Most Valuable Tigers: No. 3

We’re still in the thick of college football‘s offseason, with more than three months since the end of prom, media days this week, and a few more weeks 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.

The next stop on our countdown is #3: the senior rusher Derick Hall.

AS A RECRUIT

Hometown: Gulfport, Mississippi

Class: 2019

National ranking: No. 8 WDE, No. 148 nationally (4 stars)

247 Screening report at the sports school: “Lean, muscular athlete with long levers who seems able to carry a lot of weight and keep his athleticism. Tight and explosive as a linear and vertical athlete. Very versatile with the ability to play defensive end, linebacker or potentially even tight end Length allows him to eliminate space Elite combines athleticism Fights in space against more athletes and is very stiff – likely pointing to a future on the defensive line. Needs to show more physicality. Has expand-or-collapse potential, but if things work out, he can be a top power-five defender with an NFL advantage mid-range.”

AS A PLAYER

(Michael Chang, Getty)

Hall has adapted to the physical mold of a Day 1 pass thrower on Auburn’s campus, and he’s developed well over three seasons.

After getting his feet wet as a true freshman in the rotation at what was previously known as Auburn’s “buck” linebacker position, Hall stepped into a starting role as a sophomore. He had a few standout performances where he was able to show his potential as an All-SEC caliber player on the defensive front, with a pair of sacks in games against LSU and Mississippi State.

Then Hall took off last season. He finished tied for third in the SEC with nine sacks and tied for ninth with 12.5 tackles for loss. He recorded a TFL in all but two games and had a sack in seven games. Auburn’s peak room also featured a fifth-year senior, a former top-150 rookie and a highly productive transfer, but Hall showed significant improvements in his pass-rush skills and led the charge.

The most significant performance of his career, and one of the best games for an Auburn defenseman in recent seasons, was the Iron Bowl. In the near upset that ended in a four-overtime loss to Alabama, the 6-foot-4, 256-pound Hall fired Bryce Young three times and earned 3.5 TFL for the game.

According to Pro Football Focus, Hall finished No. 6 in the SEC in quarterback pressure (43) and rush (25), and is also the No. 3 returning player in the conference in both categories.

2022 OUTLOOK

Helping facilitate a second coordinator change for Auburn in two years, Hall was praised during spring practices for his increased leadership skills. Freshman Post Coach Roc Bellantoni said he felt like he had another graduate analyst or assistant in the field every day.

And that’s the key to a group of positions that before adding the Western Kentucky transfer Marcus Bragg last month had only three scholarship players on the roster. room and Eku Leota combined for 22.5 tackles for loss last season and is one of the best passing-rushing duos in the SEC. But the second rotation will include Dylan Brooksa former top-100 rookie who has yet to play a college game, and Bragg, who had four sacks last season.

Hall could be a preseason first-team All-SEC pick later this week, and that kind of season would significantly strengthen Auburn’s defensive front — and the unit as a whole. Many question marks can be outweighed by a constant pass rush, and Hall showed last season he can be an unparalleled force.

WHAT THEY SAID

“A lot of knowledge comes with that, whether it’s football position knowledge or game knowledge, so I feel really comfortable this year. I feel like it’s going to be a great year for me and for the football program as a whole. – Hall

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

No. 15: WR Shedrick Jackson

No. 14: EDGE Eku Leota

No. 13: OG Keiondre Jones

No. 12: DB Donovan Kaufman

No. 11: C Nick Brahms

No. 10: P Oscar Chapman

N°9: OT Kilian Zierer

No. 8: QB Zach Calzada

No. 7: TE John Samuel Shenker

No. 6: CB Nehemiah Pritchett

No. 5: CB Jaylin Simpson

No. 4: LB Owen Pappoe

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