Auburn football saw a major change in utilization of the tight end corps in head coach Bryan Harsin’s first season on the Plains.
Senior John Samuel Shenker played a key role on the Tigers’ offense all season long, setting the single-season record for receptions and receiving yards in his fifth year with the program.
In a season where the wide receivers room was plagued with inconsistency, Shenker, along with fellow tight ends Luke Deal and Tyler Fromm, were reliable pass-catchers all year.
Another member of the tight end roster that played a role of importance for the Tigers in 2021 was true freshman Landen King, who was given a chance to show his skills on the field mid-season during the Georgia game and rotated on and off the field for the remaining games.
By the end of the season, King recorded five catches for 59 yards and one touchdown that was scored during the 2021 Iron Bowl. His longest reception was for 25 yards versus Georgia.
According to Auburn Undercover, tight ends coach Brad Bedell plans to get the most out of the young player heading into his second season on the Plains:
"“We’re going to do everything we can with Landen,” Bedell said. “Look at what he did last year — so young. … That’s the one thing with Landen is that he comes with maturity. There’s an understanding of when you get here and step into the stadiums as a young kid, you’re like, oh, okay. He did that, and now he’s successful. His confidence is higher; his maturity has grown.”"
However, King’s role in 2022 may look a little different than it did last season, as Auburn Undercover also reported that during spring practice this week the sophomore began working in the wide receivers room under Ike Hilliard in addition to working with the tight ends.
With the lack of depth returning to Auburn football’s wide receivers room in 2022, it’s possible that King makes the transition from tight end to wide receiver for the upcoming season.