How will the Auburn Tigers replace Tank Bigsby?

auburn tank bigsby

How will the Auburn Tigers replace Tank Bigsby? That will be a question as the Tigers are in the midst of Spring practice that began on February 27th. Over the last three seasons, Bigsby rushed for 2,903 yards and 25 touchdowns. In 2021 he had his best season on the plains with 1,099 yards and ten touchdowns. It was the first 1,000-yard rushing season for an Auburn running back since 2017 when Kerryon Johnson rushed for 1,391 yards. It was a good career, but due to being on subpar Auburn teams, his career did not reach the level it could have.

The trio of head coach Hugh Freeze, running back coach Carnell Williams, and offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery will need to pinpoint the next featured back. Last May we had Bigsby as the best running back in the SEC going into the 2022 season. So, replacing that kind of talent will not be easy. We previously looked at the quarterbacks, and here is a look at what the running back room looks like for the Spring.

How Will the Auburn Tigers Replace Tank Bigsby?

Jarquez Hunter

Junior Jarquez Hunter should be the favorite to replace Tank Bigsby due to his experience and production over the last two seasons. Hunter has rushed for a total of 1,261 yards and 10 touchdowns playing behind and beside Bigsby in 2021 and 2022. He also showed the ability to be a threat as a receiver with 17 catches last season for 224 yards and two touchdowns. Hunter did play his best when Williams took over as interim head coach with a more concerted effort to utilize the running game.

Williams took over for the final four games, but Hunter shined in the final three. Against Texas A&M, Western Kentucky, and Alabama Hunter reached 100-plus yards in each game for 357 total yards. Hunter was a big-play threat for the Tigers averaging 9.6 yards per carry in those games. That included a 45-yard run against the Crimson Tide. Hunter will be expected to do that in year three, with a much bigger workload than before. In 2022, the most carries he had in a game was 13 against Texas A&M.

Brian Battie

While Auburn did not add a quarterback from the transfer portal, they were able to add Brian Battie to the backfield. He is one of the many big offensive additions the Tigers made in the portal under Freeze. The former South Florida Bull was one of the few bright spots on a 1-11 team in 2022. Battie rushed for 1,186 yards and eight touchdowns as one of the best backs in the AAC. He is a very dangerous player in the return game as well. In the last two seasons, he combined for 1,309 kick-off return yards and had three touchdowns in 2021. If paired with Hunter, the two would make a very versatile duo. Battie makes for a great second option to replace Tank Bigsby for the Auburn Tigers.

Damari Alston

Bigsby and Hunter were not the only running backs to see action in 2022. While not having many carries, Damari Alston showed some flashes of what he can be for the Tigers in the future. His biggest play of the season came in the second game of the season versus San Jose State. With Auburn down 3-0 early in the second quarter, Alston broke loose for a 35-yard run to put his team into opponent territory. That run would set up a touchdown by Hunter to put Auburn up 7-3. Alston was a four-star recruit in the 2022 class, and will be looking to be more than just the third running back. Alston would be a major underdog to replace Tank Bigsby for the Auburn Tigers.

auburn tank bigsby

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