Spring preview: Scouting Auburn’s RB options

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As Auburn begins to prepare for its first spring practice under new head coach Hugh Freeze, Auburn Wire will begin examining each position group and predict who has the chance of seeing the most playing time.

Our next unit to examine will be running backs, which Auburn has a pool of talent to choose from.

Tank Bigsby carried the load for Auburn in the running game over the last three seasons, as he gained 2,903 yards on 540 attempts and scored 25 touchdowns. Who steps up to take over production? The talent is there, but experience may come into play.

Auburn has two returners who gained experience last season in Jarquez Hunter and Damari Alston. The Tigers also gained a valuable piece to the room with Brian Battie, a transfer from South Florida. While not on campus yet, four-star running back Jeremiah Cobb is also expected to fight for carries in the fall.

RELATED: Projecting Auburn’s QB depth chart ahead of A-Day

Here’s a look at who occupies Auburn’s RB room heading into spring:

  • Jarquez Hunter

  • Brian Battie

  • Damari Alston

  • Sean Jackson

  • Justin Jones

  • Luke Reebals

  • Jeremiah Cobb

Get to know each Auburn RB ahead of spring practice by checking out their features below:

 

Damari Alston

John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Attempts

Yards

Yards Per Carry

Touchdowns

PFF Grade

2022

14

85

6.1

0

65.8

Jarquez Hunter appears to be RB1 heading into spring, so the biggest battle to watch with this unit will be between [autotag]Damari Alston[/autotag] and USF transfer Brian Battie for the No. 2 slot. Alston, like every back last season, did not get the looks as anticipated, so it is difficult to gauge just how much of an impact he will make on the field.

However, we may see more of Alston this season due to [autotag]Cadillac Williams[/autotag]’ return to the staff. Mix that in with a new philosphy and a revamped offensive line, and we may see Alston reach his full potential in 2023.

Brian Battie

AP Photo/John Raoux

Attempts

Yards

Yards Per Carry

Touchdowns

PFF Grade

2022

174

1,201

6.9

8

87.4

Although there is high potential in Auburn’s running back room, there was a noticable lack of production experience. That changed when Auburn received the commitment of [autotag]Brian Battie[/autotag] from the transfer portal.

The former South Florida product had a breakout season in 2022 by rushing for over 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns, and looks to improve his draft stock against SEC competition this season.

There’s no doubt that Battie will compete for the top spot during the spring. But, if that doesn’t work out, I still expect him to get adequate touches this season alongside Damari Alston.

Jeremiah Cobb

Jake Crandall/ The Montgomery Advertiser

247Sports

Rivals

On3

2022 (RB rankings)

No. 11

No. 2

No. 6

Auburn’s top signee of the 2023 recruiting cycle will not be on campus for spring practice, but will look to earn valuable playing time in 2023. [autotag]Jeremiah Cobb[/autotag] will have his work cut out for him with the likes of Jarquez Hunter, Brian Battie, and Damari Alston ahead of him on the depth chart, so carries will come at a premium.

My early prediction is that Cobb will redshirt, but he will have the chance to gain experience by playing his four-game minimum.

Jarquez Hunter

AP Photo/Butch Dill

Attempts

Yards

Yards Per Carry

Touchdowns

PFF Grade

2022

104

668

6.4

7

79.8

For the last two seasons, [autotag]Jarquez Hunter[/autotag] has complemented [autotag]Tank Bigsby[/autotag] well in the Auburn backfield. Now, it is his time to shine.

Hunter will enter spring as the favorite to win the top spot on the depth chart, and Auburn fans are excited to see what he can do as the premier back in the system. The RB room has plenty of talent, and Hunter is the cream of the crop.

Sean Jackson

AP Photo/Butch Dill

Attempts

Yards

Yards Per Carry

Touchdowns

PFF Grade

2022

0

0

0.0

0

0.0

[autotag]Sean Jackson[/autotag] enters his third season on the Plains after walking onto the program in 2021. He saw action in 2021 by rushing for 60 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries, but was used as a special teams player in 2022. Jackson’s experience will help him compete for a role on the team, and could be a viable option to pick up slack if the need were to arise.

Justin Jones

Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics

Attempts

Yards

Yards Per Carry

Touchdowns

PFF Grade

2022

0

0

0.0

0

0.0

[autotag]Justin Jones[/autotag] did not receive any touches in 2022, but was seen as an asset to the team by winning offensive scout team player of the year. If nothing else, Jones will help Auburn’s defense prepare for their opponents by giving them the best look possible. Who knows, maybe that could translate into playing time?

Luke Reebals

Jake Crandall/ The Montgomery Advertiser

Attempts

Yards

Yards Per Carry

Touchdowns

PFF Grade

2022

0

0

0.0

0

0.0

[autotag]Luke Reebals[/autotag], a former standout back at Briarwood Christian in Birmingham, took a redshirt last season after not receiving any playing time. Depth will more than likely keep Reebals from getting touches this fall, but it will be a great season to develop under a new coach in Hugh Freeze.

 

Story originally appeared on Auburn Wire

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