Talented running backs are nothing new when looking at the history of Auburn football. The Tigers have had running backs such as Bo Jackson, Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown suit up and succeed in the orange and blue.
From 2009-’17, Auburn and its running backs had a nine-season streak where a Tiger crossed the 1,000-yard mark carrying on the tradition and success that Auburn has had at the running back position.
Auburn freshman running back Tank Bigsby has a long way to go before he can even be mentioned in the same category as some of the program’s elite running backs, but the freshman they call Tank is rolling in the right direction.
Bigsby has 503 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns on 89 carries through the first six games. The true freshman’s five touchdowns have him tied for fifth on Auburn’s all-time freshman rushing touchdown leaderboard and only trailing the school record by four touchdowns.
The freshman does not just have a knack for finding the endzone, but also leads the Tigers in rushing yards and attempts this season.
While Bigsby has burst on the scene for Auburn this year as the statistical leader in the running back room, his success does not come as a shock to his high school head coach Pete Wiggins.
“Tank has always been a special ball player,” Wiggins said. “His effort is unmatched on the field, at practice and in the classroom. He always wanted to be the best at whatever he put his mind to.”
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Even before high school, Bigsby’s effort is always noticeable.
A partial reason for his nickname, Tank.
“The name comes from his aunt and his father; they just said he was like a tank,”said Tank’s mother, Shaquanna Bigsby. “He would just run care-free, running over stuff, run over everything.”
During his time at Callaway High School, Bigsby flashed his potential by rushing for 1,636 yards and 27 touchdowns in his senior year at Callaway. In his junior season, Bigsby rushed for 2,221 yards.
Outside of just raking up yardage, Bigsby received numerous honors and awards throughout high school. He was named the Class AA Offensive Player of the Year as a junior and participated in the Under Armour All-American game as a senior.
“Tank has always been a competitor,” Wiggins said. “He has always wanted to succeed, push those around him and he has always expected a lot out of himself. He runs so hard every time he touches the ball from snap to whistle.”
Now at Auburn, the same drive and high expectations that Bigsby has for himself have helped him succeed once again.
The true freshman’s first 100-yard outing came against Arkansas, and his streak of rushing for 100-yards continued for the next two games. Not only did he run for 100 yards in three straight games, but he did it exclusively against SEC competition.
Bigsby is one of three Auburn running backs to rush for 100 yards in three consecutive games against SEC opponents in a single season. He joins Bo Jackson and Michael Dyer in this group.
The running back has drawn comparison as the season has progressed, but the most common one is to his current running backs coach Cadillac Williams.
“People who talk to me compare him to Bo Jackson and Cadillac Williams,” Wiggins said. “I think he can be like them; he has all the physical tools. He is big, fast, smart and has the will to achieve extremely high goals.”
Following Auburn’s win against Arkansas and Bigsby’s first 100-yard game, Bigsby was asked about the comparisons between himself and Williams.
While the freshman appreciated it, he wants to be even better than his running backs coach.
“Coach Cadillac, that’s my man right there,” Bigsby said postgame. “Everything I do, he’s in my ear making sure I do everything right on the field and off the field. Seeing the comparison, though, I don’t really see myself like that. I don’t watch myself unless it’s film. But Coach Lac, I’ve seen Coach Lac play before, but of course, I try to beat all Coach Lac’s records.”
Bigsby’s time at Auburn is just beginning, and through the first six games he has impressed fans with his talent.
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