The addition of Payton Thorne, an Illinois-born star at Michigan State during the 2021 season, shows that Auburn football head coach Hugh Freeze can recruit quarterbacks “like never before” on the Plains according to AL.com’s Joseph Goodman.
“As I mentioned in my weekly newsletter, Thorne is the first quarterback in Auburn history from the great state of Illinois,” Goodman prefaced before saying, “That makes him unique, and also demonstrates the ability of Freeze to recruit talented quarterbacks to Auburn like maybe never before.”
Thorne had to win the starting job, and it took until just two weeks before Week 1 for him to lock it down with Robby Ashford and Holden Geriner providing competition until the very end; particularly the latter, the incumbent QB1 from the 2022 season.
Auburn football could have the best running back room in the SEC, says analyst
Goodman believes that there’s a chance that the Auburn football running back room — one that will be with returning junior Jarquez Hunter after an off-field controversy nearly had him suspended — could end up being the best in the SEC.
“Let me end the suspense,” Goodman prefaced before saying, “Auburn is going to be great at running the ball, and maybe the best in the SEC. This prediction is based on several factors. One, and most importantly, running backs coach Carnell Williams was retained after the team set a series of rushing records while he served as interim head coach to end the 2022 season.”
With Hunter, game-breaking USF transfer Brian Battie, second-year Damari Alston, and incoming Montgomery Catholic star Jeremiah Cobb, the Tigers have the strongest depth in the conference. Becoming the best will be dependent on there being enough game-breaking plays to move the needle on the ground; something Auburn did best when Cadillac Wiliams was on the field himself. After a head-coaching stint that saw AU nearly double its win total from the eight games Bryan Harsin coached before he took over, Williams’ words carry more weight.
Luckily, the RB room can carry the load more as well, making the juxtaposition of the coach and the position group a potentially winning one.