Teams that cannot hold up on the line of scrimmage will struggle in the SEC. Head coach Hugh Freeze knows this, and the Tigers attacked the trenches in recruiting and the transfer portal. Freeze and defensive coordinator Ron Roberts signed six defensive linemen out of high school and another four from the transfer portal.
The Tigers are looking to bolster a defensive line that ranked 97th in the country against the run. Auburn did have 26 sacks but lost sack leaders Derek Hall and Colby Wooden to the NFL.
The most impactful of the transfers could be interior lineman Justin Rogers. Roberts’ defense will employ multiple fronts but will need an anchor at the nose tackle. The Kentucky transfer fits the bill. Rogers can play the zero or slide to the three-technique on four-man fronts. Purdue transfer Lawrence Johnson is another run-stuffer that will add depth to the defensive front.
Keep an eye on frosh Keldric Faulk. He’s an athletic marvel at 6-foot-5 and 270 pounds. The top 100 recruit decided to stay in-state instead of going to Florida State. Faulk is effective standing or with his hand on the turf. He has length and uses it effectively to get to the quarterback. He’ll challenge for snaps this fall.