Aubserver Mailbag 123: Counting Snaps and Scholarships
This week: Transfer portal additions, the Blue-Chip Ratio, Payton Thorne, Under Armour, Aden Holloway, beverages and high school football
(Austin Perryman/Auburn Athletics)
Maybe this only is funny to me, but… I got several questions this week about snap counts and scholarship counts, and this just so happens to be Mailbag No. 1-2-3.
This week’s mailbag spends a lot of time dissecting an Auburn football 2023 roster that is either complete or very nearly complete. The transfer portal is winding down, and the visits are coming to an end on the Plains. The main recruiting focus is about to shift back to 2024 and beyond — which will be crucial to the future of the program.
We talk about how this roster stacks up in the Blue-Chip Ratio, where there might be room for another addition or two and just how different this all feels from 2022.
On the basketball side, we talk about several big-time newcomers — including one on the coaching bench — and tackle the age-old Under Armour question. There’s also some offseason in here about beverages, minor league baseball stadiums and snacks.
Before we begin, here’s a mailbag announcement: I’ve always wanted to do one of these, and I’ll do it next week… a one-question mailbag. That’s right. I will write an entire mailbag based off of one question.
So, if you think you have the Auburn question that you would love to see a whole Observer newsletter written about, this is your chance. I’ll take questions via email or Twitter for the next week, and then we’ll do the one-question mailbag next Friday.
Get to brainstorming.
What’s the current football added snaps gained in the transfer portal?
When I did the snap-counter story for the transfer portal a couple of weeks ago, I seriously thought it would only need one more tweak before it was all said and done.
Instead, Auburn has gotten several new transfers since the story went up, and that original “over 10,000 snaps” headline looks cute in hindsight.
With the most recent additions of Shane Hooks and Stephen Sings V, Auburn is now up to a net gain of 17,427 offensive and defensive snaps through the transfer portal this offseason. It’s at nearly 10,000 added snaps on offense alone, and those newcomers have combined for 80 career touchdowns. Combine that with an offensive line that picked up more than 5,600 career snaps, and you’ve got an insane overhaul.
Defensively, Auburn only lost 764 snaps through the portal and added 8,287. Everyone is going to have questions this season about the pass rush, and for good reason. But the Tigers have netted 67.5 tackles for loss and 38.5 sacks through their pickups in the portal. There’s at least some previous production there for a defensive front that didn’t have a lot coming back in the way of creating havoc.
Auburn is just a single offensive lineman short of being able to field an entirely new offense of just transfers this season. (Maybe you can line up Rivaldo Fairweather at tackle and make it work.) It’s added eight players in the front two levels of a defense that needed to replace virtually its entire pass rush and rebuild from a very weak season in run-stopping.
The Tigers have the No. 2 transfer class in the country, per 247Sports. Colorado fully committing to the bit and changing almost its entire roster under Deion Sanders is the only thing beating them. And Auburn is the only team in the country that has signed double-digit 4-star transfers (11), which is at least two more than everyone else.
Granted, this roster overhaul moves Auburn closer to “winning more games than it loses” territory than “competing for a championship” territory. Doing well in the 2024 and 2025 recruiting classes is what will push Auburn into the latter category.
But, when you haven’t had a winning season since the plague season of 2020, you take these particular recruiting victories if you’re Auburn. This staff has exceeded the already-high expectations for portal activity this offseason.
How many roster spots do you have open for Auburn? Do you believe they are done in the portal? You mentioned Markel Bell in your Wednesday column.