With Auburn football entering the summer and several questions hovering around the offense, the receiving core has generated tremendous excitant on the Plains. Many fans believe in the already-proven Ryan Davis and Darius Slayton, but there is a little-spoken assumption that Nate Craig-Myers will take the next step in 2018 as Auburn’s clear third guy in the receiving pecking order.
Craig-Myers has the look of an elite receiver. He has the size at 6-feet-2 and 214 pounds. He has the speed and athletic ability. But over the course of last season he failed to do the primary job of a wider receiver – he could not get open and create separation from opposing defenders.
The junior from Tampa only caught 16 passes in 2017. From a production standpoint, he improved at the tail end of the season. Over Auburn’s last three games against Alabama, Georgia, and UCF, he caught six passes and two of his three touchdowns.
Both touchdowns came from quick inside routes in the redzone. One was from Kerryon Johnson in the Iron Bowl out of a wildcat formation. The other was Auburn’s first touchdown in the SEC Championship against Georgia.
Two seasons, 20 catches, four touchdowns. Those are Myers’ two-year totals at Auburn. That’s a far cry from what was expected from the former 4-star recruit who was ranked as the 45th best player in the nation and one of the crown jewels of Auburn’s 2016 recruiting class.
If Craig-Myers is going to turn the corner, 2018 will be the season. He does not have to be great, he just has to be available. His teammates Davis and Slayton are going to stretch defenses and draw attention in the passing game. Opportunities will be there for Craig-Myers.
With Auburn’s running back situation up in the air, Auburn should throw the ball more on offense giving him ample opportunities to live up to the expectations which greeted him out of high school.
(You can follow Zac Blackerby on Twitter @ZBlackerby)
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