Former Auburn football running back Brad Lester sent a confident message on ascending star Jarquez Hunter ahead of the 2023 season — claiming that the third-year RB could go for anywhere between 1,500 and 1,600 yards.
“That’s something that’s more than attainable, especially with Coach (Hugh) Freeze,” Lester said (h/t AL.com). “When people talk about Coach Freeze, they talk about throwing the football. But from what I’ve seen in the past years, when he has solid running backs, he really likes to establish the run game.” Lester feels Hunter is ready to break out in the forthcoming campaign after waiting in the shadow of Tank Bigsby.
“You can tell he’s hungry for this season,” Lester said of Hunter. “Last year he just had to play the role behind Tank, but now that Tank is gone, he gets his opportunity.”
Jarquez Hunter is not expected to bear the same load in the Auburn football RB room Tank Bigsby did
AL.com’s Ainslie Lee is not expecting Hunter to bear the same load Bigsby did during the last three seasons because of the presence of USF transfer Brian Battie, second-year Damari Alston, and incoming Montgomery Catholic star Jeremiah Cobb.
“While Hunter is likely bear the distinction of being Auburn’s starting running back, the likelihood of him bearing the load that Bigsby did and notching that season of more than 1,500 rushing yards Lester predicted is sounding less and less likely,” Lee wrote.
“That’s not a knock on Hunter, who is set to follow up a 2022 campaign that saw him rush for 675 rushing yards and seven touchdowns.”
Hunter could still push the rushing limit due to less wear and tear given the Tigers’ depth and could have a better go at it than Bigsby did because of a much-improved offensive line Hugh Freeze built through the transfer portal in the offseason.