12 players who have grabbed our attention in Auburn football spring practices so far
From fresh-faced newcomers to older players trying to make a move up the depth chart, here's who has stuck out the most in spring ball.
WR Tar’Varish Dawson Jr. (Todd Van Emst/Auburn Athletics)
Auburn football is in the midst of its second week of spring practices, and there’s a lot of work to be done for Bryan Harsin and his new-look roster and staff.
But this time is specifically designed for that work to be done — the development and the foundation-laying needed to make any sort of improvements from season to season. While the effects won’t be seen for months, it’s a crucial time for the Tigers.
It’s also a time for players to make good first impressions or push for more snaps. The depth chart is in a constant state of evolution, with players transferring out, heading to the next level or simply missing time in practices due to injuries.
For today’s newsletter, here are a dozen Auburn players, listed in alphabetical order by last name, who have grabbed attention one way or another during practices so far — which have included several open viewing windows for media members. Some of these players are new faces who naturally draw the eye in drills. Others are in position battles or are jockeying for spots in the near future.
Based on what we’ve seen and heard from camp so far, these are 12 players that have stood out. They’re not all the best at their respective positions, but they are where the intrigue is right now in March.
QB Robby Ashford
Let me preface all of this by saying that I am not a quarterback expert. I’ve never played the position. I’ve never coached the position. (I’ve never done either in the sport of football, at any level.) I know there’s a lot more to the job than just throwing the ball to receivers or stationary targets against air.
But through the open viewing windows so far, the two quarterbacks who have looked to be ahead of the rest in drills are T.J. Finley and Robby Ashford. I would have said the same thing before Dematrius Davis entered the transfer portal, and it was telling that Ashford was the No. 2 quarterback behind Finley in drills Wednesday afternoon.
Yes, Ashford hasn’t taken a snap at the college level yet. There’s a big difference between what a quarterback can do in drills and what he can do when live bullets are flying. Still, when it comes to simply throwing the football, Ashford’s arm talent pops. The dual-sport athlete throws the ball with a lot of velocity, and he was right there with Finley during a rollout accuracy drill Monday afternoon.
There’s a lot that goes into playing quarterback at this level, and Ashford is just a piece of what’s going to be an open competition throughout spring ball. Still, he’s impressed this outside observer so far — and teammate Kilian Zierer said Wednesday that he’s “definitely done a great job” in his early days with the Auburn offense. Keep an eye on him.