Tag Archives: Marlon Davidson

Auburn: No Need to Curb Your Enthusiasm

I just completed reading an article written by my friend, and co-host of the SEC 411 podcast, Seth Merenbloom. Seth is also an editor here at Campus Pressbox. I have a great deal of respect for his opinions on sports, in general, and on the SEC, in particular.

But I am going to have to part ways with my colleague on this one. He is of the opinion that Auburn is overrated. This piece from SEC Country deals with the Sports Illustrated prediction of Auburn as the number 10 team in the country. The column also mentions the Tigers as CBS Sports’ pick as number nine in the preseason.

The only poll we have at this point belongs to the coaches. Auburn ranks 13th there.

Let’s pause for a moment and reconsider the fact that all of this is merely talk, opinion, conjecture. Teams have begun practice all across the land but no one has played a single game just yet.

But talk is what we rabid fans do this time of year in the dog days of summer. The actual games begin on August 26th and the first game in the SEC, Florida A&M at Arkansas, follows on August 31st.

Back to Auburn and my take on the matter. I am with CBS Sports. I would put Auburn in the number nine slot. Also, I would precede my Tigers with 1. Clemson (I am of the old school opinion that the number one team from the previous year remains numero uno until/if they are defeated during the upcoming campaign. See September 9, Auburn at Clemson) 2. Alabama 3. Ohio State 4. Washington 5. Florida State 6. Penn State 7. Oklahoma 8. Southern Cal.

I would put Michigan at 10.

And I do my rankings based on how strong I foresee teams. I don’t take into account schedules, conferences, etc. I ask myself, “How good is this team in relation to the other teams in the FBS? How strong are they overall? What if this team played ‘X’ on a neutral field?”

Now, here is my reasoning on Auburn’s ranking as a top ten team.

Auburn returns seven starters on the defensive side of the ball, including its three top tacklers. Carl Lawson and Montravius Adams must be replaced but there is a ton of talent to go around on this surly defense.

Marlon Davidson is a beast and with help from the likes of Dontavius Russell, Derrick Brown, Tre Williams, Darrell Williams, DeShaun Davis, Carlton Davis and Tray Matthews, to name just a few, the D is stacked with top line SEC talent. There is also enough quality depth to make this unit as good or better than the 2016 group. And Kevin Steele is back as the coordinator. That’s big.

The offense should be lethal. We all know about Jarrett Stidham but the Tigers are three deep at quarterback with Sean White and Malik Willis. Running back? Loaded. Kamryn Pettway, Kerryon Johnson, Kam Martin, Malik Miller, and C.J Tolbert give Auburn a stable of horses second to none in the conference.

The offensive line is more talented and deep than it has been in years. Pat Dye thinks they have the potential to be as good as any since he began coaching at Auburn in 1981.

Wide receivers? Eli Stove, Darius Slayton, Nate Craig, Kyle Davis, Will Hastings, Ryan Davis, Marquis McClain and, now, John Franklin, will give Auburn very good talent and depth here.

Also, the tight end position should be much improved with Jalen Harris returning and transfer Sal Cannella, and his excellent hands, making this a position of strength.

Oh! Auburn has the best placekicker in the country in Daniel Carlson, as well.

The talent, experience, and depth is all in place down on the Plains. And, I think, Gus Malzahn has put together the complete and cohesive staff he has been looking for since he took over in 2013.

When you mix all of these ingredients together along with a great team chemistry and a hunger to win, I think you might be looking at a very special season down in the Loveliest Village.

I don’t think I can “Curb My Enthusiasm.”

2016 Prospectus: Defensive Ends

Defensive ends get the most attention of any lineman, offensive or defensive. But maybe they deserve it, considering they line up against the offenses’ best blocker, the tackle. One thing is for sure, the 2016 defensive ends are itching to get to college.

 Shavar Manuel (5*) IMG Academy, Bradenton, Florida

Status: Uncommitted   Height: 6-5   Weight: 260 lbs.

Shavar Manuel is our highest rated defensive end for three main reasons. First, his frame has the potential to be massively muscular. Secondly, he is one of those players that is an athlete in anything he does. Lastly, but most importantly, his closing speed is deadly. Before you can see him bull rushing you, Manuel has you on the ground. He has 0-100 speed while being 6-5 and 260 lbs, and that makes him the most dangerous defensive end recruit in the 2016 class. Manuel is not without his disadvantages though, like his overvalued hands, and mistaken dominance in the trenches. Shavar Manuel holds the potential to be a star in college once he gets some correct fundamental teaching at DE. Shavar Manuel is wanted most by Alabama and Florida State, but University of Miami is on his radar too.

Prediction: Florida State

 Nick Bosa (5*) St. Thomas Aquinas, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Status: Uncommitted   Height: 6-4   Weight: 265 lbs.

Nick Bosa is a monster; it’s as simple as that. One of the top recruits in the country, Bosa comes from a football family. His brother, Joey, plays for Ohio State, and won a national championship last year, while his father competed in the NFL. If there’s one thing we can extrapolate from Nick’s pedigree, it is that he knows how to play the game of football. He knows that it takes more mental toughness than it does physical toughness, and for that reason, Bosa is a highly coveted recruit. Bosa’s ability to get off the ball quickly, and use his hands to rip blocks are unrivaled by any recruit in the 2016 defensive end class. Alabama is pursuing the young defensive lineman with gusto, but Ohio State leads by a mile right now. I can’t see Bosa ending up anywhere but OSU.

Prediction: Ohio State

 Marlon Davidson (5*) Carver High School, Montgomery, Alabama

Status: Uncommitted   Height: 6-4   Weight: 260 lbs.

This guy is big in every sense of the word. He plays, tackles and looks big. Marlon Davidson has an edge about him that will translate well to the next level. He doesn’t have any particular skills that set him apart from the rest of the class, but he does everything consistently well. If I had to choose a best attribute, it would be his pursuit of the ball. No matter which side of the field the ball ends up on, Marlon isn’t far behind, and is usually making the tackle. Marlon’s offer list is about 20 schools long, while Alabama, Auburn, and Georgia are among the frontrunners. Because he hails from Montgomery, it’s hard to imagine that Davidson doesn’t end up playing college football for the Tide or Tigers.

Prediction: Auburn

 Janarius Robinson (4*) Bay High School, Panama City, Florida

Status: Committed to FSU   Height: 6-5   Weight: 250 lbs.

Janarius Robinson has the prototypical defensive end prospect body. A tall, muscular player already, Robinson has little weight to gain to reach Division I playing weight. Because of his size, he will have no problem finding a program to play for. On top of his frame, Robinson sports moderate speed, but a propensity for hitting quarterbacks. His ability to stay disciplined on options, read options, and reverses is encouraging for any college coach. If he had one weakness, it would be his strength the second the ball is snapped. Instead of maintaining a low center of gravity until the hit is made, Robinson has a tendency to come up too quick. In high school, staying low isn’t necessary (due to the talent constraints), but in college, Robinson would get put on his back if he doesn’t stay low. Good news is, it’s easy to fix. Janarius Robinson is currently committed to the Seminoles, but has recently taken an extra visit to Alabama, and will take an unofficial visit to Tennessee tomorrow, for their spring game.

 Breland Brandt (4*) Windward School, Los Angeles, California

Status: Committed to UCLA   Height: 6-4   Weight: 220 lbs.

 Breland is a guy that probably won’t end up at defensive end in college. Brandt has the body type to be a smaller, quicker defensive end, but if he moved to linebacker, he could really be a star. If it were my choice, I would look at him at linebacker. Although he has some quality D-end skills, Brandt has more potential at linebacker. I say he wouldn’t translate well at defensive end for two main reasons; his lackluster hands and he doesn’t get a good first hit in the trenches. Brandt has more trouble than the average end getting through blocks, due to his hands not being as quick as they should. He also doesn’t get a good push off the ball, which is essential to being a good defensive end. The positive grounds for a change to linebacker are his overall agility, and his quick first step off the ball. Those two skills are reactionary abilities that can’t be taught. Breland Brandt is committed to UCLA, and as a Los Angeles native, his commit looks set in stone.