2019 Auburn football projections on the HG
What’s to like
Once again in 2019, expect the Auburn defensive line to wreak havoc on the outcome of games and the offensive backfield of its opponents. Derrick Brown is a player than had NFL teams salivating had he come out this year, meaning he brings pro skills to the college level this season. Around him, Nick Coe, Marlon Davidson, TD Moultry and Big Kat Bryant can get the job done, as well.
Despite the second-team defense allowing the quarterback battle to take centerstage, the starting unit for Kevin Steele is pretty good right now, and should give him and his staff time to develop depth. KJ Britt, Chandler Wooten, Zakoby McClain and incoming blue-chipper Owen Pappoe should be good behind that world-class front. And a secondary that has had a season to grow together and loses only Jamel Dean should also have a chance to be pretty dang good.
Unlike last season, there is real experience at offensive line and running back. The five seniors across the front got a much-needed year of shared experience in 2018, while Boobie Whitlow has established himself while Kam Martin will have a role and so should Shaun Shivers and DJ Williams. Additionally, there’s speed at receiver and options at h-back/tight end. Seth Williams is a go-to guy, Eli Stove appears fully back and don’t be surprised if freshman Harold Joiner finds a way to make an impact in the passing game.
What to be concerned about
Despite Gus Malzahn having talented options in his multiple-choice equation of a quarterback situation, none of the four options are all that experienced. Sure, Cord Sandberg is in his mid-20s and Malik Willis has been around a college roster, but those guys are trailing the freshman young guns in Joey Gatewood(redshirt) and Bo Nix. Gatewood is big, strong and athletic, which naturally stirs up Cam Newton nostalgia, but the Florida-native has a chance to be one of the league’s premier signal callers. While Gatewood is making strides, the early-enrollee Nix seems to just have it. He’s impressed due to smarts and natual feel for making plays, just as he did on the high school level at Pinson Valley, where he was named Alabama’s Mr. Football.
Either guy that Malzahn picks will be talented, but have a fair share of growing pains this season. That makes a run through the SEC (add in a non-con matchup vs. Oregon, too) very difficult.
Two other notables, Jamel Dean is the lone concerning loss defensively, but his presence at corner will not be easy to replace. Meanwhile, though there’s talent at receiver and running back, the team is starved for stars to emerge at those spots around a young QB set to take over.
What the HourGlass says
As you can guess, the HG analytics project it to be a hard knock season for a team breaking in a new quarterback. At 6-6, Auburn is slotted at fourth in the SEC West. Close games define the season, as the Tigers go 1-4 in them against the likes of Oregon (neutral site), Texas A&M (road), Mississippi State (home - *lone win of the group), Florida (road), and LSU (road).
2019 HG analytics pick: 6-6, bowl eligible.
2018 Analytics Pick 9-3; Actual Record 7-5 (83 percent accuracy)
2017 Analytics Pick 9-3; Actual Record 10-2 (92 percent accuracy)
Two-year analytic percentage on Auburn = 88 percent
Hour Glass National Recruiting Ranking 6th – inside our Realistic College Football Playoff championship talent line on our talent index.
National Coaching Rank for Gus Malzahn on HG Scale: 23rd (Malzahn Stamp at 11) – Average coaching value for 2019 set at 5.5.
Returning Auburn quarterback play rated 65th in the country out of 130 teams. Average quarterback stamp nationally for 2019 is 9.5. Auburn has a quarterback metric value of 1.1.
ODE Analytics – NOTE: ODE is our offensive and defensive scoring efficiency ranking for each team. We use a two-year evaluation of each program.
Auburn ranks 10th in the country in our 2019 ODE evaluation. Offensively they have a ranking of 34th in the country and defensively 9th in the country.