The Auburn football team is working hard in preparation for the 2023 season, the first in the Hugh Freeze era. Along with the new coaching staff, the team got new schemes, new players, and a new outlook on what it means to be an Auburn Tiger.
While there are over 40 new faces on the roster this year between high school, junior college, and the transfer portal, the Tigers are still relying on some returners to make big plays this fall. One of those players is sophomore wide receiver Jay Fair.
The wide receiver corps is definitely one of the position groups that brought in a bunch of new players, including Caleb Burton, Shane Hooks, and Jyaire Shorter, to name a few, but some of the returning Tigers are making waves during fall camp.
As a true freshman last season, Fair caught only two passes despite playing in 10 games, but has put in the work during the offseason to make a bigger impact on the field this year. According to his teammates, Fair has put in a big effort to be better and become a team leader over the summer, and the coaching staff is noticing, too.
Auburn football offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery has taken notice of Fair’s transformation during the offseason, per Auburn Rivals:
"“Well, I think he’s electric, right? I thought he put on some good weight and good muscle this summer. Dom’s done a heck of a job with those guys,” said Montgomery. “But as you look at Jay, I think he’s playing with a lot more confidence. He’s playing a lot faster, being decisive in his decisions. He’s always had good hands. You know he’s not scared of anything. So, if it’s catching the ball across the middle, he doesn’t mind it. You put the ball out there on the edges with him in any type of screen or whatever, he’s a step away from breaking it.“I think he’s just accepted his role and not acting like, ‘Hey, I’m not a guy who’s got a lot of experience. I’m stepping in here with a mindset of trying to go win a job and be the best player I can be and help our football team win.’ I think he’s done a good job of leadership in that way.”"
Even with all the new faces, Fair’s teammates also noted that they expect him to be a big factor on the Tigers’ offense this fall. With an offense that will likely be throwing the ball more than the Tigers have in the past, breakout wide receivers are exactly what is needed.