Editor’s Note: It’s a crucial year in Auburn. Gus Malzahn enters his fourth season in a bit of a rut, but he has proven he can quickly change the trajectory of the program when his team’s back is against the wall.
Auburn needs to find a quarterback, develop receivers and lean on a defense many expect to be much improved under coordinator Kevin Steele. Will all of the pieces come together in time for a successful season?
SEC Country takes a look at the 25 Most Important Tigers (and others) who will determine whether Auburn’s season is a success or failure.
7. Montravius Adams, defensive tackle
Auburn’s two best players on defense just so happen to play in the trenches. Montravius Adams could prove to be the difference-maker in his senior season.
The senior is tasked with turning around a pass rush that struggled in his first three seasons with the Tigers, but reviews have been positive for the man demanding double teams from opponents. He finished with 2.5 sacks and 6 quarterback hurries last season and an uptick in production is expected in 2016 with more depth behind him and a healthy Carl Lawson beside him at defensive end.
“I feel like we’ve got a lot of wise guys for experience,” Adams said. “I’m one of the old guys, Carl is one of the old guys. I feel like with us being here to teach the young guys, I feel like we can be better than we have (been).”
Auburn has failed to crack to the top half of the SEC in sack production but expectations are that will change this upcoming season. If it does, Adams will be remembered as one of the big reasons why the defense continued its upward trend from the last third of the 2015 season.
Coming Friday: X marks the spot
- No. 25 — Josh Holsey, cornerback/safety
- No. 24 — Leonard Fournette, LSU running back
- No. 23 — Rudy Ford, safety
- No. 22 — Chandler Cox, H-Back
- No. 21 — Paul James III, defensive end
- No. 20 — Kamryn Pettway, H-Back
- No. 19 — Kirby Smart, Georgia coach
- No. 18 — Austin Golson, offensive tackle
- No. 17 — Marlon Davidson, defensive end
- No. 16 — Carlton Davis, cornerback
- No. 15 — T.J. Neal, linebacker
- No. 14 — Tre’ Williams, linebacker
- No. 13 — Nick Saban, Alabama coach
- No. 12 — Eli Stove, receiver
- No. 11 — Jason Smith, receiver
- No. 10 — Marcus Davis, receiver
- No. 9 — Kyle Davis, receiver
- No. 8 — Kevin Steele, defensive coordinator