Auburn, Ala.--Entering his true freshman season, Auburn wide receiver Elijah Stove was a player that came into the program with plenty of promise and showed glimpses of being the playmaker the Tigers have been looking for at the position.
Catching 23 passes for 224 yards while adding 11 carries for 131 yards, including a 78-yard touchdown against Arkansas, Stove’s involvement grew throughout the season and it’s something he believes will be a big building block for his development at the position.
“It gave me a lot of confidence getting used to everything, getting used to the SEC,” Stove said. “Me getting the ball more and more helped me out, too. Moving forward I think I’ll do pretty well if I stay healthy and keep improving.”
Stove’s season culminated with a four-catch outing in the Sugar Bowl loss to Oklahoma. While the offense struggled once Sean White went down, it was obvious that Stove was going to be a big part of the gameplan against the Sooners. He said that was a big deal for him to make plays on such a big stage.
“It’s pretty exciting, especially having some catches in the Sugar Bowl,” Stove said. “Most people don’t get to usually have something like that. It’s pretty exciting.”
At 6-0, 179, Stove is focused on adding size and strength to his game heading into the spring as he focuses on being better as a sophomore. With a goal of making an impact in the kicking game as well, he said first and foremost it’s all about becoming a more complete player.
“I would say breaking tackles, quickness, blocking,” Stove said of his focal points. “Everybody has to get better at blocking, every player on the team. Also learning the plays faster and getting involved on kick returns.”
With plenty of competition at the wide receiver spots in 2017, the return of running backs Kamryn Pettway and Kerryon Johnson, and the addition of five-star quarterback Jarrett Stidham, Stove said he’s excited about the future of the offense as they look to take a step forward beginning in the spring.
“I think we’ll do pretty good next year,” Stove said. “All we’ve got to do is keep improving, just stay together really. We just have to get better day in and day out.”