Auburn’s defensive front took a huge hit on Tuesday when head coach Bryan Harsin announced that senior defensive tackle Tyrone Truesdell is no longer with the program.
In January, former starting defensive tackle Daquan Newkirk left Auburn for the University of Florida.
With two of the four starting defensive linemen spots up for grabs, junior edge Derick Hall gave his thoughts on who could be filling those rolls.
Hall, one of the more experienced players on Auburn’s defense, immediately pointed to newcomers like Tony Fair and Eku Leota as players to watch.
Fair, a graduate transfer from UAB, was a recipient of praise from Hall. Fair played his last two seasons for the Blazers and enters Auburn as a senior. Fair is listed as a 6-foot-1 and 330-pound defensive tackle who has impressed his teammates with the way he uses his size to his advantage.
"Tony came in, everybody said he was good, but when I looked at him, he’s pretty big," Hall said. "I didn’t think he could move as well as he does. He’s quick. He’s got tremendous speed for his size. So just the way he moves and just his ability to shed blocks and move tackles and just the way he conducts himself on the field, he definitely knows how to play football. I think he’s doing really well.”
Another linemen Hall wants fans to watch for is the Northwestern transfer Leota. Leota came to Auburn as a junior and plays Hall’s position of edge. Leota is 6-foot-4, 250 pounds and earned third-team all-Big Ten honors in 2020.
“Leota is a great guy and a great player,” Hall said. “He works really hard. He is going to provide a lot for us. He comes in every day and just goes to work. I think he will be very beneficial to us in the pass rush.”
As a group, Hall expressed his confidence in the defense no matter who ends up in the starting rolls. With the season only 25 days away, Hall thinks the progress his newer teammates have made have set the team up for success.
“Coming into fall camp, our big emphasis was developing pass rushing,” Hall said. “I think the guys that came in are really good at their technique. I think this is going to be really good for us when the time is needed.”
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