|Coach Rodney Gardner being congratulated by Gus Malzahn. photo from AuburnTigers.com|
I have probably said it a thousand times, recruiting is the life's blood of any college football program. With national signing day for 2016 in the rear view mirror, the coaches can shift gears and focus on developing these new recruits. The time spent this spring and through the summer will be about producing a championship caliber football team.
Superlatives abound when describing the newest members of the Auburn football team. Many believe the Tigers signed one of, if not, the top Wide Receiver classes in the country. Nothing however tops Auburn's defensive line class of 2016.
Coach Rodney Garner "did an excellent job of holding this defensive class together" coach Malzahn stated in his post signing day press conference.
The Tigers got a huge boost in January when Montravius Adams and Carl Lawson both announced they would not declare for the NFL Draft.
Combined the new recruits with the players already on campus, and the early enrolled players, this could be the best and most talented group of defensive linemen in a single season in the history of Auburn football. Those currently on campus including the early enrollees:
Prince Tega Wanogho
Antwuan Jackson Jr.
Defensive linemen joining the team for the summer practices and fall camp are:
The AUfficial website roster shows Paul James III as a Linebacker, even though his recruiting pages list him as a defensive lineman. James III is currently enrolled and on campus.
What can we expect from this group? This could be the year we see Auburn defensive linemen are winning games and choking down opposing offenses. Everything, and I mean everything starts with your defensive line, when it comes to disrupting a good offense. A very recent example of that was Super Bowl 50.
We all know that Carolina had a terrific offense, with a very talented Quarterback. Yet, the Denver Bronco defensive line disrupted and harassed the Carolina offense so much, the Panthers couldn't run their normally efficient scheme.
I'm not saying that Auburn's defensive line will be as good as the Broncos, but the same effect on opposing SEC offenses could very well be witnessed next season.
We have been hoping and praying for a really good defense at Auburn for a decade now. The 2016 Auburn Tiger defense will be the answer to those prayers.