With National Signing Day coming upon the college football world, some fans like to know where their teams stand in direct replacements. For Auburn fans, the list of players who must be replaced is very long this year.
First and foremost, Auburn will not get to the 85-scholarship limit this year, as it has faced attrition that exceeded the 25 scholarships they can give out for 2011. As this is the case, Auburn will be able to pull in a full class if it feels the need.
Shon Coleman, a 5-star offensive lineman, was unable to join the 2010 class as he fought cancer. The prognosis is good for him, and he is currently enrolled in school. It is expected that he will need a year to rehabilitate and heal before he will compete for playing time on the football team.
Due to the circumstances, the Auburn staff has applied with the NCAA to allow Shon to count toward the 2012 recruiting class. This would allow him to recuperate from his illness and not lose a year of eligibility.
Let us take a look at what players Auburn must replace for 2011:
Cameron Newton (quarterback)
Kodi Burns (receiver)
Darvin Adams (receiver)
Terrell Zachery (receiver)
Lee Ziemba (offensive line)
Ryan Pugh (offensive line)
Mike Berry (offensive line)
Byron Isom (offensive line)
Antoine Carter (defensive end)
Nick Fairley (defensive tackle)
Zach Clayton (defensive tackle)
Craig Stevens (outside linebacker)
Josh Bynes (interior linebacker)
Zach Etheridge (safety)
Demond Washington (cornerback, return specialist)
Significant Backups: Offense
Mario Fannin (all purpose back)
Bart Eddins (offensive line)
Jorrell Bostrom (offensive line)
Significant Backups: Defense
Michael Goggins (defensive end)
Mike Blanc (defensive tackle)
Aairon Savage (safety)
Likely Replacements: Offense
Junior Barrett Trotter and sophomore Clint Moseley will likely be the top two candidates.
Keihl Frazier is the replacement committed in the 2011 recruiting class.
Running Back: All-Purpose
Sophomore Michael Dyer will start at this position in 2011. With 30 to 40 touches per game allotted for this position, there is a need for at least two more dependable all-purpose backs. Tre Mason and Brent Calloway are expected to challenge for some of those carries in 2011. If these two incoming freshmen can produce at least 10 quality carries per game, the Auburn rushing attack should not miss a beat in 2011.
Running Back: Scat Back
Junior Onterio McCalebb will start at scat back in 2011. He has contributed a steady seven to eight quality carries per game for 50 yards. There is a severe need for one more scat back in the lineup. It is expected that incoming freshman Quan Bray could challenge to provide a few more carries from this position.
Redshirt freshman Trovon Reed, junior Emory Blake, junior DeAngelo Benton, junior Travante Stallworth, senior Quindarius Carr, sophomore Antonio Goodwin, sophomore Shaun Kitchens and senior Dereck Winter are the leading candidates to compete for a position on the two-deep rotations.
Auburn plays as many as eight receivers per game in the rotation. This is a position of need for the 2011 recruiting class.
Kris Frost is a very talented athlete who has committed to the 2011 class. He will likely be tried out at receiver and linebacker or safety to see which position fits him best.
Quan Bray is another very talented athlete who will likely be tried out at receiver and running back to see which position best matches his skills.
Jaylon Denson is a very talented receiver and will push for playing time in 2011.
Sammie Coates could well be the sleeper in this receiving class. He has the skill to be a star at Auburn with a little hard work. He comes in from a small school and is very underrated.
Starting H-Back/Tight End
Junior Philip Lutzenkirchen, senior Eric Smith and redshirt freshman Ladarius Phillips are expected to challenge for starting roles at this position. This is a very important position in the Malzahn offense and Auburn would like to have five dependable players at this position. Eric Smith and Ladarious Phillips will likely fill the fullback playing time.
With Philip Lutzenkirchen being the only tight end, there is a need for three more players at this position. Sophomore Robert Cooper might be ready to contribute, but this leaves two more open slots for playing time.
Brandon Fulse is expected to get some playing time in the Malzahn offense in 2011.
CJ Uzomah is a multi-talented athlete that is expected to get playing time in 2011.
Starting Offensive Line
Senior Brandon Mosley, senior A.J. Green, sophomore Blake Burgess, junior John Sullen, senior Jared Cooper, redshirt freshman Eric Mack, redshirt freshman Chad Slade, redshirt freshman Tunde Faryike, redshirt freshman Ed Christian and sophomore Andre Harris will battle it out in the spring for these open positions.
Auburn would like to play more offensive linemen if it can step up and deliver. The fast pace of the offense can better be implemented with sufficient substitution during a game. It is expected that 10 offensive linemen at a minimum will contribute in 2011. Expect some true freshmen to challenge for playing time.
Reese Dismukes is already enrolled and will participate in spring practice. He is expected to earn playing time in 2011 at center along with Blake Burgess.
Christian Westerman is projected to be ready to challenge for immediate playing time when he arrives on campus for summer practice.
Thomas O'Reilly is already on campus and with a lot of hard work should challenge for playing time in 2011.
Greg Robinson will need to work hard on strength and conditioning before arriving on campus for summer practice, but he could challenge for playing time if he does.
Auburn really needs one more solid offensive lineman in this class.
Likely Replacements: Defense
Starting Defensive Tackles
Sophomores Jeffrey Whitaker and Kenneth Carter and juniors Jamar Travis and Derrick Lykes will compete for the five-man rotation openings. It is expected that some true freshmen will see playing time at this position in 2011.
Angelo Blackson is the very definition of the player Coach Tracy Rocker looks for. He is quick, strong and has the ability to play at a high level of intensity on every down. He was a Division I basketball prospect as well. Expect him to earn playing time with hard work in 2011.
While most are projecting Gabe Wright to Tennessee, my projection is that he will be an Auburn Tiger. He is another of the type of player that Coach Rocker is looking for. Should Gabe Wright become a Tiger, he will challenge for playing time in 2011.
Starting Defensive Ends
Sophomores Corey Lemonier, Nosa Eguae and Craig Sanders; juniors Dee Ford and Joel Bonomolo and redshirt freshman Justin Delanie are expected to compete for the five-man rotation for this position.
It will be difficult, but not impossible for a true freshman to break into the five-man rotation in 2011.
Devaunte Sigler is eventually projected to play inside, but he is so athletic he could challenge for playing time at defensive end or even linebacker in his freshman year. He has a very high playing motor and will eventually have a big impact at Auburn if he works hard.
Kemiya Harrell has a ton of potential and could challenge for playing time in 2011, but it is likely a redshirt year would increase his chances tremendously. He projects as a very active special team’s player as well.
Jabrian Niles, with some hard work on technique, has the size and strength to challenge for playing time this season.
Juniors Jonathan Evans and Daren Bates, senior Eltoro Freeman, sophomores Jake Holland and Harris Gaston and redshirt freshman Ladarius Owens will compete for the open positions at linebacker. Sophomore Jessel Curry and Jawara White could also compete if off-field distractions are cleared for them this year.
Chris Landrum is likely to earn playing time at middle linebacker this year.
Justin Garrett is likely to earn playing time at outside linebacker this year.
Anthony Swain, Kris Frost and Brent Calloway could find a home at this position if their primary position does not work out. There is also some indication that one defensive end might be moved to linebacker as his abilities project better for that position.
Senior Mike McNeil, sophomore Demetruce McNeal and junior and Ikeem Means will compete for the starting positions.
Expect some true freshmen to get ample playing time at this position. Auburn would like to use a five-man rotation at safety with two regulars at each position and one all purpose safety.
Robensen Therezie projects as a corner or safety and it seems likely that he will challenge for playing time in 2011 at one of these positions.
Anthony Swain projects as a safety or outside linebacker. He seems more likely to challenge for playing time at outside linebacker this year.
Erique Florence has not committed to Auburn just yet. Should he commit to Auburn this year, a likely challenge for playing time will follow. He should be a Tiger next season.
Junior T’Sharvan Bell, senior Neiko Thorpe and sophomore Chris Davis should challenge for a starting spot in 2011. Redshirt freshman Jonathon Mincy could also challenge if off-field distractions are cleared up for him.
Auburn would like to have six dependable corners ready to play in 2011. Expect for true freshmen to get playing time at this position.
Jonathan Rose is expected to immediately challenge for playing time.
Marcus Roberson is currently committed to Coach Tommy Tuberville’s Texas Tech Red Raiders, but expect him to become a Tiger for next season. If he does indeed commit to Auburn, he is expected to immediately challenge for playing time.
Most would agree that the Auburn staff has once again done a spectacular job of filling the Auburn Tigers' needs with recruiting. It is likely that Auburn will once again finish within the top-five classes in all three major recruiting service rankings.
For those who love to star gaze and compare class rankings, it can be fun to see how your team compares when approaching National Signing Day 2011.