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A spirit that is not afraid

Freshman tight end Landen King has potential 'through the roof'

Derick Hall (29), Landen King (40)
Auburn practice on Monday, April 12, 2021 in Auburn, Ala.
Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics
Derick Hall (29), Landen King (40) Auburn practice on Monday, April 12, 2021 in Auburn, Ala. Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics

Freshman tight end Landen King may not be a name every Auburn fan knows. According to Auburn players, that should change. 

King is one of Auburn’s slew of tight ends, a position group that has not been used often in previous Auburn teams.

Just a freshman, King has plenty of upsides and untapped potential, and he has shown flashes during games. To defensive end Colby Wooden, he shows those flashes every day in practice. 

“Landen is stepping up,” Wooden said. “When you go from the scout team, and give our starting defense fits, it certainly goes noticed, which transfers to Saturdays and that is exactly what he is doing.” 

King is listed at 6-foot-5 and 214 pounds. He is by no means Auburn’s thickest tight end, but he certainly is explosive. He is the 2021 season version of J.J. Pegues: an untapped, raw talent that coaches know needs to find his specific role.

Against No. 17 Arkansas, King found his role as a third-down option. King, somewhat surprisingly, took the field for Auburn’s first third down and continued to run out for money-down packages throughout the game.

King had two catches for 23 yards against the Razorbacks. While many could say that stats don’t lie, in King’s case that game, they slightly do.

King had Auburn’s only drop against Arkansas, on a third-down play where the freshman found himself without a defender in sight. Then, on a later third down, King caught a pass in the flat and slipped before reaching the down marker. His only other catch went for 19 yards.

What's important about King? Well, quarterback Bo Nix is trying to find him.

On his 19-yard catch, King moved the sticks on third down that ended up in an Auburn score. The offense is trying to get King involved. 

“As the season went on in practice, he started to come out of his shell, and then he started making big catches in practice,” said offensive guard Brandon Council. “Big catches turned into big catches in games, which he had a couple catches in games. I think all that translates.”

For the year, King has four catches for 54 yards. His stat totals may be small, but King’s time is coming. He is seeing the field more and his teammates and coaches are noticing what King has to give. To Council, King has plenty more to offer as the season, and King’s career goes on.

“The potential that he has, I believe, is through the roof,” Council said. “He is going to be a great player here at Auburn. He is going to be a good leader for this team.” 

Henry Zimmer | Sports Reporter

Henry Zimmer is from Jacksonville, Florida, and is currently in his fifth year with The Plainsman. He is currently the Sports Reporter and can be followed on Twitter here: @henryzimmer

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