AUBURN, Ala. — Youth has led the way for Auburn’s linebackers this season. On Saturday, that trend will continue with a first career start for another sophomore at the position.
Sophomore linebacker Montavious Atkinson will start Saturday against Vanderbilt in place of junior Tre’ Williams, who injured his ankle in a win over Ole Miss last weekend.
Atkinson has 15 tackles for loss this season, with 3.5 going for loss. His best games this season came in blowout wins against Arkansas State and Louisiana-Monroe. Atkinson got extended time in a win over LSU and played three snaps in the 4-2-5 formation with Darrell Williams against Ole Miss.
The Fairburn, Ga., native will officially start alongside fellow sophomores Deshaun Davis and Darrell Williams against Vanderbilt. Auburn normally runs two linebackers at a time in its base defense, but Vanderbilt’s pro-style personnel should lead to more three-linebacker formations Saturday.
“He’s a great athlete and when his number was called, he had to be ready (against LSU),” Darrell Williams told reporters in late September. “I feel like we have trust in him and the coaches have trust in him, so it wasn’t any kind of hesitation with being able to put him in. He’s a great player.”
Tre’ Williams went through warmups Saturday with heavy tape on his left ankle. He’ll be held out of the starting lineup with senior wide receiver Tony Stevens, who missed the Ole Miss game with an undisclosed injury.