Carlton Davis (above) has started 19 games for the Tigers in his first two seasons at AU.
Auburn, Ala.--Going into last season senior cornerback/nickel Josh Holsey was an unknown for the Auburn Tigers following a pair of knee injuries during his career. Now with spring practice started for Coach Gus Malzahn’s team, Holsey is one of the toughest players to replace on defense following an outstanding final year on the Plains.
The good news for new Auburn defensive backs coach Greg Brown is that he has Carlton Davis and Javaris Davis to build around at the cornerback position this spring. A two-year starter, Carlton Davis was up and down last season due to nagging injuries, but played well when full speed.
Perhaps no player on the defense improved as much from the beginning of the season to the end as Javaris Davis. Always known for his speed and quickness, he showed the ability to play physical throughout the season and could become a key defender for the 2017 season.
After that the question marks abound at cornerback beginning with a pair of guys coming back off injury. A player Auburn was counting on to play a key role last season, Jamel Dean, re-injured his knee in the preseason and missed the entire year. A big defensive back, Dean isn't ready to go for spring drills, but is expected to be pushing for playing time during preseason practices. He is a player who could also get a look at safety if the coaches feel like he is better suited for the position.
Out for nearly 18 months after suffering multiple injuries in a win over Texas A&M in 2015, speedy Jeremiah Dinson has steadily improved physically and is practicing this spring. That is good news for the Tigers because if he can show the form that had him on the field as a true freshman he could be a big addition for Brown’s secondary.
Jeremiah Dinson and Javaris Davis are cornerbacks for the Tigers.
Playing mostly on special teams a season ago, John Broussard and Michael Sherwood both return as well with a chance to jump into the playing rotation with a strong spring. Needing to keep adding size and strength, Broussard has to show the consistency needed at the position. Not the biggest or fastest of the defensive backs, "Dirty Mike" Sherwood has solid coverage skills and an aggressive style of play that keeps him in the hunt.
A player who was redshirted last season as a freshman, Marlon Character, won praise for his play in bowl practices and is expected to have a chance to make a move up the depth chart this spring.
A couple of other players who will should get a look at corner this year are redshirt freshman Jayvaughn Myers and true freshman Malcolm Askew. Big and physical, Myers is still rehabbing from a 2016 knee injury and is not expected to be cleared to go full speed until the summer so just how quickly he can knock the rust off is a question mark.
Coming in as an early high school graduate, Askew definitely has the athleticism to make an impact at the position right away. With length and speed, if he can show he’s got the technique then the McAdory High standout may be an early contributor.