Auburn Football: Players Who Will Shine Under Gus Malzahn

Richard Langford@@noontide34Correspondent IMarch 8, 2013

Dec 1, 2012; Jonesboro, AR, USA; Arkansas State Red Wolves head coach Gus Malzahn during the game against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders at ASU Stadium. Arkansas State defeated Middle Tennessee 45-0. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Gus Malzahn was hired to take over head coaching duties at Auburn to turn around an offense that had completely sputtered since he left as its coordinator at the end of 2011.  

The Tigers finished 116th in passing yards and 80th in rushing yards last season, but they aren't without talent. It will be Malzahn's job to get the most out of that talent. 

This is something he has always been able to do. Where he goes, offensive success follows. So, in light of that, here are three players who are ready for big years. 


Sammie Coates, WR

In all likelihood, Sammie Coates will be the main outside receiver for the Tigers. He certainly has the body for it at 6'2", 200 pounds.

Last year, as a freshman, he caught just six passes for 114 yards. He was able to turn two of those six catches into touchdowns.

Coates has the ability to get deep. He has good ball skills, excellent leaping ability and solid hands. This also makes him a nice red-zone target.

Coates will get a bunch of targets next year and he will produce.  


Cameron Artis-Payne, RB

For all the flash and spread of Malzahn's offense, at it's core, it is a power-running attack. This will work out just fine for JUCO transfer Cameron Artis-Payne.

Artis-Payne has the body to take the pounding of a power system. He is 5'11" and 210 pounds. In his 2012 junior college season, he rushed for 25 touchdowns and 2,048 yards. 

Artis-Payne is going to make the starting back position his own, and he will produce. That is what backs do in Malzahn's system. In his seven years at the collegiate level, Malzahn's teams have had nine rushers go over 1,000 yards. 


Trovon Reed, WR

Coates won't be able to handle all the receiving duties on his own, and he won't need to. Trovon Reed will finally start to live up to some of the lofty expectations that accompanied him to Auburn. 

Reed, who will be a junior next season, caught 21 passes for 161 yards as a freshman, and then actually took a step back last year as he caught just nine balls for 121 yards. 

He will make up for lost time this season. 

At 6'1" and 190 pounds, Reed is a natural receiver who simply needs a chance to shine. Malzahn will be more than happy to give that to him.