Analyst: Auburn football ‘never recovered’ from Bryan Harsin inquiry

ESPN’s Chris Low believes the Auburn football program never recovered after the University’s brain trust investigated head coach Bryan Harsin allegations ranging from an inappropriate intimate relationship with a staff member and alleged racist actions towards players.

Under Harsin in 2022, the Tigers went 3-5, including a 1-5 record against Power Five teams. It’s hard to determine if the inquiry is what knocked AU off stride considering the Tigers also lost the final five games of the 2021 season.

Regardless, Low cited the inquiry in assessing the top storylines of 2023 SEC spring football:

“The program never recovered after the university-directed investigation into Bryan Harsin’s relationships with players and coaches following the 2021 season, so the Tigers are starting over — again.”

ESPN leaves open the possibility for Auburn football to land transfer portal QB

In discussing what Hugh Freeze is going to bring to the Auburn football program in the wake of a snake-bitten tenure for Harsin and his family on the Plains for 21 games and 21 months of tabloid fodder, Low and Harry Lyles Jr. discussed the quarterback situation — and left the door open for the Tigers to pursue a QB in the transfer portal.

Freeze missed the first round of headline name transfer portal additions, which included NC State’s (now Kentucky’s) Devin Leary, Coastal Carolina’s Grayson McCall, and Virginia’s (now NC State’s) Brennan Armstrong, but that may have been by design. The Tigers were linked to Oklahoma State’s Spencer Sanders but never offered him before he chose to transfer to Ole Miss.

Should he decide to peruse the portal after the spring, it will be because he sees Robby Ashford, TJ Finley, and Holden Geriner as too far behind due to playing in an offensive system under Eric Kiesau that was canned when Carnell “Cadillac” Williams took over midseason following Harsin’s firing.

Ohio State’s Kyle McCord, UCLA’s Ethan Garbers, Nebraska’s Casey Thompson, and Cincinnati’s Evan Prater have all been floated by Saturday Down South’s Matt Hayes as post-spring transfer portal options for Freeze.