AUBURN, Alabama — Malik Miller is in a crowded backfield at Auburn, but he could still see playing time in the fall.
The three-star prospect enrolled early at Auburn in January and managed to impress coaches, but he faces an uphill climb with Jovon Robinson, Roc Thomas and Kerryon Johnson ahead of him on the depth chart.
So, could Miller see the field as a true freshman, much like Thomas and Johnson over the last two seasons?
“Good question,” running backs coach Tim Horton said. “Yes, he can. One thing I think it is really important is let’s not waste a year on people.”
Miller certainly could play on special teams, but is there an opening for him to run on the field as a role player?
“I think the thing that you want to do is, if they’re going to play on special teams, if they’re going to have some snaps on offense, then absolutely, you play them,” Horton said. “If they can help you win in any way, you play them. But let’s always take the kid’s best interest at heart. Nothing’s wrong with redshirting. I think redshirting is a good thing and sometimes people perceive it as not, but it’s a great thing.”
Coaches have not talked in depth with Miller, a Madison Academy alum out of Madison, Ala., about taking a season off this year.
“A little bit, but our approach right now with him is ‘Hey, you’re getting ready to play,’” Horton said. “Because things happen. People get hurt. Even last year — it’s the middle of the second quarter in the opener and we’ve lost our first two tailbacks. You lost Jovon and you lost to Roc to injuries and really that’s how Peyton (Barber) got to play.”
Miller rushed for 713 yards and five touchdowns during his senior season and also played linebacker. He finished with 4,589 yards rushing and 70 touchdowns in his career.