With Sal Cannella, Will Hastings, Jay Jay Wilson, Zach Farrar, Jashawn Sheffield and Marquis McClain gone, and Matthew Hill at defensive back, Auburn fans will see some new faces lined up at wide receiver this year.
The Tigers brought in four 4-star receivers and one 3-star receiver in the class of 2020, according to 247Sports composite rankings.
The group consists of Kobe Hudson, Ze’Vian Capers, J.J. Evans, Elijah Canion and Malcolm Johnson Jr., who reclassified from the class of 2021 and began practicing with Auburn this week.
They’ll join a veteran group made up of Seth Williams, Anthony Schwartz, Eli Stove and Shedrick Jackson along with redshirt freshman Ja’Varrius Johnson.
Also in the group is former Howard quarterback Caylin Newton who has impressed the group thus far in fall camp.
“He looks very natural as a receiver,” Anthony Schwartz said last week. “I thought he was a receiver beforehand, you would think, just based on how he’s been practicing so far.”
Head coach Gus Malzahn has a track record with the Newton family, so Newton’s strong fall camp hasn’t surprised him.
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“Yeah, there’s no doubt he’ll be able to help us out,” Malzahn said. “It doesn’t surprise me at all, but he’s stepped right in. He studies the game, and he’s been very physical too. I’ve just been so impressed with his attitude, his physicality, and really, probably more than anything, his want-to. He’s desperate to help the team.”
While Williams, Schwartz and Stove were the three leading receivers on the team last year, Auburn will need its newcomers to step up and fill some of the empty voids.
Thus far, the newcomers have impressed the veterans, and Schwartz says they remind him of their freshmen class in 2018 when Schwartz, Williams, Hill and Jackson all came in.
“They gonna come in and contribute,” Williams said on Wednesday. “They big, explosive guys just like they really go out there and get after it.”
Even with his first day of practice coming just a few weeks before Auburn football kicks off its season, Williams still expects Johnson to see the field this season.
“He’s still getting acclimated into things, but I seen him run the other day, he fast too,” Williams said. “We gonna be able to use him in a lot of ways too.”
“I feel like all the freshmen receivers got a chance to play this year.”
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