Five Auburn Tigers Breakout Players for 2014

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Apr 20, 2013; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn running back Anthony Swain (44) carries the ball against Auburn linebacker Justin Garrett (26) during their A-Day spring game at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

3. #26 Justin Garrett, 6-foot-1, 224 pounds, Junior Star

Head coach Gus Malzahn dropped a bit of a bomb in a recent media session when he announced that starting Star Robenson Therezie is working through some “eligibility issues,” and may not be available for Auburn in the season opener August 30. With that statement, Justin Garrett became an instant breakout candidate.

Garrett was expected to be a starter after his standout spring of 2013, but he suffered multiple foot injuries that cost him the vast majority of the season. After receiving a medical redshirt, Garrett is back at full speed and ready to contribute for the Tigers on defense. Now a fourth-year junior, he is slated to start at defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson’s hybrid linebacker/safety position.

Early in spring camp, Johnson was very complimentary of Garrett’s ability.

“If that kid can have a full season of practice and games,” Johnson said, “I think he can be one of our most dynamic playmakers. He’s done a really good job so far.”

Garrett will still need to compete for playing time with Therezie should the senior resolve his off the field issues, and sophomores Mackerno Alexander and DJ Davis should not be overlooked either. But, as Johnson said, if Garrett stays healthy – he could certainly be a breakout player.