Chizik and his staff will be looking for help from newcomers such as Harris Gaston, a 6-3, 225-pounder from Bessemer Academy.
"The coaches told me to be ready," he says. "That is what I am trying to do. Hopefully, I will get a chance to play outside linebacker. I want to come in and play this year."
Gaston made 114 tackles and scored a pair of touchdowns on fumble returns as an All-State senior. He was also named the AISA Back of the Year as he caught 43 passes for 860 yards and 17 scores. As a junior, playing on a state championship team, he made 112 tackles.
"I graduated from high school on the 19th and I have been running and working out," he says.
Gaston had shoulder surgery in December and was able to lift weights again in February. He recently got a clean bill of health from his doctor. "I just got released last week to do full lifting," he says. "The doctor said I had full strength back in my shoulder."
His coach, Josh Wright, says that Auburn is getting a promising player. "Harris has got tremendous ball skills and hand-eye coordination," Wright notes.
"He's got good hips," the coach adds. "He turns good and understand the game. He's got good football savvy. He's good about sniffing out screens and draws, and he is a smart player."
The linebacker is smart in the classroom, too. He graduated with honors and will report to Auburn on June 21st for an early start on his freshman year.
With a shortage of depth at the three linebacker spots, Gaston could have a chance to play this fall if he does well in preseason workouts. "It is a good opportunity," he says. "That is one of the reasons why I decided to come to Auburn."