Most Valuable Tigers: No. 15

We’re in the thick of college football‘s offseason, with more than two months since the end of spring ball, another month until media days, and another month until preseason practice begins.

So what better time to move up the rankings?

Auburn Undercover is counting down the 25 most valuable players for the Tigers’ 2022 season. Bryan Harsin had hoped to complete his roster by May or early June, and with 10 transfer additions now on board, it looks like he may have done so before Year 2. Summer training began the first June week.

A few notes to set the table: These rankings are based on a player’s previous contributions to the team, as well as their assumed impact in 2022 – how important they should be to Auburn‘s success in both production and in the win-loss column. These aren’t just Auburn’s best players in descending order. If a freshman is included on the list, their positioning is obviously a projection of their talent and importance to their respective job group.

Next on our countdown is No. 15: fifth-year senior wide receiver shedrick jackson.

AS A RECRUIT

Hometown: Hoover, Alabama

Class: 2018

National ranking: No. 67 WR, No. 392 national (3 stars)

Ranking in Auburn’s 2018 class: 16th out of 23 signers

AS A PLAYER

(Auburn Athletics)

The most veteran member of Auburn’s receiving corps, Jackson has played an important role with the Tigers since his proper first season – but it wasn’t until last year that he appeared on the stat sheet.

Former Auburn staff used to credit Jackson for his blocking ability from his freshman year on campus, and it got Bo Jackson’s nephew onto the court earlier. Despite only having 10 catches in his first three seasons, Jackson appeared in 27 of 36 games, most serving as a blocking receiver.

Auburn, however, lost its top three receivers at the start of the 2021 season, opening the door for Jackson to land a starting role. Unlike the rest of the Tigers’ receiving corps, Jackson has rarely struggled to hit his targets, with just three drops on the season.

He contributed respectably until the final third of the season, when Jackson had the first 100-yard game of his career against South Carolina, and had more than half his total receptions for the season in of Auburn’s last four games of the year.

With Kobe Hudson having transferred and Demetris Robertson exhausting his eligibility, Jackson’s decision to return for a fifth season with the program — exercising his free year of COVID-19 eligibility — has given much-needed experience to the Tigers’ receiving corps, as Jackson enters 2022 with most games played among Auburn receivers by a decent margin.

2022 OUTLOOK

Jackson, at 6-foot-2, 202 pounds, solidified himself as Auburn’s starting X wide receiver last year. He had some issues as a possession receiver early in the season, but showed more promise late in the year as a consistent weapon on the road.

In terms of talent and explosiveness, Jackson may not be at the top of the Tigers’ receiving corps. But his experience – 40 games played in his career, including 15 starts – cannot be overstated for a group that sit third as coaches in two years and have lost two of their three best players from last season.

Jackson also said in the spring that one of his biggest goals for 2022 is to improve his leadership and impart as much knowledge as possible to the youngsters at large during his final season with the program.

At the end of the day, Harsin said he was the one who approached Jackson after the 2021 season and asked him to come back: “I wanted Shed back. I believe Shed’s best football is ahead of him.” Jackson has been a highly coachable and respected player since joining in 2018, and the hope is that he will give the Tigers a strong start this coming season as the undisputed leader of the receiving corps.

WHAT THEY SAID

“I feel like it will be a great year. Last year I had confidence throughout the season and I got better as the season progressed, I felt more confident. comfortable with quarterbacks and everything.” —Jackson

WHAT YOU SAY?

THE MOST VALUABLE TIGERS

No. 25: S Craig McDonald

No. 24: TE Luke Deal

No. 23: DL Marcus Harris

No. 22: WR Koy Moore

No. 21: WR Ja’Varrius Johnson

No. 20: QB TJ Finley

No. 19: RB Jarquez Hunter

No. 18: S Zion Puckett

No. 17: K Anders Carlson

No. 16: QB Robby Ashford

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