Four Tigers Poised for Breakout Seasons

Auburn and LSU meet Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)
Auburn and LSU meet Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images) /

We’re now sixteen days removed from kickoff and while we’re counting down the days we’ll take a look at four young Tigers poised for breakout seasons.

(Bo Nix and Joey Gatewood will be poised for breakout seasons depending on who Malzahn names starting quarterback, but until that name is revealed we’re keeping the list to the following four, will update when Gus makes his final decision). These Tigers are ranked in no particular order:

Freshman Linebacker Owen Pappoe

Pappoe is Auburn’s second highest linebacker recruit ever. Since coming to Auburn he’s put on about 15 pounds and has received high praise from head coach Gus Malzahn and position coach Travis Williams. Pappoe has been described as a perfectionist when it comes to the honing of his craft. He works extremely hard in the gym but also constantly wants to watch film and make the most of preseason preparation. After losing three starting linebackers last season to the NFL, Auburn needs Pappoe to step up and he’s a young Tiger ready to make a difference.

Redshirt Freshman Wide Receiver Matthew Hill

The biggest silver lining among the woes of the wide receiving corps is that freshman Matthew Hill has been given the opportunity to showcase his talents. Since shining in the A-Day game with five receptions for 128 yards and two touchdowns, Hill has had the most reps with 1s this preseason. As four of Auburn’s starting wide receivers recover from injuries Hill has proven that he is a receiver the offense can count on.

Freshman Runningback Mark Antony Richards

Last week Richards underwent a procedure on his right leg but is expected to return to play this season. Why we’re including him? The highly touted 4-star athlete’s running style has been compared to recent Auburn phenom Kerryon Johnson. Richards is fast, runs hard, and can catch passes. He’s 6’1,195 pounds and while putting on weight is a concern right now his athleticism will put him on the field when he is healthy enough to return.

Redshirt Freshman Runningback? Harold Joiner

This is a kid that has played just about everything this offseason. He’s practiced with halfbacks, tailbacks, runningbacks, and receivers. THE BEST THING ABOUT THIS KID, wide receivers coach Kodi Burns said that Joiner was, “trying to run guys over” in the Tigers’ first scrimmage. What more could you want from a runningback? It’s unclear how Malzahn will rotate runningbacks this season, but the addition of a real-life wrecking ball in the 6’4, 215 lb Joiner will definitely add  yards for the Tigers’ offense.