Auburn Football: The Five Biggest Stories of Fall Camp Week 1

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Jan 2, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Team Highlight running back Racean Thomas (8) stiff arms during the second half at Tropicana Field. Team Highlight defeated the Team Nitro 31-21. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

5. The Freshman Class Can Contribute

When the team held its first scrimmage of fall camp, the emphasis of the session was for the coaches to learn more about the young players on the roster. And the information that was gained appears to be quite positive.

Despite having two seniors atop the depth chart at running back, true freshman Roc Thomas and redshirt freshman Peyton Barber should have an impact in 2014. The pair, along with another true freshman Kamryn Pettway, has impressed the coaching staff.

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  • “All three young guys are going to have a chance to help us,” coach Gus Malzahn said Saturday during a session with media members. “We know what we have with our two older guys, and we feel really good about that. In a perfect world, two of those three will be in the mix. Like I’ve said before, you can’t have enough depth at running back.”

    And Malzahn wasn’t the only coach that was impressed by the young trio of runners.

    “I don’t think there’s any question that all three of those freshmen could contribute,” running backs coach Tim Horton told

    But, there are more than just running backs in this group. We’ve mentioned that Braden Smith is likely to contribute in a reserve role on the offensive line. The true freshman is already making a name for himself for his strength, and with improved technique, Smith could be a star. Receiver Stanton Truitt has earned rave reviews for his speed, and could earn a role on special teams.

    On defense, linebacker Tre Williams was impressive during Wednesday’s scrimmage. Ellis Johnson spoke of Williams and Deshaun Davis by name to the media after the session. Markell Boston appears ready to add depth at safety and corners Nick Ruffin and Kalvaraz Bessent could do the same at corner.

    In all, the group is very impressive, and the number of players that could earn roles on a team that is already so talented is unexpected.