Linebacker JaViere Mitchell has decided to leave the program, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn told reporters on Tuesday.
Mitchell, who would have been entering his senior season, appeared in 12 games for the Tigers last season in a reserve role. The Leeds, Ala., native’s departure leaves the team lacking any real depth at the linebacker position as it opens up spring practice, given the loss of seniors Cassanova McKinzy, Kris Frost and Justin Garrett.
This latest news makes the impending arrival of Illinois graduate transfer linebacker T.J. Neal even more crucial. Neal recorded 109 tackles, including 14 for a loss, and two sacks as a junior for the Illini. Auburn’s 2016 signing class only featured one linebacker: early enrollee Tre Threat, a former three-star prospect from Spanish Fort, Ala.
Suffice it to say, first-year coordinator Kevin Steele should be getting a good look at some of the Tigers’ less experienced defenders in the coming weeks.
Malzahn on depth at LB: "We've got some young guys. They're inexperienced. They're gonna have some opportunities to show what they can do."
— Justin Ferguson (@JFergusonBR) March 1, 2016