Any hopeful expectation that Auburn football can be a seven or eight-win team rests on the shoulders of two different groups on different sides of the ball.
The first group is Bryan Harsin’s first backfield. Bo Nix, Tank Bigsby, and (to a lesser degree) Shaun Shivers will need to elevate their play further to keep the Tigers competitive in a strengthened SEC West. While Alabama should take a step back from the historic level of play they maintained in 2020 with their five top-20 NFL Draft picks this past April, Texas A&M, and LSU could take major steps forward on the strength of their defense. Both reeled in a 5-star defensive recruit for the class of 2021 and return several COVID-19 opt-outs.
It will be on Harsin to balance the running game with the passing game, which has so far been an underwhelming facet of Nix’s game through two seasons under center. Perhaps TJ Finley’s presence could put the necessary pressure on, or his game could be the panacea for the Tigers’ passing woes.
The second group is the secondary. PFF graded the defensive duo of Roger McCreary and Smoke Monday as the best in college football, and they recently added CB Dreshun Miller out of West Virginia this offseason.
Miller could turn out to be one of the top impact transfers for Auburn football, though the Opelika-Auburn News sees Eku Leota and Donovan Kaufman as the most likely newcomers to thrive in 2021.
Noted Alabama detractor and friend of Fly War Eagle Big Game Boomer recently called Miller the #2 transfer in college football, and Miller called the move to the Plains God’s Plan in response:
Let’s hope the plan includes a renaissance for the Tigers in one of the most exciting seasons in college football in recent memory.