11 Auburn football players to watch during bowl week (and beyond)
The Music City Bowl vs. Maryland represents a chance for the Tigers — and several players themselves — to set the tone for their 2024.
RB Jeremiah Cobb (All Photos are by Austin Perryman/Auburn Tigers)
Auburn’s players and coaches will report to Nashville later today to end their quick Christmas break and enter the week of the Music City Bowl against Big Ten foe Maryland.
The Tigers will practice several times at Vanderbilt before playing the Terrapins on Saturday at Nissan Stadium. Auburn is currently around a touchdown favorite over Maryland, with the line moving a few points after Big Ten all-time passing leader Taulia Tagovailoa opted out of the game.
The Music City Bowl represents an opportunity for Auburn to end an up-and-down 2023 season on a high note and prevent having three straight losing seasons, which hasn’t happened to the program since the mid-1970s.
And, with opt-outs and transfer portal departures affecting both rosters, the bowl also provides an opportunity to set the tone for 2024 for individual players — especially ones who could find themselves in new and bigger roles next season.
Today’s Observer newsletter is all about those players. Here are 11 Tigers that we’re going to be keeping a close eye on during bowl week and moving into the true offseason portion of the college football calendar.
Some are potential starters. Some have a chance to carve out roles. And some are just flat-out intriguing names on the roster at this point. We’ll start with arguably the most talked-about player of bowl practices so far…
OT Tyler Johnson
Every year, there seems to be at least one player who flies under the radar and makes a massive impression either in bowl practices or the start of spring ball. Right now, the top candidate for that title is Johnson — who got plenty of praise last week from teammates on both sides of the ball for what he’s done recently.
“Man, he's gotten like 10 times better — literally mean it, 10 times better — since he came in from fall camp,” Jack linebacker Jalen McLeod said. “We've been having some good one-on-ones, and I'm like, 'Wow. This not the same Tyler that I was going up (against) a few weeks ago.' That's how crazy it is.”