The Auburn football fanbase has a low bar but high hopes for their 2023 Auburn Tigers. After two seasons of calamity and chaos brought about by former head coach Bryan Harsin, fans are hoping to see significant change and improvement within the program and on the field this season.
Head coach Hugh Freeze knew there was a lot of work to do when he took on the job at the end of 2023, and began by securing a relatively strong recruiting class to hold him over in his first season. The highlights include flipping defensive lineman Keldric Faulk from FSU and bringing in four high school offensive linemen.
12 key transfers were also added from the portal in the first window, many of whom are expected to make an instant impact for the Tigers. In the spring window, there have been three additions so far in former Michigan State QB Payton Thorne, former Ohio State WR Caleb Burton, and former Appalachian State LB Jalen McLeod.
Despite the loss of players to the transfer portal and the NFL, Freeze and his staff are working to set the Tigers up for success—or at least more success than the program saw over the past two seasons.
However, many are doubtful that Auburn will make too much progress in digging their way out of this hole during Freeze’s first season. 247 Sports’ Brad Crawford predicts that the Tigers will end up in a familiar bowl game this December, facing off against Memphis in the Birmingham Bowl:
"Bowl eligibility in Year 1 for Hugh Freeze on the Plains would appease the fanbase as long as there aren’t many lopsided losses mixed into a .500 or 7-5 season. Auburn’s not far away from being a tough out in the SEC West and the Tigers believe they’ve signed a few instant-impact portal players — including Michigan State quarterback Payton Thorne — that bring instant competition to vital position groups."
Instant-impact portal players will be a big deal during the 2023 Auburn football season, and hopefully Hugh Freeze and his staff’s hard recruiting will pay off on the field.