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Auburn Tigers Running Back Depth

As the Auburn Tigers begin Spring practice, many fans and media are paying attention to what happens at the quarterback position. One group on this roster that should have full confidence of the Auburn faithful is the running back room. The Tigers running back depth is one of the best in the SEC. They also have a lot of experience. The team ranked fourth in the SEC last season with 189 rushing yards per game. Quarterback Payton Thorne was a big part of the rushing attack with 515 yards and ranked second on the team. Robby Ashford contributed with five touchdowns, but he transferred after the season to South Carolina.

The unit will have a new position coach with Derrick Nix replacing Carnell “Cadillac” Williams. Nix will also serve as offensive coordinator, and Williams moved on to the NFL as the running backs coach for the Las Vegas Raiders.

Auburn Tigers Running Back Depth

Jarquez Hunter

The Tigers got great news following the 2023 season that Jarquez Hunter would be returning for another season on the plains. Last season, Hunter rushed for 909 yards and seven touchdowns. Hunter started the season suspended due to some off-the-field issues and got off to a slow start when returning to the lineup. He did not rush for over 60 yards until a 91-yard performance in a 28-21 loss to Ole Miss on October 21st. Hunter followed that up with three straight games of 100 yards or more in games against Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, and Arkansas, The Tigers were undefeated in those games. He closed out the regular season with 93 yards in the heartbreaking loss to Alabama. Hunter should look to break 1,000 yards this season with an effective complete season.

Damari Alston

While Hunter was sidetracked early with a suspension and slow play, Damari Alston was hampered by injury. He only totaled 320 yards in 2023 with two touchdowns on just 64 carries. On the positive side, he did average five yards per attempt. He was sidelined early in a loss versus Texas A&M in September and did not see action again for a month due to a hurt shoulder. Alston played well in the Iron Bowl with 85 yards on ten carries with one touchdown. He is an explosive player who when healthy gives the Tigers a dynamic option on offense.

Brian Battie

The South Florida transfer from a year ago seemed to flirt with the idea of playing elsewhere but eventually decided to stay at Auburn. Brian Battie struggled like most of the offense and rushed for 227 yards and one touchdown. In 2022 as a South Florida Bull, he rushed for 1,186 yards and eight touchdowns. Battie is not expected to be the number one running back, but getting back to his South Florida form is possible. His most productive games for the 2023 season were a 42-yard performance against Arkansas where he scored his lone rushing touchdown of the season. Battie rushed for 59 yards against Texas A&M after the Alston injury. If Auburn utilized his return ability to the way he was used at South Florida, he could help out the offense with great field position.

Jeremiah Cobb

Last season anytime Jeremiah Cobb touched the football it seemed like good things always happened. As the fourth running back and fifth leading rusher, Cobb totaled 172 yards and two touchdowns. Cobb showed great explosiveness with a 42-yard run against UMass in the opener. He also rushed for 69 yards against LSU and scored a touchdown in the Music City Bowl against Maryland. It is a big spring and off-season for Cobb to move up the depth chart.

The Last Word

We have tackled the quarterback question, and the running back room which brings us into March.  We are also another day closer to Spring ball on the Plains.  Be sure to check back with us as we continue our coverage of Auburn Tigers football.

Photo Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports


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