Auburn, Ala.--There is no doubt that one of the question marks on defense heading into the 2007 season is at the linebacker position where Will Herring, Karibi Dede and Kevin Sears are gone off last year's team along with projected starter on the strong side Patrick Trahan. While there are some veterans returning such as Merrill Johnson, Tray Blackmon, Steve Gandy, Chris Evans and Courtney Harden, the Tigers will likely count on at least one freshman to provide a spark at the position this season.
One of the players shooting to make his mark early as the Tigers begin practicing on Thursday is talented newcomer Josh Bynes from Boyd Anderson High in Lauderdale Lakes, Fla. A physical player at nearly 6-4 and 226 pounds, Bynes was one of the more heavily recruited signees for the Tigers in last year's class and has the ability to help right away provided he learns the defense fast enough.
Josh Bynes got a head start on his career by reporting early to Auburn.
Like many of his fellow incoming freshmen, Bynes was on Auburn's campus for much of the summer working out and starting the learn his assignments. Because of that he says it felt like the season would never get here but he's glad he can finally get on the field officially as an Auburn Tiger.
"It's really exciting," Bynes says. "I'm really looking forward to this chance. It has been talked about for a long time. I was just waiting for this opportunity to come and now I have to take advantage of it.
"I have learned a lot over the summer because I have been doing drills and 7-on-7 work," he adds. "I'm really comfortable with this defense. I can't wait to get started. I'm glad I was able to get here early enough to get acclimated with the system. I'm practically in the first pages of the playbook and I'm ready to get it all in."
With his ability to run and play well in space, Bynes will first get a look in the middle for the Tigers. Because of Auburn's use of the 3-4 defense in some packages, Bynes says he'll also get some work on the weak side so he can be available in some of the schemes in Will Muschamp's defense.
"Right now I'm in the middle with the defense we run so I'm basically a Mike and Weak," Bynes says. "I feel comfortable there. I can see the defense more and make more plays at that position. It's a place I'm comfortable."
Part of a class ranked by many recruiting analysts as a Top 10 class in the country, Bynes says that having everyone together in the same room for the first time on Wednesday makes him realize how special they can be in the coming years.
"There is so much talent in this class," Bynes says. "There are a lot of players that I have seen in person and this is probably the best class Auburn has seen in a long time. With the linebackers, the offensive line, the quarterback, this class is amazing. We're going to do good things and hopefully turn this team inside out and make it even better in the coming years."