Bold predictions for Auburn football's 2023 depth chart on offense
With the Tigers' 2023 roster seemingly in place, it's time to sort everyone out and call our shots for the fall — starting on offense.
WR Ja’Varrius Johnson (Auburn Athletics)
Summer work is already underway on the Plains, and while Auburn football has some room to add more talent if it wants — it’s more likely that the Tigers’ 2023 roster is pretty much set for the upcoming fall.
Now’s the time to turn the page and really look ahead to the season. Auburn will have quite a few new faces to still plug in during fall camp and a large number of battles to settle, but everything is starting to come together for Hugh Freeze’s first squad.
With that in mind, it feels like the right time to put out the Observer’s edition of that hallowed preseason tradition: the depth chart projection.
This one has a twist, though. Instead of just listing out the players, I’ve made a bold prediction for the upcoming season for each of the positions on the roster. Some are stat-based. Others are role-based. But I tried to go out on some sort of a limb for all of the spots on the field, and I made sure that there aren’t any “or” sightings for the starting spots.
It’s just a prediction several months before the season starts, so why not try to call some shots?
The first half of the projected depth chart is below, and it covers the entire offense. The defense will go up in tomorrow’s newsletter.
One note before we begin: This projection is based on everybody currently signed to Auburn’s 2023 roster making it to the fall. Things could change in the future, based on players’ statuses with the university.
Also, feel free to share your own bold predictions for Auburn’s offense in the comments below. I would love to hear where fans are projecting this side of the ball.
Auburn went through spring practices, evaluated its options and still made a point to land someone like Thorne in the transfer portal. That speaks volumes, and a healthy Thorne should be QB1 for the majority of the season. Thorne’s proficiency as a deep-ball passer and someone who can thrive off of a strong running game make him the ideal fit to start this new era of up-tempo, spread-it-out offense on the Plains.
Ultimately, the big question will be what Auburn does with Ashford. His value as a rushing threat is too great to overlook, and the Tigers will hope he has made strides as a passer if they need to turn to him this season. If Auburn’s staff can find a way to utilize his talents, even if he’s not the starter, the whole offense could benefit.
Geriner feels like a longer shot to play a meaningful role this season after the arrival of Thorne, but it wouldn’t be surprising at all to hear good reports about him in fall camp. Brown, a former 3-star recruit who was going to be Liberty-bound, is a prime redshirt candidate.
Bold Prediction: Payton Thorne has a top-three passing season in Auburn history. The lesser of Thorne’s two seasons at Michigan State still saw him throw for 2,679 yards and 19 touchdowns. That would rank sixth all-time at Auburn — in both categories. With a softer non-conference schedule and what should be a good running game next to him, I’ll say Thorne puts himself into the mix of top passing season for any Tiger quarterback who didn’t play in the SEC Championship Game.
RB Jarquez Hunter (Auburn Athletics)