Auburn football names to know: Receivers, tight ends
Last season, Auburn attempted more passes than any season in over a decade. The high volume of pass attempts was somewhat surprising since head coach Gus Malzahn had a true freshman starter at quarterback. The Tigers are now likely to throw even more in 2020 now that returning starter Bo Nix has a year of experience under his belt. That means that the Auburn receivers and tight ends should have many chances to showcase their skills this fall.
This season, the Tigers return their three leading pass catchers from 2019 in Seth Williams, Anthony Schwartz and Eli Stove. These productive returning players, along with some exciting newcomers, should give first-year offensive coordinator Chad Morris some great options to target in the passing game.
Today, we look at the most productive returning player, a talented newcomer and a wildcard from among the receivers and tight ends. The number of big plays these athletes deliver will help determine how explosive the Auburn offense can be in 2020.
Most productive returning player – Seth Williams, 18, Jr.
Key 2019 stats – 59 receptions, 830 yards, 8 TDs
Seth Williams has a chance to be the highest drafted Auburn receiver since the turn of the century. Williams has great size for his position and excels at making contested catches in tight coverage. He has shown the ability to produce against SEC competition since his true freshman season in 2018.
Last year, he scored the go-ahead touchdown reception in the waning seconds against Oregon to kick off the season and was Bo Nix’s favorite target for the rest of the year. Williams missed a little bit of action in 2019 due to an injury, but he was the focal point of the offense when on the field.
In 2020, Williams could be the biggest beneficiary of Chad Morris’ rumored re-vamped passing attack. Potential changes in the passing game combined with Williams trimming a few pounds to become more of a down the field threat could work together to produce a monster season for Williams. If Seth Williams has improved his speed even slightly and Coach Morris can bring some creative concepts to get Williams some easy catches, then expect an All-SEC campaign this year.
Talented newcomer – Brandon Frazier, 87, Fr.
Key 2019 stats- Texas HS district champion- 40 receptions, 879 yards, 7 TDs
Brandon Frazier was one of the first recruiting targets that Chad Morris pursued once named offensive coordinator in December. Frazier might stand out to Auburn fans for a few reasons. First of all, he is really big — listed at 6-7 and 270 lbs. Second, Frazier is from Texas, which is not one of Auburn’s traditional recruiting areas. Lastly, and maybe most importantly, Brandon Frazier plays tight end.
Many Auburn fans have lamented the lack of a tight end being used in Gus Malzahn’s offensive attack. Chad Morris’ arrival on The Plains may point to a change of philosophy in personnel usage going forward. Morris’ history and early reports from fall camp seem to indicate that the tight end position will have a greater impact in this year’s offense.
If that is the case, Brandon Frazier is likely to have a role in the offense even as a true freshman. Frazier is a big athlete that played with a mean streak in high school. His size and catching ability can make him a match-up problem for opposing defenses right away. If Frazier can learn the offense quickly and be an effective blocker, expect to see the freshman play an important part for the offense this fall.
Wildcard – Anthony Schwartz, 1, Jr.
Key 2019 stats – 41 receptions, 440 yards, 1 TD and 11 carries, 118 yards, 2 TDs
Most people who have watched an Auburn game on television the last couple of years probably know that Anthony Schwartz is extremely fast. Broadcast teams mention Schwartz’s world-class speed and sprinting career on a regular basis. In his two seasons playing for the Tigers, Schwartz has shown flashes of that game-breaking speed in several games. He has scored on reverses, speed sweeps, deep routes and even turning a short reception into a long touchdown by running away from defenders.
Schwartz has been an effective weapon, but it seems like there is another level that Schwartz can rise to in order to reach his full potential. Last season, Anthony battled several injuries which caused him to miss a number of games, and appeared to get somewhat pigeon-holed to specific responsibilities in the offense when on the field.
Schwartz is healthy this pre-season and looks to be someone who could benefit from some tweaks to the passing game in 2020. If Schwartz can just remain healthy, expect to see the man his teammates call “Flash” deliver explosive plays this fall.
For other Auburn positional breakdowns:
Zack Shaw is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News and former walk-on for the Auburn Tigers. You can contact him by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @z_m_shaw