Backup Linebacker To Transfer

A linebacker has decided to leave the program and search for a new home.

Auburn, Ala.–-Auburn's linebacker depth will take a hit this spring as sophomore Montavian Collier from Opelika has decided to leave the Tigers and play elsewhere. In a mutual decision along with Coach Tommy Tuberville, Collier won't participate in spring practice as, along with Tuberville's help, he looks for a new football home.

The 6-2, 208 speedster had made a strong impression on the coaching staff in the last month of the season last year and was looking to make a run at more playing time in 2005 after sitting out the 2003 season because of qualification problems. As a freshman he made 11 tackles in five games with his best game coming against Kentucky when he had four tackles, including three solos.

Collier had shown improvement at linebacker after playing safety and even cornerback as a senior at Opelika.

A dominating defender for Coach Spence McCracken as a safety, Collier had a strong senior season for the Bulldogs with 74 tackles, five tackles for losses and four interceptions. What made it even more impressive was that it was Collier's first season of football since he played junior varsity as a 9th grader. He averaged 13 points and nine rebounds as a senior on the basketball court.

With his departure the Tigers will be lacking experience at the backup weakside linebacker position behind starter Antarrious Williams. Auburn also loses seniors Derrick Graves and Mayo Sowell off the 2004 team, but returns starters Travis Williams in the middle and Kevin Sears on the strongside.

That leaves Karibi Dede as the most experienced of the returning players and the expected first-teamer on the weak side in the spring as he played both weak and strong last season . Others looking to make a name for themselves in the spring are seniors Kevis Burnam and Andrew Letts and freshmen Merrill Johnson, Courtney Harden and last year's signee Chris Evans from Mobile, who sat out last season as a grayshirt. Auburn opens spring practice March 1 and the annual A-Day Game is scheduled for March 19 at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

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