Auburn, Ala.--A top defensive back recruit out of Atlanta’s Grady High School, four-star Marlon Character didn’t get cleared to participate with the Auburn Tigers until the start of preseason practices. That left him behind the other guys in the secondary and made it difficult to make an impact as a true freshman.
Instead Character redshirted and watched and learned the defense, preparing for the time when his shot would come.
That time is now with the Tigers in the early stages of prep for the Sugar Bowl on campus before getting into the gameplan for the Oklahoma Sooners. Working at cornerback, Character’s length and athleticism has already caught the eye of many of his teammates, including linebacker Tre Williams.
“He’s a really good player,” Williams said of Character. “On special teams and on defense. He's a really good player, very athletic. I'm just ready to see him in the spring.”
Saying that Character’s consistency has been his strength during fall practice, Williams said having a young player step up in bowl practices and show he’s ready to contribute is big. Knowledge of the game and talent is an important part of that, but the veteran linebacker said it all starts with Character’s love of the game.
“He just flies around,” Williams said of the freshman. “He's around the ball every play. Coaches really love effort. When you sit back and watch those guys guys play and give great effort, you see what the coaches talk about. Effort is a big key in the game.”
Having Character step up his game during bowl practices is good news for the position heading into the spring and the 2017 season. Auburn will lose senior Josh Holsey, but will return Carlton Davis and Javaris Davis along with backup John Broussard. When you throw in Jamel Dean and Jeremiah Dinson, who are both redshirting with injuries, the Tigers should have a deep and talented cornerback group next year.