great leaders.”
DeShaun Davis is an old school player that loves to play the game.
As for what Davis brings to the table, Lawrence said the redshirt sophomore is easy to find because he’s the one laying it on the line every day on the field and showing the way. That's not a surprise considering Davis is a player who has found new life under first year Coach Travis Williams at linebacker. Not given a second look a season ago by Will Muschamp, Davis is determined to show he belongs and Lawrence said you can see that in the way he plays.
“He’s a dog,” Lawrence said. “He’s going to come every day and he’s going to bite every day.”