Colby Wooden and Derick Hall leave Auburn as one of the best duos in program history
Wooden and Hall didn't enjoy as many wins as others did. But their production — and what they meant to the program in hard times — should stand out for a while.
DT Colby Wooden and EDGE Derick Hall (Todd Van Emst/Auburn Athletics)
Here’s a story about two Auburn defensive linemen.
One of them came to the Plains from the east. He was a blue-chip prospect from Georgia who was recruited by several programs with recent titles to their name — including Clemson and the home state Bulldogs — but he ultimately decided to pick Auburn. His younger brother would follow him years later.
The other one came to the Plains from the west. He was a 4-star defensive end who had plenty of SEC and ACC schools wanting him to join their classes. He also picked Auburn, where he found himself in the rotation during his true freshman season. His work ethic stood out quickly.
Together, these two defensive linemen would start for three straight seasons up front for Auburn. They both were household names by the time they were in their third years of college, and they both decided to turn down the pros for one more season.
While they didn’t accomplish their ultimate goals in their final season together, they both left their mark on the program and were showered with praise from Auburn fans upon their entrance into the NFL Draft.
Their names were Derrick Brown and Marlon Davidson.
Then, three years later, their names were Colby Wooden and Derick Hall.
Now, it’s not a perfect comparison. Those rarely, if ever, happen. Wooden and Hall never played for an SEC title like Brown and Davidson did. In fact, they were on two different teams that finished with losing records. They played for different head coaches in different schemes.
And neither Wooden nor Hall are top-10 NFL Draft pick material like Brown, a generational defensive lineman who is one of the most talented players to ever take the field in an Auburn uniform. They’re both currently projected to be Day 2 picks in the 2023 NFL Draft, but it wouldn’t be a total shock if neither even got taken in the second round — when Davidson was picked.
But make no mistake: Wooden and Hall deserve to be mentioned alongside Brown and Davidson as one of the best defensive line tandems to ever play at Auburn.
Don’t believe me? Just check the numbers.
In three seasons as regular starters, from 2020 to 2022, Wooden and Hall combined for 34.5 sacks and 57.5 tackles for loss. Brown and Davidson combined for 26.5 sacks and 55.5 tackles for loss from 2017 to 2019.
Statistically, they were even more productive than the duo of an All-American defensive tackle and an All-SEC defensive end. And they did it in fewer games, too — Brown and Davidson played in 40 during those three seasons, while Wooden and Hall were just in 37.
Auburn has had a great run of defensive line success over the last two decades, spanning different eras at the head coach, defensive coordinator and position coach levels. When Hall was named first-team All-SEC by the league’s coaches Tuesday after his seven-sack, 12-TFL season, it marked the 13th time Auburn has had a first-teamer on the defensive front in the last 20 years.
Start comparing Wooden and Hall’s career numbers to the rest, and you’ll see that they deserve a high spot in the history books.