Auburn football: 2024 signees who will make the biggest impact as freshmen

Hugh Freeze signed the No. 7 recruiting class in the country on early signing day and it includes plenty of players who can make a splash in the SEC as true freshmen next season.
Picayune defensive end Jamonta Waller (11)
Picayune defensive end Jamonta Waller (11) / Dominic Gwinn / Hattiesburg American /
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The Auburn football program is on an upward trajectory under Hugh Freeze. It’s not because of his six wins in Year 1, it’s because of his two five-stars and No. 7 overall recruiting class. 

We know that Freeze can recruit with the best of them, and all of a sudden, Auburn is competing with Alabama and the rest of the SEC West for the best players in the country. Freeze was able to lock up his stellar class yesterday with 20 players signing their National Letter of Intent. 

The headliners are the wide receivers, but Auburn also added to positions of need on defense with highly rated players. This recruiting class could turn around the program and ensure a better bowl game than the Music City Bowl that the Tigers are gearing up to play in right now. 

These are the three players from Freeze’s second recruiting class at Auburn who are primed to make the biggest impact on the field in 2024 as true freshmen. 

. Foley, AL. Auburn Thompson. WR. 525. . 5-star. Perry Thompson. Perry Thompson. player

If you make me pick between Thompson and Cam Coleman for who is going to make a bigger impact as a freshman, I’m taking Thompson who is the No. 26 player in the country over Coleman who is ranked No. 8. 

Coleman is the better vertical receiver and last season Payton Thorne was most efficient on those deep and intermediate throws, but that’s why I love the fit of Thompson. He’s a running back once he gets the ball in his hands. 

Thompson is 6-foot-3 200 pounds and plays physical after the catch. Last season, Thorne only averaged 5.7 yards per attempt on throws within 0-9 yards of the line of scrimmage despite completing 70% of those throws. He also only averaged 4.2 yards per attempt on throws behind the line of scrimmage with a 92.5 completion rate. 

In 2023 Ja’Varrius Johnson led the team in yards after the catch with just 159. That ranked him 360th in the nation and 41st in the SEC. Clearly the Tigers lacked big-time playermakers on offense. Now that Johnson is in the transfer portal, Auburn needs someone to fill that role, and hopefully exceed his production. 

Thompson will easily clear 250 yards after the catch next season and will raise Thorne’s efficiency on short throws. If Thorne still hits deep shots to Coleman and other Auburn receivers, and suddenly has a weapon like Thompson, who is a threat to take every screen and slant to the end zone, this offense could explode. 

Coleman will be great downfield, but Thompson will be the engine of the Auburn offense next year, and will develop into a similar role to what Deebo Samuel plays for the San Francisco 49ers.