Auburn receivers want to grab title of ‘best in the nation’ in 2017
AUBURN, Ala. — There’s a note in the wide receiver meeting room that caught Chandler Cox’s eye this preseason.
“We (tight ends/H-backs) have our meetings sometimes in their room and they go somewhere else,” Cox said. “And on the board it says they want to be the best receivers in the nation,” Cox said. “I think they have a good chance of doing that. They just have to grow up a little bit and mature and do their job.”
Auburn is a school with history of college football’s best running backs. Kamryn Pettway wants to add to that this fall.
Still, with new offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey at the helm — and likely Jarrett Stidham starting at quarterback — there’s a chance the Tigers will throw more than ever under coach Gus Malzahn.
Cox and running back Kerryon Johnson, among others, have full confidence Kodi Burns’ groups can check items off of their to-do list.
Johnson, who has witnessed first-hand perhaps some of the best talent Auburn’s had at that position in the past, sees the potential.
“I think from top to bottom, and you know, just for me watching Auburn football in high school, this is one of the overall most talented receiver cores we’ve had here in a while,” Johnson said.
That includes guys like Sammie Coates and Duke Williams, but Johnson thinks the current group rivals Sammie Coates, Duke Williams and former squads. The combined capabilities of this year’s group, Johnson says, mean Auburn “has it all.”
Need a shifty, quick athlete? Think Ryan Davis and “white lightning” Will Hastings — two guys that Johnson says are difficult to guard in “any coverage.”
Want to throw downfield and mimic Coates? Darius Slayton is an experienced player who’s shown that ability. Now Auburn’s added Noah Igbinoghene, a freshman who’s already impressing.
Looking to throw up high to a guy with size? Good thing the Tigers’ added lanky tight end Sal Cannella, who was practicing with the first-team offense during the early days of camp.
Johnson says the junior college transfer reminds him of “a more athletic” C.J. Uzomah.
“He catches a lot of contested balls, he’s a big target, he knows how to use his body to block off defenders,” Johnson said. “I think he’s going to be very big for us this year, I think he really will.”
And then there are last year’s standouts. Kyle Davis missed all of spring, but the former SportsCenter highlight star has returned seamlessly. Eli Stove claimed the offensive newcomer of the year honors at the team banquet. Oh, and then of course there’s Nate Craig-Myers. Remember his A-Day showing?
Everywhere Auburn players turn there’s a receiver who provides a unique threat and a bright future.
“All they’ve got to do is go out and do it,” Johnson said. “It’s up to them and they realize they’re going to have chances, like you said, with more passing options we have. They’re going to have chances, they just have to make the plays.”