Freshman Linebacker Eager to Get Started

Auburn, Ala.--On the eve of his first practice as a college football player, linebacker Craig Stevens says he is ready to get started as a freshman at Auburn University.

The highly regarded 6-2, 210-pound recruit out of Tallahassee, Fla., Lincoln High School is a player who his position coach, James Willis, will give a serious look for potential playing time this fall.

"Everything is going good so far," Stevens tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "I am trying to pick up things as quickly as possible. Coach Willis told me to be ready in case I have to play early. He wants me to be ready to step on the field if I am needed."

A player who was literally recruited by colleges from coast to coast, he chose the Tigers over UCLA, Alabama, Clemson and others. He has been on the Auburn campus all summer taking classes and working out with his new teammates.

"The older guys are trying to teach me a little bit at a time," he says. "They aren't trying to throw everything at me at one time. Hopefully, I will learn it before the season starts.

Craig Stevens

"I took three classes this summer," Stevens says. "All three went well. I think taking the classes in the summer helps out a lot and gets you adjusted to the college life a lot."

The last time he stepped on a football field, Stevens made 22 tackles in a playoff game. He finished his senior year with 120 stops.

He says he is headed into his first college season with the same mindset as any other. "My goal this year and every year is to be the best that I can be. If I do that everything will be okay."

With two of the returning linebackers, senior Kevin Sears and redshirt freshman Tray Blackmon, suspended indefinitely from games by head coach Tommy Tuberville, there is more of a chance that either Stevens or Auburn's other linebacker signee, Hendrick Leverette, will have a chance to play this fall.

Stevens says he is aware that is the case. "I feel like I have got to be ready anyway, but that is more of a reason to be ready."

The Tigers take the practice field for the first time at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday at the intramural fields.

2006 Inside the Auburn Tigers Auburn Football Guide

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