AUBURN, Ala. — After sitting out a season following his transfer from Texas and coming off the bench in the first four games of his Auburn career, Darius James has finally cracked the starting lineup as a Tiger.
The 6-foot-4, 320-pound junior from Killeen, Texas, will make his first career start for Auburn at left tackle Saturday in the Tigers’ homecoming matchup against Louisiana-Monroe. He was announced in the starting lineup prior to kickoff.
— Auburn Football (@FootballAU) October 1, 2016
James comes into the lineup because of an injury at center with Xavier Dampeer, who played through what coach Gus Malzahn called “banged up” status in the second half of the LSU game in Week 4. Dampeer dressed but is not starting.
Malzahn never disclosed what Dampeer’s injury was, but it seems to be enough to keep him off the field Saturday. Auburn moved left tackle Austin Golson, who started at center last season for the Tigers, back to his old position in the starting lineup.
James has lined up as Auburn’s “sixth man” on the offensive line this season, serving as an extra blocker in unbalanced formations this season. He has the ability to play both tackle and guard from his days at Texas, where he was a former 5-star recruit.
“I thought (James has) done a solid job,” Malzahn said after Auburn’s Week 2 win vs. Arkansas State. “We did something similar with Robert Leff last year, and I thought he’s done a solid job. When the No. 2 offensive line got in there (in Week 2), I thought they executed at a very high level.”