Big Opportunity For Growing Freshman Lineman

An early arrival on campus has paid dividends for an athletic football freshman.

Auburn, Ala.--For the first time in his life, Kyle Derozan is focusing on one sport as he looks to make his mark as a true freshman football player for the Auburn Tigers.

The defensive end from Point Coupee Central High in Morganza, La., has been one of the more impressive newcomers in the four freshmen-only practices that preceded the start of full squad two-a-days that begin at 7 a.m. on Thursday.

"It is going pretty good," Derozan says of his initiation to college football. "I am getting better. I am learning the defensive schemes. I feel myself getting stronger as I work against the offensive linemen in practice."

Derozan is shown during a freshman practice.

Strength and weight have been issues for the tall and athletic defensive end, who was definitely undersized when he arrived on campus earlier this year to work out with his future teammates. "I am at 240 pounds right now," he says. "I weighed 215 when I got here." He says a combination of workouts with strength and conditioning coach Kevin Yoxall and his staff plus putting away countless calories this summer have helped him add the 25 pounds.

Derozan says he is shooting to add 15 more pounds this season. "Hopefully, I will add that much weight, but I probably won't," he says.

In the individual drills working with his position coach Terry Price, Derozan's long suit is his quickness. He was on the 4x100 relay in high school and despite the extra weight he still runs very well. He used his speed to run down quarterbacks 22 times for sacks as a senior.

Derozan and fellow signee Ben Grubbs from Elmore County High in Ecletic both have an excellent chance to play at a position short on depth to begin with even before backup redshirt freshman Steven Bouldin decided not to return for fall practice to take care of personal business back home in Crossville, Ala. Junior Reggie Torbor is considered a lock to start at one end spot while redshirt sophomores Bret Eddins and Jay Ratliff are the leading candidates on the other side.

"I have the desire in my heart," Derozan says. "The goal is to get a chance to play my freshman year. I am going to try my best and work hard everyday, all night and everytime I can and always dream and think football everyday. It is a great opportunity I have now."

Derozan is concentrating on his technique and has been able to handle the heat and intensity demands of college practice with no problems after working out in the sun for several months at AU. "I feel for some of the guys who are just coming in because they aren't in great shape like I am in because I came May 20th and I have been working out all summer. I have felt myself getting stronger, bigger and faster."

Tiger Ticket Extra: Derozan says he wants to be known as a player who gives a full effort on every play and says that he is how he tried to perform as a high school football, basketball and track athlete. "If I am not going 110 percent, something must be wrong with me," he says...The freshman says he pronounces his last name DARA-Zan...Auburn got a commitment from the Derozan just before head coach Nick Saban from nearby LSU stopped by the prospect's house to offer a scholarship.

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