Every recruiting class has its surprises, busts and breakout stars. With that in mind, SEC Country takes a look at four signing classes (2012-15) at Auburn as Gus Malzahn enters his fourth season coaching the Tigers.
We take a look at the careers so far for these players, sum them up and provide a simple stock return: up, even or down. Today we conclude our series with the recruiting class of 2015.
Byron Cowart, ★★★★★
What happened: The nation’s top defensive prospect had every chance to prove himself worthy of the hype. He played in all 13 games a true freshman but finished with six tackles. He did have six quarterback hurries, but no tackles for loss. He needs to take a big step forward this season and beyond.
RB Jovon Robinson, ★★★★
What happened: He had to wait his turn — attitude issues and a foot injury slowed him at the start of the season — but he finished with a flourish, rushing for 90 yards or more in five of the last six games as it became clear he was Auburn’s featured running back. He will be the starter this upcoming season.
FB Chandler Cox, ★★★★
What happened: He started 10 games as a true freshman and is expected to start and/or share t ime with Kamryn Pettway this upcoming season. His Auburn’s best passing option out of the backfield, so don’t be surprised to see him catch a few passes on wheel routes this upcoming season.
DE Prince Tega Wanogho Jr., ★★★★
What happened: He was recovering from a major leg injury suffered last spring while playing basketball and has bulked up, but let’s keep in mind the 4-star behemoth has only played football for a few years. He’s extremely raw and might still be another year away from seeing the field.
WR Jason Smith, ★★★★
What happened: He tried to compete against Jeremy Johnson for the quarterback job when he arrived on campus in 2015, but he quickly pulled out of the competition and moved to receiver. He caught 13 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns in 2015 and is a big-play treat in the offense. Oh, and he was 0 for 2 passing with one interception if you’re wondering why he’s not moving to quarterback any time soon.
LB Jeffery Holland, ★★★★
What happened: Jeff Holland did not disappoint in his freshman debut with 13 tackles, including 2.5 for losses, and should see his role increase this upcoming season. He’ll be a great pass rusher before his time ends with the Tigers.
WR Darius Slayton, ★★★★
What happened: He did not play as a redshirt player. He played Class 2A ball in Georgia and was a member of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl while ranking in the top 15 nationally at receiver.
S Jordan Colbert, ★★★★
What happened: He sat on the bench and then left the team, transferring to Holmes Community College.
LB Darrell Williams, ★★★★
What happened: He played in nine games, mostly on special teams, as a freshman but coaches have hope for him this upcoming season as a contributor at linebacker.
WR Ryan Davis, ★★★★
What happened: He touched the ball once and he gained 28 yards on a running play. He was a standout at the A-Day game in the spring and could battle for a starting spot this season as a sophomore. He also had an 81-yard touchdown run in the A-Day game, but it was called back on a penalty.
LB Richard McBryde, ★★★★
What happened: He did not play last season and has some catching up to do at the linebacker position, but the time is right for someone to step up and take over.
OG Tyler Carr, ★★★★
What happened: He did not play but was a backup throughout the season and was nearly thrown on the field. He’ll be a factor this season or in 2017 after redshirting.
OG Marquel Harrell, ★★★★
What happened: He will work with the second-team unit at offensive guard this season after redshirting in 2015.
C Kaleb Kim, ★★★★
What happened: He, too, will be a member of the second-team offensive line as Xavier Dampeer’s backup at center.
LB Montavious Atkinson, ★★★★
What happened: He played 10 games, lined up at safety, picked up a tackle against San Jose State and is now being counted on at linebacker in Kevin Steele’s system. Will he contribute?
ATH Tim Irvin, ★★★★
What happened: He played in nine games and had 18 tackles, but said he wasn’t comfortable with the Tigers and decided to leave school to seek an opportunity elsewhere.
CB Javaris Davis, ★★★★
What happened: He redshirted as a freshman. He played running back and receive in high school, but will be a defensive back for the Tigers.
CB Carlton Davis, ★★★★
What happened: The standout of the class so far, he was a member of the SEC All-Freshman team after he was elevated to starter in 2015. He led the team with three interceptions and had 56 tackles.
OT Bailey Sharp, ★★★★
What happened: Another redshirt offensive lineman who could see time on the second-team unit before getting a shot as a starter in 2017 and beyond. He was a member of the AJC’s Super 75 out of Marietta, Ga.
QB Tyler Queen, ★★★
What happened: Two surgeries since he arrived at Auburn, including shoulder surgery following spring practice this year. He is not a contender in Auburn’s battle for the starting quarterback job this fall.
DT Jaunta’vius Johnson, ★★★
What happened: He did not play last season but coaches love his abilities at tackle, and he should see time on the field in the near future.
DT Maurice Swain, ★★★
What happened: He’ll be a factor in the lineup this coming season, but how much playing time will he see? It might be difficult to become a major player.
TE Jalen Harris, ★★★
What happened: He really has no competition since Chris Laye transferred in February, but the tight end has never been a big part of Gus Malzahn’s offense.
OT Mike Horton, ★★★
What happened: He impressed during his freshman season and even jumped up to backup during fall camp. He’ll be in the rotation this season, but his time as a starter is coming in 2017 and beyond.
CB Jeremiah Dinson, ★★★
What happened: He played in nine games as a freshman and finished with 15 tackles and forced one fumble. He tore three knee ligaments and injured his shoulder on a vicious hit against Texas A&M late in the season. He is still recovering, but coaches expect him back. That’s not the only obstacle he faces. He was arrested in the offseason on a misdemeanor second-degree marijuana possession charge, but it appears punishment within the football program will not be substantial.
P Ian Shannon, ★★★
What happened: He was redshirted and did not play. The Tigers hope he will be the starting punter some day.
2015 recruiting class
Rankings: 8th nationally; 5th SEC
Portfolio: Only one player has left the team so far, bringing our total number of departures to 22 since the class of 2012. The breakout star is cornerback Carlton Davis, but this class was built on players who will contribute in 2016 and beyond, which is why this stock remains in flux.
Overall stock: Even
- Revisiting Auburn’s 2012 signing class
- Revisiting Auburn’s 2013 signing class
- Revisiting Auburn’s 2014 signing class