A look at Auburn’s biggest position need for 2016 and how the Tigers are addressing it in recruiting:
Biggest need: It’s easy to blame the quarterback when the offense struggles. And in Auburn’s case, you can certainly put some of the blame for this past season on Jeremy Johnson and Sean White. Combined, they threw more interceptions than touchdowns.
But let’s not forget what they had to work with in the wide receiver department. Nobody emerged as that consistent go-to guy for Auburn this past year. Ricardo Louis had his moments, but he was inconsistent. D’haquille Williams was supposed to be that guy, but he struggled early and was kicked off the team midway through the season. There was no deep threat to stretch the field like Sammie Coates had done the past two years. And while former quarterback Nick Marshall might be severely underrated for what he accomplished while at Auburn, he’s not necessarily a better passer than Johnson or White. He just had Coates and a motivated Williams to throw the ball to.
Looking ahead to next year, the position looks even bleaker. The team's two leading receivers, Louis and Melvin Ray, were both seniors. That leaves Jason Smith, Marcus Davis and Tony Stevens as the only returning receivers who caught more than one pass, and of those three, none finished with more than 205 yards receiving on the year. Davis was second on the team with 30 receptions, but he only had 182 yards receiving.
Needless to say, Auburn is starved for playmakers on the outside, and there will be an opportunity for recruits to come in and play right away. -- Greg Ostendorf
Recruiting scoop: The Tigers are desperately looking for playmakers at the wide receiver position after Williams was kicked off the team last year and only one player, Louis, had more than 300 receiving yards. Louis also led all receivers with only three touchdown catches.
The good news for Auburn is the Tigers have done a tremendous job of recruiting wideouts in their 2016 recruiting class. The top-ranked wide receiver in the country, Kyle Davis, is already enrolled and on campus at Auburn and will be able to participate in spring football. The Tigers also have a commitment from Florida native Eli Stove, who is the 113th-ranked player in the ESPN 300, and three-star receiver Marquis McClain. The Tigers are hoping to round out their receiving class by adding ESPN 300 pass-catcher Nate Craig-Myers, who visited Auburn this past weekend. Even if Auburn is unable to land Craig-Myers, the Tigers have certainly addressed one of their biggest needs through recruiting. -- Derek Tyson