3 Auburn football players who should be replaced on the depth chart for 2024

FanSided college football writer Josh Yourish thinks that Tigers should find upgrades at these three positions ahead of the 2024 season.
Auburn Tigers quarterback Payton Thorne (1)
Auburn Tigers quarterback Payton Thorne (1) / Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports
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5. player. Jay Fair. . Junior. Jay Fair. . Jay Fair. 525. WR

It’s not so much that Jay Fair needs to be replaced because of his performance in 2023, it’s more that Hugh Freeze brought in two five-star freshmen receivers who, on pedigree alone, should jump over Fair on the depth chart. 

As a sophomore in 2023, Fair caught 31 passes for 324 yards and two touchdowns. 202 of his 221 routes came out of the slot, and that’s why he, unlike Ja’Varrius Johnson, Malcolm Johnson Jr. Omari Kelly, and Jyaire Shorter, didn’t enter the transfer portal. 

Behind tight end Rivaldo Fairweather Jr. Fair was the most targeted Tiger in 2023 and 62.2% of those targets came either behind the line of scrimmage or within nine yards of it. At 5-foot-10 186 pounds, he is a quality underneath slot receiver, but he shouldn’t take snaps away from Cam Coleman, Perry Thompson, and even four-star Bryce Cain in their true freshmen season. 

Payton Thorne’s average depth of target was 9.1 in 2023, but he only completed 28.9% of his throws over 20 yards downfield. Now, that’s not Fair’s role on the team, and he’ll still deserve snaps on from the slot, but the Tigers finished 2023 averaging 162.2 passing yards a game, which ranked 124th in the country, which needs to change next season. 

Freeze has done a great job recruiting skill players, and Fair may have to fall victim to the influx of talent at his position.