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.
22. Chandler Cox, H-Back
The best route-running H-Back on Auburn’s roster could be set for a big season.
It’s been three years since Jay Prosch walked on Auburn’s campus as the Tigers’ bruising fullback, who proved to be a huge piece to the Tigers’ nation-leading rushing offense during their run to an SEC title. Cox is not Prosch, but what he can provide is a multiple-style option out of the backfield with a knack for blocking, running routes and also carrying the football when needed.
Fans got a glimpse at Auburn’s A-Day scrimmage when he ran for 71 yards on his first carry in April.
“I wasn’t thinking about getting that big of a gain, but I was looking and thinking, ‘Is someone going to catch me?’” Cox said. “It was an awesome time and play.”
Cox (6-1, 232) also is a great option on wheel routes and near the sideline. His soft hands have been on display in practices, thought we’ve not quite seen what he can do in an SEC game. That should change this upcoming season for the sophomore. He’ll get a lot of help with Kamryn Pettway, who will share time at H-Back.
“They bring a certain element of toughness to the position that we needed,” running backs coach Tim Horton said. “They’re fall-forward backs. They’re going to get yards after contact. They’re going to move the chains. I’ve been pleased with both of them.”
Coming Friday: III