AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn football’s deep wide receiving corps took a big blow earlier this month when Eli Stove tore his ACL. But the Tigers aren’t ruling him out for the season.
On Thursday, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn confirmed the news reported by SEC Country’s Lauren Shute that Stove tore his ACL in his right knee two weeks ago, when the Tigers held their final practice before spring break.
“Had surgery over the break, went extremely well,” Malzahn said Thursday. “He’s in a good spot. We expect him to return next season and possibly even earlier. So, good spot as far as that.”
Stove watched practice Thursday on a motorized scooter. The Tigers were also without senior wide receiver Ryan Davis, who Malzahn said was out Thursday with “flu-like symptoms.”
Senior wide receiver Will Hastings, however, was back as a full participant in practice after going through the first few practices in a non-contact jersey.
Malzahn was encouraged by the early reports after Stove’s surgery, which happened last week. He has high hopes that he’ll see the junior receiver back on the field this fall.
“I expect him to be back in the season,” Malzahn said. “We’ll see how everything goes. He’s in good shape and the surgery went well.”
Stove tied for the second-most receptions on Auburn’s roster in 2017 with 29. He also added 30 carries as a speed sweep specialist as the flanker role, where he started six games.
Fellow junior wide receiver Nate Craig-Myers said Stove is in good spirits after the injury. He also expects his teammate to be back on the field this season for an Auburn receiving corps that returns every player from the 2017 campaign.
“Eli, he’s doing good,” Craig-Myers said Thursday. “Some guys take it down, but right now, Eli is up. He has us around him rallying him, so so far, I think he’s doing good.”