Photo by Jason Caldwell

Jason Caldwell's Friday Auburn Mailbag: Packed Edition Talking Recruiting, Spring Football and More

Talking a variety of Auburn sports in this edition of the Friday Mailbag.

Coynis Miller (above) is one of the top in-state football prospects for the 2018 signing class.

TigerTN: Admit it, did your heart melt?

There is no question that seeing Hampton for the first time and cutting the cord was definitely a life-changing moment for me. I now have a whole, whole lot more respect for people who had twins or even triplets. I can’t imagine how tough those first few days are in that situation. Having one is hard enough, but it has been a truly humbling experience so far. I can't imagine life without her already.


Rick4AU: We seem to be set at DB and LB for the next couple of years, so looks like true DT's are what we desperately need. And a big crop at that. Are there more quality DT's in the '18 class vs the '17 class? Who are the top 3-5 we should be watching out for?

There are more in this class than last. Overall, it’s not a huge year for defensive tackles either, but you have several guys in the state who have a chance to be SEC level guys. Coynis Miller from Jackson-Olin is a no-doubter and I think Kadarian Hill from Eufaula is a guy as well even though he’s around 6-0. Timaje Porter from Theodore and Mackie McNeal from Thompson are two guys I want to see more of this year.


gtwstock: Any idea what happened to cause Britt's injury and what the injury is/expected return to full speed?

The issue was a pre-existing one for Britt, but they found it when he got to Auburn. It's actually an air bubble that forms in a bone and causes it to be very weak at that point. It can be very painful and that's how they found his. It can be mistaken for a tumor, but thankfully all they had to do is fix it and add something to help the bone grow together.


m5guy: What group on offense & defense do you see as strongest for the 2017 Spring Football Tigers?

For me the position on offense has to be running back when you look at having Kamryn Pettway, Kerryon Johnson, Kameron Martin, Malik Miller and walk-on C.J. Tolbert on campus. Throw in a guy like Chandler Cox and that’s a pretty deep group. On defense I would probably go with linebacker with Tre Williams, DeShaun Davis, Darrell Williams and Montavious Atkinson all returning along with Richard McBryde and Tre Threatt. That’s six pretty good options before you even talk about Chandler Wooten, the early graduate from high school.


cletisthecat: Help us understand how you and Neely came up with the name...certain there is a family back story in there

This one is pretty easy. My middle name is Hampton and Neeley’s grandmother’s maiden name was Price. That’s how we came up with Hampton Price Caldwell for our little girl.


AUPMBA: Do you see us bringing on an off the field DL analyst before the season start?  

They have Brandon Wheeling as an analyst along with Devin Ducote. Wheeling is a defensive line guy who has worked as a GA the last two years with Rodney Garner. Craig Sanders and Charles Moore are the grad assistants.


wtbtiger: This board seems split on the job JJ is doing the job as AD. Please give me your assessment of how you think he is doing?

I think Athletic Director Jay Jacobs has made some very good coaching hires of late and even the hire of a guy like Tony Barbee wasn’t completely off base considering he was one of the hottest names in the country at the time. They have added to facilities in a number of key areas like Auburn Arena as well as the indoor practice facility for football. In the end the job is probably judged by fans on how well those teams perform under his watch and that’s fair. The overall level of performance from AU's teams as a whole has room for improvement, but they’ve done a great job in the classroom, doing off-the-field service and the athletic department is in good shape financially. Because of those things I can understand both sides in the debate.


AUHighmark: Jason, I think it was that you mentioned last year that everyone who is interested in baseball or has a kid playing baseball should watch a Ron Polk coached team (UAB) warm up. Should I make a special effort to bring my 13 year old to the ball park when Auburn plays UAB this year to watch them warm up?

It wasn’t me, but that’s never a bad idea. Polk has been around the game a long time and done some very good things over the years. Watching Brad Bohannon and Doug Sisson do it at Auburn right now isn’t a bad way to go either. Those guys can coach up the position. I would also suggest watching the Auburn softball team go through drills and practice. That’s a sight to behold.


AUHighmark: If you were Auburn's AD for the next 5 years, knowing that limitations that would be in place such as budget constraints and debt service, what would be your top 3 projects you would like to see completed in your reign? It could be hiring someone, promoting someone, building up a sport or facilities.

Probably the first project I would add would be a matching facility at Jordan-Hare Stadium on the opposite side of the one in the South End zone that has just been approved. Adding more room for the locker room, moving the press box and adding more premium seating is a huge step in the right direction. I would add a permanent museum to the other side, something similar to what Florida State has. That would be the exterior of my ground floor with a dedicated press area behind it for press conferences, photo rooms, etc. You could match it to the other side and get even more premium seating out of the top two floors as well.

Probably the other thing I would do is make the bleachers a permanent part of Jane B. Moore Field, meaning I would try to find a way to add those sections permanently. I think adding seating in left field could be done as well, giving you a great environment and a way to sell general admission tickets. Maybe the biggest thing that needs to be done is adding more parking there, something that may have to be worked out with university administrators. Acquiring 100 feet of space off the end of the intramural fields to add a pretty sizable parking lot would be a great addition there. I think there is room to spare and it would go to a great use and could double as another parking area on football game days.

Those are just a few of my thoughts.

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