AU Recruit Takes A Licking and Keeps On Ticking

Auburn quarterback commitment Neil Caudle talks about his team's comeback and his personal comeback.

Hoover, Ala.–-For Spain Park quarterback Neil Caudle Friday night was a coming out party of sorts. Sidelined with a knee injury during his junior season, the Auburn commitment had played but a few snaps in a jamboree game heading into the season opener against Auburn High.

Things didn't get off to a great start as Caudle and the offense went three and out on its first two possessions. In the meantime Auburn High struck for touchdowns on its first two plays and just like that it was 14-0. After a short drive by Spain Park ended in another punt, Auburn again took the ball down the field and scored to make it 21-0. For Caudle it was quickly put up or shut up time.

Caudle showed a strong arm and good touch on the ball for a player playing his first game in almost a full year.

Taking over, Caudle began a drive that would take the Jaguars deep into Auburn territory. Facing a third down he scrambled right towards the visitor's sideline for the first down, but took a wicked hit while doing so. Showing his toughness and competitiveness, Caudle calmly stepped back in the pocket on the next play and threw a touchdown pass to put Spain Park on the board. He says that being able to take a lick early settled him down for the rest of the game.

"It felt really good to get back on the field," Caudle tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "I got to play in the jamboree, but it felt good to play a whole game especially one that was close. It felt good to be hit a few times also.

"That one (the first big hit) definitely rattled me a little bit," he adds. "After that I was a little shook up, but knowing I could throw a touchdown pass after that really helped. If I can take that one after watching it on film, then I can take a pretty good lick."

From that point forward Spain Park was on the comeback trail led by Caudle. The 6-3 signal caller kept his team fighting forward and eventually his 28-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter gave the Jaguars the lead. He sealed the deal with a late 19-yard touchdown, his third of the game, to make the final 35-27. He finished with 209 yards passing on 13-25 and also added 50 yards on the ground. Caudle says that making a comeback like that gives the team confidence heading into a tough match-up against Oak Mountain this Friday night.

"It's big for us," Caudle says. "Hopefully, it woke the offense and defense up. We can't come out and expect to win. We have to come out ready to play from the get go. It's good that we showed ourselves that we can come back and beat a good team."

This Saturday Caudle will make the trip to Auburn to see the Tigers take on Georgia Tech in the season opener for both teams. He says he's anxious to see the team play this season and he's looking for a big game out of another Birmingham quarterback.

"Watching them in practice my expectations are for them to play really well," Caudle says of his future teammates. "They've looked really good in practice and in the scrimmage. Hopefully, Brandon Cox will have a good game and prove to everybody that he can play. I'm excited to come down there and watch them."


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