Big things happening on the Plains?

Caleb Suggs

Hartselle Enquirer

For Auburn fans, the 2016 season was a roller coaster ride that was so rough it might have caused whiplash. The Tigers started the season 1-2 with narrow losses to Clemson and Texas A&M. An emotional win against Lsu then sparked a six game win streak for the Tigers, including a 56-3 beatdown of Arkansas, that put them at a number eight ranking and a chance at a possible SEC and National Championship berth. Then the injuries hit. The SEC’s leading rusher Kamryn Pettway was knocked out with an injury against Vanderbilt and then quarterback Sean White suffered a shoulder injury during the Georgia game. The Bulldogs went on to beat the handicapped Auburn team 13-7 thanks to a pick six from, ironically, Alabama transfer Maurice Smith. Two weeks later and Alabama made quick work of Auburn when it was clear the Tigers could not function without Sean White.

However, while the season’s end was not what Tiger fans were hoping for, the news Auburn has gotten since has only gotten better. Auburn will be playing in the Sugar Bowl this year and just this past weekend Auburn received a commitment from Jarrett Stidham the number one Juco Prospect/Quarterback in the country. Stidham transferred from Baylor this past spring in the wake of the Art Briles firing. Stidham started three games as a true freshman in 2015, against Kansas State, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, and he proceeded to throw for over 900 yards and six touchdowns in those games. Many analysts see Stidham as the final piece to the puzzle that Auburn is missing. Inconsistent quarterback play and depth has plagued the Tigers the past two seasons. Sean White has been good but has not shown the ability to stay healthy. Stidham brings star power to the position or at the very least someone who will force White to raise his level of play. The Tigers will also have 2016 four star Woody Barrett and could possibly add 2017 four star Lowell Narcisse.

Next year the Tigers will return the bulk of their team especially on offense. Freshmen and sophomores accounted for over 80% of the Tiger’s offense this season. The majority of players from the Tiger’s top five SEC defense will also be back. Auburn is still in the shadow of Alabama, who will also return many players next year, right now and will remain there until the Tigers knock off the Tide. However, it is looking like the state of Alabama could field the two best teams in the SEC next year and if all things go according to plan, next year’s Iron Bowl could be on for the ages.

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