4 Freshmen Who Must Make An Impact For Auburn In 2016

The Auburn Tigers posted a disappointing 7-6 campaign last year that included a 2-6 SEC record. But the expectations are still high, even after a rough season. While the quarterback is a major question mark, the Auburn fan base expects the Tigers to push for the SEC West. For that to happen, the Tigers will need a few freshmen (both redshirt and true) to play key roles. With that in mind, here are four freshmen who must make an instant impact for Auburn Football in 2016. 

4. TE Landon Rice

Auburn didn't really use a tight end last year, but the true freshman Rice could be the true replacement for C.J. Uzomah, who left after the 2014-15 season. Rice and sophomore Jalen Harris are the only two options this year and both will play. Harris is the better blocker and played mostly on special teams last year. Rice offers more as a pass catcher and the Tigers would love to have an option at the position. Rice was a three-star recruit and the No. 8 player at his position. 

3. WR Nate Craig-Myers

Redshirt freshman Darius Slayton could also fill this role, but Auburn would much rather have the true freshman Craig-Myers step up. He didn't enroll early, which could hurt him, but the talent is there. A four-star WR, Craig-Myers was the No. 44 overall recruit this year and the No. 6 wide out. The Tigers are looking for a deep threat to replace Ricardo Louis, and Craig-Myers could be the answer. He'll battle with Slayton and senior Tony Stevens for a starting spot. 

2. CB Jamel Dean

Dean is the only redshirt freshman on this list, after he sat out last year. Originally committed to Ohio State, Dean was medically disqualified and was forced to sit out his first year when he transferred to the Tigers just before the season started. At 6-foot-2, 205-pounds, he's built like an ideal NFL CB. He's a likely starter at one corner spot, although fellow redshirt freshman Javaris Davis will push him. Still, the Tigers are counting on Dean to play like a lockdown corner. 

1. DE Marlon Davidson

Davidson was one of the gems of the Tigers' recruiting class this year and he's already in line to be a starter after enrolling early. A four-star recruit, Davidson was the No. 30 overall prospect and No. 4 at his position. He'll be counted on to be the pass rushing threat the Tigers thought they would get out of Byron Cowart last year. He was a five-star recruit and No. 3 overall, but struggled in his freshman year and is now behind Davidson. For the sake of the Auburn pass rush, Davidson needs to make a serious impact opposite Carl Lawson. 

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