Auburn football: Homage to a Heisman, a Tigers quarterback agreement and Bruce Pearl’s 500th win
Welcome to SEC Country’s daily War Eagle Wakeup, a rundown of everything happening in Auburn football and Auburn Tigers athletics with Lauren Shute. Today, we discuss respect paid to an Auburn Heisman winner, a seemingly common belief among Auburn’s current quarterbacks and coach Bruce Pearl’s 500th win on the hardwood.
Homage to a Heisman
Kyle Davis is not afraid to make a statement.
The freshman receiver does it with his striking one-handed grabs on the football field, through his fun social media posts and in his extracurricular activities. Sometimes, he even says important things with his fashion.
That was the case on Wednesday evening, when Davis strolled into Auburn Arena for the men’s basketball game against LSU sporting a No. 7 Pat Sullivan jersey.
Auburn WR Kyle Davis is rocking a Pat Sullivan jersey at the basketball game. It's Sullivan's birthday. That's cool.
— Lauren Shute (@LShute13) January 19, 2017
— Jason Caldwell (@ITATJason) January 19, 2017
His apparel choice wasn’t a coincidence, either. Sullivan, who was Auburn’s first-ever Heisman winner in 1971, was celebrating his 67th birthday.
Auburn legend: Pat Sullivan
– 6,284 passing yards
– 57 TD passes
– 18 TD runs
– 1971 Heisman Trophy
— SEC Country Auburn (@SECCountryAU) January 18, 2017
It’s hard to go 10 feet at Auburn on football Saturdays (or any other day, really) without seeing a Bo Jackson or a Cam Newton jersey, but Sullivan jersey sightings are a bit rarer.
Davis’ show of respect for the Auburn great was something noticed by media and fans in attendance (and, of course, on Twitter, where Davis got all kinds of love for his jersey choice). It also was a nice gesture considering Sullivan’s health struggles of late.
The Auburn athletic department may be full of young talent, but the all-time greats remain as important as ever.
A quarterback agreement
This spring could yield one of the most-heated quarterback battles to ever unfold at Auburn.
There’s no doubt every player who has a shot at being named coach Gus Malzahn and (enter new offensive coordinator’s name here) starter will do everything in their power to win the job.
Each player may bring a different style, both in terms of leadership and play (as well as differing opinions about who should lead Auburn in 2017), but there seems to be one thing all of the Tigers’ QBs can agree on: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
With the NFL’s conference championship games this weekend (the winners of each will meet in the Super Bowl on Feb. 5), a couple of Auburn’s current quarterbacks took to Twitter to express their admiration for one of the best to play the game:
Yeah Aaron Rodgers is legendary no doubt but Tom Brady is the best quarterback to ever play football ?
— Devin Adams (@D_Adams16) January 19, 2017
Wild workout regimen.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 12, 2017
Starter Sean White hasn’t posted anything about Brady of late but has been known to model himself after the one-time underdog.
After a season in which the Tigers offense struggled at times, it should excite Auburn fans to know that their current quarterback group pays such close attention to the four-time champion (and two-time MVP).
Maybe, Auburn’s current group of competing quarterbacks will start eating quinoa in fancy pajamas while meditating?
Auburn’s quarterbacks aren’t the only ones who are striving for greatness in 2017. A couple of key Tigers defensive leaders posted tweets about their goals for next season.
Safety Tray Matthews didn’t go into too much detail, but the team’s top tackler was so excited about the Tigers’ possibilities next season that he decided to return for one more year.
Excited to play one more year and my last year here at Auburn . This WILL be an epic year ????
— TriggaTray (@Trigga_Tray28) January 17, 2017
Linebacker Deshaun Davis, who was a huge difference maker throughout the season, was a little bit more specific about his goals. He’s hoping to play well enough to be recognized as one of the nation’s top linebackers.
— ⭐️Deshaun Davis⭐ (@_Davis_Boy12) January 18, 2017
The high hopes don’t stop there, either. The first player who comes to mind in terms of award chasing is kicker Daniel Carlson, who will be hunting the ever-elusive Lou Groza Award.
- Kyle Fredrickson of NewsOK says OSU offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich is no longer a candidate for the Auburn OC opening.
- AL.com recapped offensive lineman Alex Kozan’s third day at Shrine game practice.
- SEC Country’s Justin Ferguson says Auburn football could return more starters than it has in more than 10 seasons, which bodes well for the Tigers.
- SEC Country’s Benjamin Wolk says Auburn has recruited some impressive quarterbacks in the last 10 years — think Cam Newton and Nick Marshall.
- Brandon Marcello of 247Sports looked at the scope of Auburn’s 2015 recruiting class.
- College and Magnolia’s Rahien.din examined (in a second part) Gus Malzahn and his efforts to develop quarterbacks.
- ESPN staff writer Greg Ostendorf says the Tigers’ biggest offseason need is at wide receiver and provides his perspective on other offseason questions.
Happening on the Plains
Bruce Pearl notches 500th career win
Auburn successfully earned head coach Bruce Pearl his 500th win on Wednesday night, defeating LSU, 78-74, in a rockin’ Auburn Arena.
It was an exciting, back-and-forth game and there were even a couple of Auburn A-listers in the house. Charles Barkley, who will soon have a statue outside of the arena, sat baseline and joined in on the game’s commentary while former head football coach Tommy Tuberville watched from the sidelines.
Despite missing freshman forward (and second-leading scorer) Danjel Purifoy, who’s still out dealing with an ankle injury, the Tigers’ even effort led to a big night celebrating a big number.
— Auburn Tigers (@AuburnTigers) January 19, 2017
— Auburn Basketball (@AuburnMBB) January 19, 2017
There’s been a lot of trash talk between the current TNT analysts (Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal and former North Carolina guard Kenny Smith) about college hoops, so keep your eyes peeled and ears to the ground for what kind of nonsense Sir Charles unleashes on Shaq in coming broadcasts.
Charles Barkley says he's upset Shaq isn't in the house tonight because he told him that Auburn was going to win. #LSU
— Andrew Lopez (@_Andrew_Lopez) January 19, 2017
Softball stunners picked No. 2
Auburn softball was picked to finish second in the SEC behind the Florida Gators on Wednesday. Each year since head coach Clint Myers took over, the Tigers’ preseason rankings and overall expectations for the program have continued to rise.
The Tigers were picked to finish 2nd in the @SEC in the annual preseason coaches' poll. Read more ⬇️
— Auburn Softball (@AuburnSoftball) January 18, 2017
Auburn has improved its position in the poll every year since Coach Myers took over.
— Auburn Softball (@AuburnSoftball) January 18, 2017
If you can’t wait for the softball team’s season opener against defending national champion Oklahoma in February (you’ll be able to catch the game on ESPNU), you can head over to Jane B. Moore Field to watch the Tigers prepare to take on the Sooners.
Open practice times for the next 3 days ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/ooKY4tcLvm
— Auburn Softball (@AuburnSoftball) January 17, 2017
Women’s hoops takes on the Vols
Auburn women’s basketball faces off against Tennessee on Thursday in Auburn Arena (6 p.m. CT). It’s the #WeBackPat week and fans are encouraged to wear purple to support Alzheimer’s research and the Pat Summitt Foundation.
— Auburn W Basketball (@AuburnWBB) January 17, 2017
That should be enough for college sports fans to file into the building, but just in case you need an extra bit of motivation, it’s also National Popcorn Day.
— Auburn W Basketball (@AuburnWBB) January 18, 2017
Lastly, Red Panda, who drew arguably the loudest applause Wednesday evening, will be back in action as well.
And she's back for our game Thursday! ?? https://t.co/62EYTnCvQV
— Auburn W Basketball (@AuburnWBB) January 19, 2017
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