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A spirit that is not afraid

Auburn adds 12 newcomers as portal window closes

<p>Auburn head coach Hugh Freeze is introduced at a press conference at the Woltosz Football Performance Center on Nov. 29, 2022.</p>

Auburn head coach Hugh Freeze is introduced at a press conference at the Woltosz Football Performance Center on Nov. 29, 2022.

After Auburn's football team had a lackluster 2022 season and saw the loss of a head coach, it's safe to say fans and students are keeping an eye on how new head coach Hugh Freeze is working to develop the team's roster. The hot topic in NCAA athletics right now is the transfer portal. 

The current transfer portal regulations make it possible for athletes to transfer from school to school in real time at any point during their sports' allotted time window. After the conclusion of the 2022 season, the Tigers have some rebuilding to do. Thanks to the new tool that is the transfer portal, Hugh Freeze added 12 new players to his team. 

With that window for football now closed, here's the new additions for Auburn:

Austin Keys (LB, 6’2, 241; Seminary Miss., Seminary HS): Keys, the most recent transfer, joined the Tigers on Jan. 14. Keys committed to Ole Miss as the No. 800 commit in 2020 and during his time in Mississippi acquired 51 tackles, 32 assists and two sacks. Keys' experience in the SEC can be a valuable asset to Auburn's defensive line. 

Justin Rogers (DL, 6 '3, 311; Oak Park Mich., Oak Park HS): Rogers is a strong new addition for Auburn's defense. The junior from the University of Kentucky committed to the Tigers on Jan. 12. Rogers was the No. 1 recruit out of Michigan and 44th overall. The starting lineman for Kentucky had 62 tackles, 43 assists and three sacks for the Wildcats. 

Avery Jones (IOL, 6 '4, 275; Havelock N.C., Havelock HS): Jones, the former offensive lineman from East Carolina, was set to go to University of Illinois until he turned the tables and committed to Auburn on Jan. 10 of this year. Jones will play his last year of eligibility for the Tigers. Jones is bringing two years of experience at center for the Pirates and could be a competitive member of Auburn's offensive line. 

Brian Battie (RB, 5 '6, 170; Sarasota Fla., Sarasota HS): After losing running back Tank Bigsby to the NFL draft, the Tigers need some reliable players to rebuild around his absence. Battie, from the University of South Florida, is an athletic, capable addition to Auburn's offense. As second team All-AAC member, Battie obtained 1,186 yards as a sophomore at USF. 

Nick Mardner (WR, 6’6, 183; Mississauga ON.,Clarkson Football North HS): Mardner, a former wide receiver at Cincinnati, committed to Auburn Jan. 9. Mardner started his college career at University of Hawaii and accumulated a total of 100 catches for 1,718 yards and 14 touchdowns in the last four years. 

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Lawrence Johnson (DL, 6’4, 285; Fort Wayne Ind., R Nelson Snider HS): Another new addition to the Tigers' defensive line is fifth-year Johnson. The interior defensive lineman from Purdue is prepared to do some damage on the defensive line with his prosperous experience gained in 2022. Johnson earned 29 tackles, 2.5 for a loss and 1.5 sacks during the previous season. 

Demario Tolan (LB, 6’1, 205; Kissimmee Fla., Dr. Phillips HS): Freshman transfer Tolan is an ambitious linebacker from LSU. Although Tolan is accustomed to playing for the LSU Tigers, the Auburn Tigers see the freshman's potential on defense. The agile linebacker and 4-star out of Florida had nine total tackles and six assisted tackles during his first year at the collegiate level. 

Mosiah Nasili-Kite (DL, 6’2, 298; Puyallup Wash., Emerald Ridge HS) Maryland transfer and defensive lineman Nasili-Kite is a powerful addition for Auburn's defense. The fifth-year senior racked up 81 total tackles for Maryland along with 28 assisted tackles and five sacks. 

Gunner Britton (OT, 6’6, 275; Conway S.C., Conway HS): Britton is an offensive tackle coming to the Tigers from Western Kentucky University. Britton committed to Auburn on Jan. 5. Britton played 4 years for the Hilltopers with the 2022 season being his most successful year. In 2022, Britton earned an 87 pass-blocking grade according to Pro Football Focus and plans to further that success during his last year of eligibility for the Tigers.  

Dillon Wade (OT, 6’4, 286; Houston Texas, Cy Falls HS): Wade, a junior from Houston, Texas, began his college career at Tulsa University. As a recruit, Wade was ranked No. 2,408 nationally and No. 307 in Texas. Wade played under Auburn's new offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery and has a pre-existing relationship with the new OC. Wade ultimately decided to transfer to Auburn rather than USC and committed on Dec. 23. 

Elijah McAllister (LB, 6’6, 230; Rumson N.J. Rumson-Fair Haven HS): The former Vanderbilt linebacker, McAllister, committed to Auburn in December 2022. While playing for the Commodores, McAllister obtained 65 tackles, 27 assists and 2.5 sacks. The fifth year’s extensive experience playing for an SEC team will bring energy and expertise to the Tigers on the defensive side of the ball. 

Rivaldo Fairweather (TE, 6’5, 210; Fort Lauderdale Fla., Boyd Anderson HS): Fairweather, from Florida International University, committed to the Tigers the third week of December. The tight end developed quite well at FIU, gaining 54 receptions for 838 yards over the span of three seasons. Fairweather was the No. 244 recruit out of Florida and a versatile addition to Auburn's offense. 

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