Hugh Freeze knew that the Auburn Tigers roster needed some improvements, and he rebuilt the Auburn offense by utilizing the transfer portal. According to 247Sports, the Tigers are currently second behind Florida State in the transfer portal rankings. While both sides of the ball needed major improvement, today we take a look at the Auburn Tigers transfer portal additions on offense.
Auburn Tigers Transfer Portal Additions on Offense
Replacing a Tank
To no surprise to anyone, superstar running back Tank Bigsby announced he would be entering the NFL Draft when the 2022 season concluded. Over his three seasons on the plains, Bigsby rushed for 2,903 yards and 25 touchdowns. Jarquez Hunter is the obvious leader to take over as the lead back, but he will need help. To add to the rush attack Auburn signed Brian Battie from South Florida. The former Bull was third in the AAC in 2022 with 1,186 yards on a team that finished the season 1-11. Battie found the endzone eight times with a 6.7 yards per carry average. He was at his best in the final five games of the season, averaging 138.6 yards per game and having four touchdowns. Battie is also very effective in the kick return game. In 2021 he had 650 yards on returns for three touchdowns, and in the past season accumulated 659 yards.
Auburn will return their top two receivers from 2022 in Ja’Varrius Johnson and Koy Moore, but the group still needs help. Johnson caught 26 passes for 493 yards and more had 20 catches for 314 yards. The two combined only found the endzone four times. That is not all on them though, with the passing game struggling on all fronts in 2022. The Tigers will be getting much-needed help in Cincinnati transfer Nick Mardner. He did not have a great season with the Bearcats only catching 19 passes for 218 yards and three touchdowns. He did however put up solid numbers in 2021 with Hawaii. During that season, Mardner caught 46 passes for 913 yards and five touchdowns. The big number was his 19.8 yards per catch average. His huge 6-6, 215-pound frame could cause some positive matchups for the Auburn opponents.
Another Auburn transfer portal offense addition to the passing game is Florida International transfer Rivaldo Fairweather at tight end. Going into the 2022 season Auburn had good depth at the position with John Samuel Shenker, Luke Deal, and Tyler Fromm. Outside of Georgia, it might have been one of the better tight end rooms in the SEC. Deal and Fromm do return, but they are good at the number two spot not number one. With Shenker gone, Fairweather is a suitable replacement to lead the group. In 2022, the former Panther caught 28 passes for 426 yards and three touchdowns. In the final game of the season, he had eight catches for 152 yards and three scores. Fairweather will be a huge target for whoever plays quarterback for the Tigers.
Rebuilt offensive line
The most underrecruited and underdeveloped position from the past two coaching staffs has been the offensive line. That makes the Auburn transfer portal offense additions on the line the most important. The struggles at the line of scrimmage have been the major contributor to the struggling offense. Quarterback Robby Ashford or whoever was under center was met with constant pressure. Also despite talent at tailback, Auburn struggled to find a consistent running game at times. That could be changing now with Auburn signing three potential starters.
Freeze found the new starting center in Avery Jones from East Carolina. Jones has been a consistent starter over the past three seasons. 247Sports has Jones ranked third among players in the transfer portal at his position. Auburn also added two four-star tackles in Dillon Wade (Tulsa) and Gunner Britton (Western Kentucky). Wade started 16 games over the past two seasons, and Britton has 17 since 2019. Britton started all 14 games for the Hilltoppers in 2022. It was very important for Auburn to rebuild the offensive line, but with these signings, the Tigers bring in players with plenty of starts under their belts. These Auburn transfer portal offense additions could make for a successful 2023.