Ex-Deion Sanders recruit catches first TD pass for Auburn in Week 3

Shane Hooks, who was brought over from Ohio University from Jackson State by Deion Sanders, caught his first touchdown pass for the Auburn football program on September 16 in a Week 3 FBS/FCS matchup against Samford. Hooks’ touchdown was off a 32-yard toss from Payton Thorne in the second quarter.

Having come into the Tigers’ third game of the 2023 season with just two catches and 41 receiving yards, all during AU’s Week 1 win against UMass, Hooks got a much-needed receiving score against the Bulldogs — especially considering it was reported that the JSU transfer “turned heads” in the offseason.

“Jackson State transfer Shane Hooks has turned heads a lot heading into the season with hands that are big and consistent,” AL.com’s Ainslie Lee wrote. “Hooks might highlight Auburn’s receivers, but slot guys Ja’Varrius Johnson and Jay Fair are two others to keep an eye on.”

Auburn football QB Payton Thorne overcame two early interceptions vs. Samford

In the first quarter, it looked like Auburn football quarterback Payton Thorne was handing over the starting job to Robby Ashford with two early interceptions. Luckily, the Tigers transfer persisted and found the end zone for the fourth time this season to improve a TD:INT ratio that was starting to creep close to even.

Thorne has not made the most compelling case to receive the majority of snaps under center for AU, but bouncing back from a rough showing against an underrated Samford defense — one buoyed by a shifty defensive front — is a good trait to see for the 22-year-old as SEC play imminently looms.