With only a handful of returning starters, the battles for starting roles are fierce.
By Tom Blaz of the Recruiting Eagle
The defending national champion Auburn Tigers will have many new faces as they defend their title.
With only a handful of returning starters, the opportunities are numerous and the battles for starting
roles are fierce.
Auburn has enjoyed great recruiting success the past two seasons, ranking anywhere from first to
fifth (depending on the recruiting service). While the team is extremely young and inexperienced,
the talent level can not be disputed.
1) Barrett Trotter- Quarterback 6’2” 207 Junior
It took most of fall practice, but Trotter was finally named the starter after an elongated battle with backup Clint Moseley. When asked about following Cam Newton, Trotter said he’s not filling shoes, rather skis.
An academic All-SEC member, Trotter appeared in only six games in 2010, entirely mop up work. Trotter has tremendous credentials following a storied high school career with 7,968 yards passing and 88 touchdowns. Trotter will have to overcome two knee injuries suffered while with the Tigers and the presence of super freshman quarterback Kiehl Frazier.
2) Trovon Reed- Wide Receiver 6’0” 183 Freshman (Redshirt)
The debut of Trovon Reed was delayed a year due to injury suffered in September against Clemson. Reed, the top player as a high school senior in Louisiana was among the top recruits of Auburn's 2010 class. Offensive Coordinator had/has big plays for Reed, from running wildcat quarterback, catching passes out of the slot and returning kicks.
A consensus top-50 player in high school, Reed is so athletic he served as a defensive back in the US Army All-American bowl due to injury. Reed has flashed electric ability during Fall practice and will be a key part of the Auburn Tigers' attack.
3) Jeffrey Whitaker- Defensive Tackle 6’4” 312 Sophomore
While Auburn suffered losses across the board, the hardest hit position has to be defensive tackle.
Defensive Coordinator Ted Roof lost his top three DT’s, including Lombardi Trophy winner Nick Fairley.
Fortunately for the Tigers, Whitaker received invaluable experience as part of the two deep as a true
freshman in ‘10. Whitaker appeared in all 14 games last season, posting seven tackles. Whitaker
was arguably the most important recruit in the 2010 class with Auburn’s senior laden interior defensive line. Whitaker moves from understudy to leader of a young but talented group.
4) Jake Holland- Middle Linebacker 6’1” 235 Sophomore
Like many of his 2011 teammates, Holland has some huge shoes to fill in departed three year starter
Josh Bynes. As Bynes now learns from Ray Lewis on the Baltimore Ravens, Holland is expected to take over the leadership role in the middle of the Tigers defense.
As a true freshman, Holland played in nine games with a dozen tackles. Holland was an absolute tackling machine in high school with 351 tackles in his career. Holland will be counted on to steady a young defense during the brutal October portion of the schedule.
5) T’Sharvan Bell- Cornerback 6’0” 180 Junior (Redshirt)
Bell has already secured a place in Auburn folk lore after a huge sack and forced fumble of Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy in last year’s historic comeback win in the Iron Bowl. Bell’s role grew as the season wore on last season, picking off a pass for a score in the SEC Championship game blowout of South Carolina and starting and posting five tackles in the BCS National Championship win over Oregon.
With CB Neiko Thorpe moving to safety and CB Demond Washington now in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs, Bell will provide leadership to a younger, but more talented group of defensive backs.
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