AUBURN, Ala. — Noah Igbinoghene is becoming a go-to answer for several Auburn football coaches as the Tigers move closer to the start of 2017.
Well, “Noah” is, at least. Igbinoghene’s last name — which is pronounced “Ig-bin-og-in-ee” — is a tough one for some on Auburn’s staff. But it’s easy for them to say the freshman receiver from Hewitt-Trussville (Ala.) High School has a great chance to play right away for the Tigers in 2017.
“I’ve been very impressed with what he’s done,” Auburn wide receivers coach Kodi Burns said last week. “He’s very explosive. He can flat out run and do a lot with the ball in his hand. He’s just got to keep progressing as well. I think he’s got a chance to really help us out.”
Igbinoghene was the first name out of Auburn offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey’s mouth Wednesday night when he was asked about freshmen who could contribute this fall.
“I think Noah may have a chance, especially because he’s on special teams,” Lindsey said. “I think he would be one for sure.”
Igbinoghene has worked at the flanker or “2” receiver and kick returner during fall camp. He caught a touchdown pass from fellow freshman Malik Willis and returned a few kickoffs during the Tigers’ last scrimmage.
The 5-foot-11, 186-pound receiver and six-time state high school track champion made a great first impression on his coaches and teammates in Week 1 of Auburn fall camp. That impressive work continued into the dog days of practices.
Burns said Igbinoghene was the receiver that has made the most strides so far in fall camp.
“I think that Noah is a guy who kind of sticks out for me in my mind,” Burns said. “He’s been able to come in here and plug in and be just fine. He’s made some plays down the field, throwing the ball to him out in space.”
Auburn’s young receiver group has size on the outside such as Darius Slayton, Kyle Davis, Nate Craig-Myers, Marquis McClain and Sal Cannella.
Igbinoghene, much like Eli Stove did as a freshman in 2016, brings an extra boost in speed to a flanker position that lines up on the outside and the inside in the Auburn offense. According to Burns, the flankers are “speed sweep guys that get the ball and get deep, home-run posts, and some bubble [screens].”
That’s an ideal fit for Igbinoghene, who had more than 1,800 yards of receiving and rushing in his senior season at Hewitt-Trussville.
“He’s done a really good job so far,” Slayton said. “He’s really fast and a really talented kid. I think he’ll be good for us.”
While Igbinoghene’s athleticism serves him well in a potential role as a freshman, he’s showed his coaches a mental strength beyond his years. Those two attributes combined should go a long way for the newcomer this fall.
“He’s shown that toughness,” Burns said. “Usually the freshmen that come in, it’s really hard to show a lot of courage. He’s come in here and done everything we’ve asked him to do.”