AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn football has plenty of huge linemen on its roster for 2017. None are bigger than Wilson Bell, one of the Tigers’ newest additions.
The senior, who arrived at Auburn this summer as a graduate transfer from Florida State, is the heaviest Tigers player this season at 355 pounds. True freshman offensive tackle Calvin Ashley was the only other player at the 350-pound mark, and he’s already lost 20-plus pounds since arriving on the Plains.
After a couple of months on campus, the massive Bell already stands out on Auburn’s offensive line.
“Wilson Bell is our mountain of a man,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said at SEC Media Days. “He’s big. We recruited him really hard when we first got here in 2013. So to have him added to what we’ve got, that’s a big help.”
Bell is an Alabama native, a former 3-star guard from Mobile who signed with Florida State out of high school. He started 18 games for Florida State between 2015 and 2016 and was a co-scout team player of the year as a freshman with current Auburn wide receiver John Franklin III.
The Tigers missed on Bell the first time, but they didn’t in his second round of recruiting. Bell lost his permanent starter job in 2016 for the Seminoles and decided to spend his last season of eligibility elsewhere.
Bell arrived at the ideal time for Auburn’s offensive line. Left guard Alex Kozan graduated this offseason, and right guard Braden Smith moved to right tackle. While sophomore Mike Horton is a potential starter at one guard spot, Bell has a head start on the rest of the interior linemen with his experience.
“He’s been getting some guard reps, primarily,” Smith said at SEC Media Days. “That’s where he played at Florida State. We kinda have to see how it all goes in the fall, once we put on pads.”
Bell played right guard at Florida State, and he might stay there at Auburn. Smith said his new senior teammate has done well making the adjustment to life on the Plains.
“He’s picking up the offense really well, just learning and going through all the drills,” Smith said. “He’s getting up to pace with us.”
Bell was a late addition to an Auburn offensive line that already picked up a 5-star offensive tackle in Ashley, a pair of 4-stars, Austin Troxell and Nick Brahms, and an additional graduate transfer, former Jacksonville State center Casey Dunn.
That unit also returns three senior starters: Smith, left tackle Darius James and center Austin Golson.
“The depth up front on our offense has been as good as it’s been,” Malzahn said. “You can’t have enough depth on the offensive line in our league.”