Auburn Football: Three Tigers Receiving High Praise to Start Fall Camp


Before we get started with the three Tigers making waves, the question has to be asked: What was the coaching staff thinking when they cut the shorts that the team is sporting during fall camp?

That is a question that will forever follow this group with no definitive answer in the future. I contend two things happened—1. The coaching staff is making it an “earn it” type motivation to wear normal shorts produced by Under Armour; 2. Budget cuts before the fiscal year comes up this October.

Neither excuse is very good, but I digress.

Three Impact Players Early in Fall Camp

Two days of practice are officially over and the whispers of newcomers ready to make an impact are reaching a fever pitch. A lot will happen in the next few days when the pads come on, but as it stands there are three new Tigers that are looking the part.

The three guys to keep an eye on as fall camp progresses are Melvin Ray, Jovon Robinson and Ricardo Louis.

Will these three make an instant impact this season? History says they won’t, but that doesn’t mean we can’t brag on the skill level before the real football begins next week. There are a lot of players that catch eyes early in camp, only to fall away as the season closes in.

These three guys have a lot of talent and physically already look the part, but learning the offensive scheme will be key to the success that will come this fall.

Melvin Ray

Melvin Ray earned a name for himself in 2008 as one of the top recruits at the receiver position. He signed with the Alabama Crimson Tide out of high school, but chose to pursue professional baseball instead of college football when he graduated.

Four years after signing with the Tide, Ray is now poised to be an instant impact player at receiver for the Auburn Tigers.

Ray played three years of pro baseball in the L.A. Dodgers organization before choosing to attend Auburn last fall. After spending one year getting his academics in order, Ray is now ready to contribute on the football field.

At 6’2”, 190-pounds, Ray carries the frame that looks every bit of college level receiver. He is in football shape, but has been out of the game for nearly four years. Ray has earned rave reviews during summer workouts and since the practice has started, but he faces a tough climb to join the playing rotation.

Another receiver that came to Auburn under high expectations is DeAngelo Benton. Benton sat one year attempting to qualify and enters his fourth season in Auburn this year. He has yet to produce more than a few catches a season.

Will the same fall true for Ray? At this point I wouldn’t think so—he is poised to be a playmaker. Before we label him an impact guy though, he has to make it through a few more weeks of practice.

Ricardo Louis

Ricardo Louis was one of the most dynamic signees that came from the 2012 recruiting class. Louis was a quarterback and safety in high school, but looks to become a receiver and return specialist for the Tigers this season.

The first thing that is noticed about Louis is how physically ready he appears for the college game. Louis is a well-built football player that looks like he has been in the Tigers weight training program for four years already.

Louis is a player that could fill a role early for the Tigers, but he has to learn the playbook in short order. Auburn is hurting for playmaking pass catchers heading into the fall—adding a guy like Louis to the lineup fills a void at the position immediately.

Can Louis make an instant impact? I think he can. Again, the jury is out until the pads come on and the men separate from the boys, but Louis looks like he can handle the big boy hits that are right around the corner.

If Louis dives into the playbook, he will be a player that can replicate the early success that was achieved by Quan Bray a year ago. Louis could be better—his size and speed make him a dangerous showstopper for the Tigers.

Jovon Robinson

The Auburn Tigers are searching for every-down answers from the running back position and Jovon Robinson is looking to help fill the void left by the now departed Michael Dyer—Robinson is even sporting a No. 5 jersey.

Robinson is the biggest running back on the team checking in at 6’0”, 220-pounds. Robinson also has the top end speed and one-cut ability to be a force in the Scot Loeffler offense.

Daren Bates was one of the first veterans to praise Robinson, saying that he is a workhorse on and off the field. Robinson has impressed his teammates this summer and early into fall, but can he make an impact in an already crowded backfield?

I think that he can. Running back is a relatively easy position to come in and play right away, and I would expect Robinson to be a progressive type player. As the season moves on, his carry count will increase.

Keep in mind that the Tigers have a lot of talent already in the backfield and there are a lot of guys ready to play, but Robinson’s blend of size and speed make him one of a kind on the Tigers roster.

Look for his early impact to come as a returner, but once he gets down his blocking assignments and play calls, he will be an unstoppable force from the Tigers backfield.

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