Auburn entered spring practice with the deepest wide receiving core in the SEC. A few weeks later, that may not be the case anymore. With Eli Stove and Will Hastings both suffering ACL injuries, neither can be expected to take the field in 2018 despite head coach Gus Malzahn’s hope for Stove to make a return before the fall.
Despite the absence of two of Auburn’s shifty receivers moving forward, the Tiger’s offense should not miss a beat. Here’s why.
Stove, listed as a wide receiver, was used more from a rushing standpoint than as a pass-catcher in 2017. He registered 30 rushing attempts in 2017 and hauled in 29 catches.
Hastings recorded 26 catches last season, finding the endzone four times.
Though both found production in the first year of the Chip Lindsey offense on the Plains, though neither figures to be irreplaceable this season.
Stove’s size and skill set is similar to other players on Auburn’s roster. He’s listed at six-feet-tall weighing 183 pounds. His ability to run well to the perimeter can be replicated by several members of the Auburn offense.
- Freshman running back Asa Martin (5-11, 200 pounds)
- Junior running back Kam Martin (5-10, 182 pounds)
- Freshman receiver Shedrick Jackson (5-10, 193 pounds)
- Senior receiver Ryan Davis (5-9, 175 pounds)
- Sophomore running back Devan Barrett (6-0, 185 pounds)
While Auburn will not have as much depth at wide receiver, Stove’s role can be handed off to other talented skill players in 2018 and could open up opportunities to put younger skill players on the field.
Looking at the hole in Auburn’s offense with the loss of Hastings, it is important to identify his role when Auburn was playing its best football of the season.
After the Tigers’ loss to LSU in Baton Rouge, the team bounced back by playing as the hottest team in college football. While the Auburn offense was clicking on all cylinders, these were Hastings’ stats:
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