Transfer battling last preseason’s breakout candidate to be Auburn football WR1

Auburn footballMandatory Credit: The Montgomery Advertiser
Auburn footballMandatory Credit: The Montgomery Advertiser /

The X-receiver position for the Auburn football program needs to be sorted this spring with the departure of fifth-year wideout Shedrick Jackson — and the position battle will see two players with vastly different backgrounds looking to replace No. 11 as the big-play receiver.

Per Football Advantage, the X-receiver is on the opposite side of the field of the tight end and is the furthest wide receiver from the ball. In essence, a Julio Jones type capable of making spectacular jump-balls in the back of the end zone.’s Tom Green sees the battle for the No. 1 X-receiver on the depth chart coming down to incoming Cincinnati transfer Nick Mardner and a popular breakout pick from before the 2022 season, Camden Brown:

"“There are two players to keep an eye on here this spring: sophomore Camden Brown and grad transfer Nick Mardner. Brown was the talk of fall camp last year, but the big-bodied receiver finished his freshman season with just nine receptions for 123 yards and a pair of touchdowns.”“Mardner, meanwhile, provides an experienced veteran to the room—and one who has a history with new wide receivers coach Marcus Davis.”"

The Auburn football receiving corps must see several breakout stars

In 2021, Auburn football didn’t have a great receiving corps, but Kobe Hudson and Shedrick Jackson each had more than 40 receptions (they each went for over 500 yards) and four players, including tight end John Samuel Shenker, had at least 400 receiving yards. One player (Tank Bigsby) had at least 30 receptions and only Ja’Varrius Johnson had more than 400 receiving yards in 2022.

When breaking down all of the things that went wrong for Auburn last season, the receiver room’s struggles — caused by the lack of a consistent passer in the Tigers often short-lived pocket — is definitely near the top of the list. Without any big plays in the passing game, teams locked in on the Tigers rushers out of the backfield.

In order for the team’s record to improve, there needs to be someone, if not multiple players, who can bail out a bad day for the trenches with a big YAC moment. If incumbent starter Robby Ashford does have winning football in him for the upcoming 2023 season, assuming he wins the QB1 role, the receivers need to help bring it out.