Tre Williams (above) is one of the team's most experienced players.
Auburn, Ala.--In his first season in charge of the Auburn linebackers, Coach Travis Williams oversaw a group that made serious strides behind the play of Tre Williams, DeShaun Davis and Darrell Williams along with Montavious Atkinson.
Comprising three of the top six tacklers on the 2016 defense, the group leads the way as the Tigers head into spring practice. With competition the name of the game as Auburn looks to keep the positive momentum on that side of the ball, Travis Williams will add a pair of true freshmen to the mix in the spring to make plenty of capable bodies to work with.
Second on the team with 67 stops as a junior, Tre Williams accomplished that feat despite missing a pair of games during the year. Playing since his true freshman season, he stepped into a leadership role and excelled for the Tigers.
The same is true of his close friend, Davis. Redshirting his first year and barely playing in year two, the Vigor standout exploded onto the scene in 2016 with 63 tackles. Adding seven tackles for losses, third on the team, Davis showed his ability to consistently make plays in and around the line of scrimmage.
DeShaun Davis will be a junior this season.
Finishing sixth on the team with 52 tackles, Hoover’s Darrell Williams showcased his all-around ability while playing in all 13 games a season ago. With the skill-set to play in the box and also on the perimeter, he should only take a step forward following a year of play under his belt.
Much like Darrell Williams, Atkinson played very little as a true freshman so getting his feet wet in 2016 was a big deal for him. Despite getting considerably less game time than the first three guys, Atkinson still managed 30 tackles and four and a half tackles for a loss last year. At home against teams that spread the field, he played very well in the Sugar Bowl loss to Oklahoma to finish the season.
Montavious Atkinson covers a lot of territory for the defense.
Playing mostly special teams as freshmen, Richard McBryde and Tre Threat will have the opportunity to take a step forward in the spring, but they will be challenged by true freshmen newcomers K.J. Britt and Chandler Wooten.
The good news for both is that they should have a big advantage with experience in the defense a huge plus in their favor, but both Britt and Wooten are guys who Travis Williams has envisioned in the defense for more than a year and now he’s got them on campus.
Something worth watching is the possibility that Wooten sees some action at the buck position as well along with senior Cameron Toney. Toney has spent time at the position before and could get work there in the spring, but Wooten’s length and speed off the edge makes him a prime candidate to see if he can help rush the passer down the road.