Benjamin Wolk/SEC Country
As SEC Country's Justin Ferguson writes, a few national writers think Jarrett Stidham 's presence will translate into a couple more wins for Auburn.

Auburn football: Summer lessons, Stidham’s worth, baseball contracts and Austin Wiley makes the final cut

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 the important lessons student athletes have been learning, MLB contracts and Austin Wiley’s family tradition. 

The meaning of manhood 

Summer school is in session on the Plains.

Gus Malzahn’s football team isn’t just taking academic classes on campus this summer. The Tigers are getting some visits from special guests and former Auburn players, too. And for a team seeking to win a playoff spot this fall, the lessons learned from those speakers might be just as valuable as the courses that count for credits.

Auburn writer Jeff Shearer provided insight about the Tigers’ ‘Manhood program’ led by Kenny Ingram. The part of the program that includes speakers is called “Beyond the field” and focuses on character development.

Check out some of the people who have stopped by the Auburn Athletic Complex on


Jarrett Stidham’s magic number 

Every time Jarrett Stidham’s name comes up, it seems expectations for the 2017 Auburn Tigers seem to soar.

Following his outstanding showing during Auburn’s A Day spring game in April, media and fans across the country have been analyzing and debating Auburn’s chances at a playoff run with the former Baylor quarterback in charge.

SEC Country’s Justin Ferguson asked a few national writers exactly how many wins Stidham might be worth.

So, what’s the magic number?

“With [Sean] White, Auburn’s a contender that can win nine or 10,” SEC football analyst Barrett Sallee told Ferguson. “With Stidham, its CFP chances and SEC title chances become much more realistic, with a double-digit win season being the expectation, not just an optimistic goal.”

Still need more proof? Don’t stress. Now that Malzahn’s countdown clock to fall camp is ticking, you’ll only hear more about Stidham.

Austin Wiley makes the cut 

As videos of Auburn center Austin Wiley working out at the USA training camp in Colorado Springs were posted on Twitter earlier this week, it looked as though the soon-to-be sophomore would make the USA U-19 roster.

The news become official on Thursday morning.

Wiley made the final cut and will once again play for Team USA later this summer. This time around — Wiley won gold with the USA U-17 team in Spain during the summer of 2016  — the underclassman will be playing in Egypt.

And it’s a good thing Wiley dominated all week in the midst of Kentucky coach John Calipari and the best players in the country. His mom and former Olympian Vickie Orr might have had something to say if he hadn’t made the cut.

Auburn alums sign MLB contracts 

Auburn baseball standouts Keegan Thompson and Jonah Todd are officially professional baseball players.

Though both had one year of eligibility left, Thompson signed with the Chicago Cubs and Todd signed with the Los Angeles Angels.

Thompson, who was a force on the mound for Auburn last season, was picked in the third round, while Todd was drafted in the sixth round by the Angels.

Auburn Baseball-Auburn-baseball-SEC baseball-Keegan Thompson
Auburn pitcher Keegan Thompson is now part of the world champion Chicago Cubs organization. (Dakota Sumpter/Auburn Athletics)


A changing Tide

It’s clearly no secret that Alabama is often at the top of the list for the nation’s best high school prospects. And for defensive lineman Jalen Cunningham, an Alabama native, that’s no different.

Yet, Auburn is making its mark and quite possibly changing minds. Cunningham told SEC Country’s Benjamin Wolk that the Crimson Tide aren’t necessarily at the top of his list any longer.

Cunningham isn’t the only defensive lineman who might have to choose between Auburn and Alabama. Coynis Miller is another player to keep an eye on as summer unfolds.

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