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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Thank You, Seniors 2014


A thank-you to the seniors has become a tradition for me. I think the first time I did it was in 2009. I don't know if the players ever read it, but it makes me feel good to think they might see it.  This group of seniors has been through so much. Coaching changes,  losing seasons, a trip to the Rose Bowl, loss of teammates and the highs of award-winning performances.  There have been bumps along the way, but they have represented Auburn with class and dignity.  I did put the list in alphabetical order in case any of the players want to read about themselves; it would make it easier to find. A special dedication is at the bottom to Jakell. It's little long because there are a lot of seniors this year. 

To all of the seniors- please keep in touch with your Auburn family.  It means a lot to go to a game and see former players visiting the team- on the sidelines with the younger players. Thank you for everything you did for Auburn. All of you had significant contributions. While the sun may be setting on your playing careers at Auburn, there is so much in store for you. We are so thankful to all of you for giving your time and heart to Auburn.



                               Picture courtesy of @tatershell from my personal collection


Niko Anthony: Players like you make a huge difference, even when you do not realize it.  The important thing is that you stuck it out and did not quit.  I just looked back at your major. I cannot imagine keeping to the practice and workout schedule with that kind of major. I know we are to expect great things from you in the future. Thank you for your dedication to Auburn.  Please keep in touch with the fans and the team/school.

Cameron Artis-Payne: From the A- day game on, you showed that you gave your best all of the time. You seemed to fit in immediately. You always spoke well in interviews. Thank you for coming to Auburn. It was an honor to cheer for you.  You seemed to take everything in stride.  It was a lot of fun to watch you run. You have a quiet leadership that truly shows. Thank you for your dedication to Auburn. I look forward to meeting you at the Senior Bowl. I also look forward to hearing great things about you in the future. War Eagle!

Angelo Blackson: I like your name. My mom noticed it right away when you first started at Auburn. She had a friend named Angelo. He was a legendary track coach and he died a few years ago. So she naturally paid extra attention to you.  It was a joy to watch you play. Thank you so much for coming to Auburn. Thanks for all of your hard work and dedication.  I look forward to hearing about you in the future. War Eagle!

Ben Bradley: I am so glad you decided to come to Auburn. You were a quieter player, but you still made plenty of contributions. Thank you for all you have done for Auburn. Your hard worked showed. My brother-in-law and I enjoyed watching you make some nice tackles.  We look forward to hearing  great things about you in the future. I hope you stay in touch with your Auburn family. War Eagle!

Quan Bray: You are the definition of an Auburn man. Your career at Auburn started with the worst possible thing happening, but you never let it stop you. You worked hard, never quit and put your focus on the positive things. Thank you. I was so happy to see you run that return all the way back for a touchdown! We are all so proud of you. It was an honor to have you on my prayer list this year.  Thank you for everything you did at Auburn. I know we are going to see great things from you in the future.  Proud to call you a member of the AU family. War Eagle!

Sammie Coates: It has been an absolute honor to watch you play. Since your time at Leroy, you have grown as an athlete and as a man. To see you support your coaches, teammates and friends is an amazing thing. I love to see you taking pictures with kids.  The relationship you developed with Kenzie is also something amazing to see. I have been so proud to root for you. I know there are great things in store for you. Your leadership on and off the field is something that cannot be easily replaced. Your work ethic will be something that has a lasting effect on your teammates. I am excited to see you at the Senior Bowl. Please make sure you keep in touch with your Auburn family and the team. Thank you for everything you have done at Auburn.

Reese Dismukes:  I have watched you play since high school. I am so very proud of the player, person, and leader that you have become. Auburn has rarely had a player that has been as dedicated. No, it wasn't perfect. So much has happened while you were  at Auburn but you didn't let that stop you. You kept at it and became one of the most prolific players Auburn has had. Congratulations on the Rimington Trophy. No one deserved it like you did. Thank you for your dedication to Auburn. I cannot wait to see you at the Senior Bowl. I hope you keep in touch with the Auburn family and program. Come back and visit when you can.  War Eagle!

Brandon Fulse:  There are some things that trip us up in life. I know you were close with Philip. He would have been proud of you this year. You made some great grabs and continued the line of tight ends at Auburn. Thanks for your dedication and time to Auburn. I look forward to seeing great things from you in the future. War Eagle.

Corey Grant: I remember the first time I saw you run a longer run. I thought you must have a gear that other humans don't have. I was rooting for a TD in the Iron Bowl so much for you!  I am glad you came 'home' to Auburn to play for us. Thank you for your time and dedication to Auburn. I enjoyed rooting or you the last couple of years. Visit often! We will miss you. War Eagle!

Forrest Hill: I know you probably think your position is not noticed, but it is. You've been very steady. We seldom heard your name, so you know you did your job. We are DEFINITELY going to miss that! I know it's been and up and down career, but you stuck it out.  Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication. It has been noticed and appreciated. Thank you so much for everything you did.  Please stay in touch and come back and visit Auburn often. War Eagle!

Brandon King:  Thank you for your dedication to Auburn.  I am glad you came to us. The 2013 season was something to be treasured.  You were a huge part of that  season. You showed talent and poise on and off the field. I look forward to hearing great things about you in the future. Please keep in touch with the Auburn family.  Thank you for your time and dedication to Auburn. War Eagle!

Nick Marshall: I know some people do not believe in second chances, but I am glad our coach does. Thank you, Nick. You gave us the most exciting season ever possible in 2013. You are a quiet leader, but still a leader. See, I love a good 'restart' story. You did it.  I am so glad you came to Auburn.  I cannot wait to see what happens for you in the future. I know it will be great. Keep in touch with Auburn as you go on. We'll be glad to have you home to visit any day.  Thank  you for all of your hard work and dedication.

Johnathan Mincy: You became one heck of an interception grabber this year. Things got tough for you, but you just worked yourself back to the top. I like that never-quit attitude. Your high work ethic is one of the things that will have a lasting effect on the younger teammates. Thank you for everything you did for Auburn.  Keep up your great work in life. You are going to do well. Thank you for your dedication to Auburn.

LaDarius Owens: When you came, we knew you would be someone we could count on because it is in your blood. Not only did you represent Auburn well, you represented your family well. Your faith helped guide you as a leader on the team. You were a rock for the team. Thanks for everything you did for Auburn. Maybe one day your son or nephew will don the uniform too. I look forward to it! I look forward to hearing about you in the future. War Eagle!

Trovon Reed: If it doesn't work out in one spot, try something else. You never seemed upset that WR did not work out for you. In fact, you used your skills as a WR to snatch some interceptions. That is the mark of a winner and an Auburn man.  Thank you for your time and dedication to Auburn.  Keep up the hard work in your future endeavors. War Eagle!

Chad Slade:  It's hard to believe you're a senior! I remember reading about Thomas. The parents would often reflect on how happy you made him. I know it had to be terribly hard to watch him grow sicker, but you did not run away.  Thank you. Those things mean more than anything you could do on the field. You were pretty darn good at that too. Thank you for all you have done for Auburn. Thank you for the time, dedication, and hard work. It will pay off many fold. I know there are great things for you in the future. I cannot wait to hear about those things. War Eagle!

Robenson Therezie: Thanks for all of your hard work at Auburn. You stood out from the beginning. I will always think about you when I hear about the batman and robin play. You turned into quite the interception-grabber. I think my favorite was probably against Ole Miss in 2009. You showed poise on and off the field. Keep that up. It will be something in your life that will help you. Stay in touch with your Auburn family and come back anytime.  War Eagle!

CJ Uzomah: I have adored watching you play. My sister and I nicknamed you 'Oomie Zoomie'. We have an unusual last name as well. Philip would have been so proud of you this year. I know it wasn't easy for you. You were a LOT of fun to watch at media days. You know, you were like the start of the fight in 2013. When you caught that pass against MSU in 2013, it just got things rolling. You have been an amazing leader. It will be a loss for us without you. However, I know you invested in the younger fellas. Thank you for all of the laughs. Thanks for all of your time and dedication to Auburn.  Please keep in touch. You will be successful in whatever you do. War Eagle, CJ.

Jeff Whitaker:  What a trouper. Oh, the highs and lows you have been through. A national 
championship, bad seasons, coaching changes, loss of friends and teammates, and another trip to the national championship- plus multiple injuries. Only you could have made us laugh on the worst day as a member of the AU family. Your dedication to the team and university means more than you will ever know.  Thank you for your hard work, dedication, and leadership. Your investment in the team will last longer than your time at Auburn. We are all grateful of your hard work. Thank you for everything.  I know the future holds great things for you. I cannot wait to hear about it. War Eagle.

Jermaine Whitehead: We talked once for a little while. I do not know if you remember. I told you I knew where Greenwood was since I used to live in Hattiesburg and work in Lucedale. I have been rooting for you since then. When you weren't grabbing interceptions, you were working your tail off. Thank you. It means more than you know. I look forward to hearing good things 
about you in the future. Please keep in touch.  Come back and visit Auburn when you can.

Gabe Wright: You were also fun to watch at media days. Through all the ups and downs over the last few years, you have grow steadily. I am so proud to call you Auburn family. You were a clear leader on and off the field.  When you weren't in the backfield, you were helping younger players find their way. Thank you for your dedication and time you have to Auburn. I am excited about meeting you at the Senior Bowl!   War Eagle! Keep in touch and please visit often.

Jakell Mitchell: We did not really get the chance to get to know you very well. At the first game this season, I sat up a few rows from your family. To see them all in their 'dad of' and 'family of' shirts told me that you were going to be something special. I heard you were a workout warrior. I am sure that your dedication in the weight room and with workouts will be a legacy. Your teammates will remember. You will be missed. Thank you for your dedication to the team and to Auburn. We are really going to miss seeing you develop and grow up. War Eagle forever.



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