During the preseason, Auburn's running backs coach predicted that Ben Tate would be a 1,000 yard rusher. His prediction was correct and Tate rushed for over 1,000 yards in the 2009 season. Tate has also been the leading rusher for the Tigers for the past three years as a starter.
So who will succeed Tate? There are a few candidates to choose for the job. Redshirt freshman Dontae Aycock has caught the eyes of a few coaches during bowl practice, when some of the young players got to get some reps in. He will get a chance to show what he can do during spring practice.
Another candidate for the job could be Mario Fannin. Fannin has seen a lot of the field at different positions this year, and has been an asset to the team. Fannin provides the role of a power back, but shows good speed as well, and the ability to make people miss.
Onterrio McCalebb and Eric Smith might be considered, but Smith could stay useful at the H-Back spot and McCalebb needs to add a few more pounds to be an every down back.
The Tigers are looking to bring in Michael Dyer, ESPN's number one running back in the 2010 recruiting class. He has already committed and looks good to sign with the Tigers in February, but the another top back, Marcus Lattimore is also considering the Tigers.
So it might not be hard to find a replacement for Tate, but it won't be easy either.