Following the 2022 season, the Auburn football team lost several key defensive players, including edge rushers Derick Hall and Eku Leota, linebacker Owen Pappoe, and defensive lineman Colby Wooden. This year’s defense will have big shoes to fill, but several returners are showing lots of potential during the offseason.
Last year, Keionte Scott was a newcomer on the team. He signed with the Tigers out of junior college and arrived on the Plains during the summer months. Come fall, he quickly earned a spot in the defensive rotation and was a key player on special teams during punt and kick returns.
He finished up the 2022 season with a whopping 53 tackles, the fourth most on the defense, as well as four tackles for loss, one sack, one interception, and three pass breakups.
Auburn Rivals reports that both secondary coaches, Zac Etheridge and Wesley McGriff, have been extremely impressed with Scott throughout spring practice and that he is expected to earn the starting spot at nickel once again in 2023:
"“The best thing from that is you see his teammates high-fiving and head-slapping him. That guy can really impact the game.“I see a dynamic player,” said McGriff. “I see a guy that can impact the game. I see a guy that has the tools to play at a high level. I see a guy that loves football. When he comes to work, and I call it work because it’s what they do, when he comes to work everyday he’s prepared."
Scott will be expected to rotate with a fellow transfer from last season, Donovan Kaufman, while the cornerback positions will be covered by the likes of D.J. James, Nehemiah Pritchett, and underclassmen J.D. Rhym and Kayin Lee. The 2023 Auburn football season will begin on September 2, and the Tigers will host UMass at Jordan-Hare Stadium.