AL.com’s Tom Green believes the Auburn football linebacker room — or, more specifically, the JACK linebacker position — “needs more help” following the Tigers’ 2023 A-Day spring game last Saturday (April 8).
“Freeze believes Auburn is still ‘deficient in true pass-rushers’ and wants to find more help on that front in the post-spring transfer portal, but after losing Derick Hall, Eku Leota and even Marcus Bragg from last year’s roster, the Tigers leaned on a pair of newcomers this spring: Vanderbilt transfer Elijah McAllister and four-star freshman Keldric Faulk,” Green prefaced before saying, “Still, Auburn needs more help at the position. Even if it can find some on the transfer market, don’t be surprised if someone like redshirt freshman Powell Gordon gets some work off the edge to add depth to a room that also includes Dylan Brooks and freshman Brenton Williams.”
April 15 is the opening of the next transfer portal cycle, so Hugh Freeze and Auburn football LB coach Josh Aldridge could begin their quest for a weakside pass rusher within the next few days.
Auburn football inside linebacker group a ‘pleasant surprise this spring’
Green was way higher on the inside linebackers than he was in the Tigers’ EDGE group, calling the ILB group a “pleasant surprise this spring.”
“Even after losing four-year starter, team captain and leading tackler Owen Pappoe to the NFL, Auburn’s inside linebacker group was a pleasant surprise this spring,” Green wrote. “Along with returning veteran contributors Cam Riley and Wesley Steiner, the Tigers got an infusion of SEC talent and experience with Ole Miss transfer Austin Keys and LSU transfer DeMario Tolan, plus the continued development of redshirt freshman Robert Woodyard Jr.”
Green revealed that there could be more of a platoon approach at LB in 2023, as compared to heavily relying on the likes of Owen Pappoe, Cam Riley, and Wesley Steiner.
“The Tigers want to go three-deep at linebacker this season, with a more evenly distributed snap-count than last season’s top-heavy rotation that leaned heavily on Pappoe, Riley and Steiner,” Green wrote.