What we learned from Hugh Freeze at Media Days... away from the cameras
Auburn's new head coach went in-depth on personnel updates, injuries, the quarterback battle and more with the local beat.
HC Hugh Freeze (Auburn Athletics)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Hugh Freeze took the podium at SEC Media Days on Tuesday afternoon for the first time as Auburn’s head football coach.
Since the annual media event is increasingly becoming a four-day commercial for the conference, everyone who wanted to hear what Freeze had to say could do so by tuning into the SEC Network.
But, as is tradition, certain members of the Auburn beat were allowed to talk with Freeze before he went through the Media Days circus.
It’s an opportunity to get into the nitty-gritty about the team before the hundreds of national and regional media got their turn to ask their questions to the Tigers’ head coach and player representatives.
Freeze spent more than 20 minutes talking personnel, injury updates and more with less than two months to go before the start of the 2023 season.
Here’s what we learned.
No news on Jarquez Hunter, but plenty of other personnel updates
Freeze declined to comment on the status of running back Jarquez Hunter — who was the subject of social media rumors and a released statement from the university earlier this summer — at Spring Meetings.
He said the same Tuesday afternoon in Nashville, deferring to the university.
“I can't comment on university policies or procedures,” Freeze said when asked about Hunter.
When he was asked if any other players would be suspended ahead of the fall, Freeze repeated that he couldn’t comment on the university’s policies or procedures.
Freeze also confirmed the departure of linebacker DeMario Tolan, who transferred to Auburn from LSU this offseason and went through spring practices. He said the possibility of Tolan returning to Auburn in the future is “still to be determined.”
“Demario’s dealing with some personal family issues,” Freeze said. “We want to support him every way we can to make sure he is in the best spot possible for him and his family.”
Auburn could add another player late in the offseason, though, with JUCO defensive lineman Quientrail “Bobby” Jamison-Travis “finishing up” his academic work this summer. Freeze said “it looks promising” that Jamison-Travis will be able to enroll and be on the 2023 fall roster.
“Love his tape, love his tape, and absolutely think — you can't have enough depth,” Freeze said. “When you watch, right now, let's just call it how it is: When you watch Georgia play, they're going to roll in one and then another, and another, and it ain't much difference to them. And we've got to get back to that point. You just can't have enough depth there.”
On the other end, Freeze said he “doesn’t feel quite as good” about the chances of freshman wide receiver Daquayvious Sorey enrolling in time for the season. Freeze left the door open for Sorey to potentially be re-recruited by Auburn down the line, saying the Tigers will go after “whoever the best players are in the country.”
Freeze also rolled through a list of injury updates Tuesday, with the majority of them being on the positive end: