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.
20. Kamryn Pettway, H-Back
Much like Chandler Cox earlier in our countdown, Kamryn Pettway could be in position for a huge season at H-Back.
Pettway’s big body (6-foot, 242 pounds) provides a great base as a blocker in this age of Auburn football in which the bar for playing the position was set by Jay Prosch in 2013. He can also carry the football as we saw in the A-Day game. Running backs coach Tim Horton has not been afraid to say he could carry the ball more often this upcoming season.
Remember, Pettway played running back in high school and for a time he and Roc Thomas believed they would be a thunder-lightning combination in the rotation. Instead, Pettway moved to fullback and Thomas played as a role player before transferring to Jacksonville State in April.
“Really, with both Chandler and with Kam when we recruited them we felt like maybe if they got big they had the ability and the toughness, the physicalness that you want to possibly play some fullback,” Horton said. “And I think both those kids have the chance to be outstanding, as good as there are in our league.”
Coaches have to project whether a player can be a force at fullback. True fullbacks are hard to find on the high school recruiting trail and converting tailbacks to fullbacks is more common. For now, it appears Pettway is in line to not only be an adequate fullback, but a great option in the running game if needed.
Coming Tuesday: Smart man