Peach Bowl/courtesy
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn has a few spots left on his roster for 2018.

Projecting Auburn football’s scholarship numbers after National Signing Day

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How much room does Auburn have to pick up grad transfers like Calvin Anderson?

-Andy R.

AUBURN, Ala. — Scholarship numbers seem to be closely guarded, top-secret state secrets for major college programs. Auburn football is no exception.

But by using some math — dangerous territory for journalism majors — and Auburn’s projected 2018 roster, it appears the Tigers have some wiggle room when it comes to bringing in transfers for the upcoming season.

Gus Malzahn didn’t hide the fact Auburn could hit the graduate-transfer market to boost its numbers on the offensive line. The Tigers did it in 2017 with Casey Dunn and Wilson Bell, and they’re currently recruiting Rice tackle Calvin Anderson.

MORE: Why JUCO transfers are less of a priority for Auburn under Gus Malzahn

“We feel good about where we’re at, and we’ll see about the possibility of a grad transfer or two,” Malzahn said Wednesday. “We’ll see how it goes.”

The NCAA’s oversigning and back-counting rules can get complicated, but Auburn isn’t in danger of hitting those marks in the 2018 class. The Tigers took 24 signees, one under the flexible limit of 25.

The big number for Auburn in 85. A team can have only 85 players on scholarship at one time. With that in mind, here is a projected breakdown of scholarship players per class for the 2018 season:

  • Seniors (9): Ryan Davis, Deshaun Davis, Jalen Harris, Chandler Cox, Paul James III, Dontavius Russell, Andrew Williams, Darrell Williams, Montavious Atkinson
  • Juniors (23): Darius Slayton, Marquel Harrell, Tyler Carr, Derrick Brown, John Broussard Jr., Richard McBryde, Jarrett Stidham, Kam Martin, Jeremiah Dinson, Sal Cannella, Jamel Dean, Eli Stove, Javaris Davis, Prince Tega Wanogho, Kaleb Kim, Daniel Thomas, Marlon Davidson, Jaunta’vius Johnson, Bailey Sharp, Nate Craig-Myers, Mike Horton, Ian Shannon, Daquan Newkirk*
  • Sophomores (15): Jayvaughn Myers, Nick Coe, Malik Miller, Marquis McClain, Prince Sammons, Traivon Leonard, Noah Igbinoghene, Jordyn Peters, T.D. Moultry, Big Kat Bryant, K.J. Britt, Devan Barrett, Malik Willis, Chandler Wooten, Tyrone Truesdell
  • Redshirt freshmen (11): John Samuel Shenker, Alec Jackson, Malcolm Askew, Anders Carlson, Austin Troxell, JaTarvious Whitlow, Nick Brahms, Brodarious Hamm, Calvin Ashley, Tashawn Manning, Bill Taylor**
  • True freshmen (23): Joey Gatewood, Shedrick Jackson, Josh Marsh, Asa Martin, Smoke Monday, Jamien Sherwood, Christian Tutt, Arryn Siposs, Michael Harris, Shaun Shivers, Kameron Stutts, Jalil Irvin, Zakoby McClain, Seth Williams, Kayode Oladele, Kolbi Fuqua, Caleb Johnson, Coynis Miller, Anthony Schwartz, Roger McCreary, Harold Joiner, Richard Jibunor, Matthew Hill

* 2018 signee from junior college
** blueshirted in 2017, meaning he would first count toward scholarship numbers in 2018

Add all those together, and it appears Auburn has 81 players on scholarship for the 2018 season. The early departures of Kerryon Johnson, Carlton Davis, Jeff Holland and Kamryn Pettway to the NFL will open up a few spots, and Bill Taylor coming off a blueshirt takes the spot of Tre’ Threat’s transfer.

Auburn should realistically be able to pick up multiple graduate transfers over the next several months. It has one spot free between now and May. Anderson is the top target, but the Tigers likely won’t stop there. Transfers on the offensive line and in the secondary could be valuable for Auburn once the 25-man counter resets in June.

The Tigers normally fill their remaining scholarship spots during fall camp by giving single-season scholarships to walk-ons. Senior wide receiver Will Hastings has been given one each of the last two seasons, and it would be a surprise if he didn’t get one for the 2018 season.

Until fall, though, Auburn has some freedom to hit the transfer market and fill in a gap or two for a mostly well-rounded roster.