Auburn's ability to recruit under Gus Malzahn was solid.
The Tigers never had a class ranked lower than 13th nationally, and consistently pulled in high-end talent.
Auburn's development under Gus Malzahn was not as solid.
Malzahn struggled to develop the talent he recruited, specifically at skill positions (wide receiver being the primary issue). While Auburn was still able to haul in some really good players, they weren't always able to execute.
Take a look at the 2018 recruiting class, for instance.
If you count the three players that are still on roster, only nine recruits from Auburn's 2018 cycle finished their career with the Tigers.
So what happened? Here's how everyone panned out.
Joey Gatewood, QB
Coming out of high school, Gatewood was a promising dual-threat quarterback that many assumed would be a solid fit in Gus Malzahn's offense. After playing sparingly in garbage time in 2018, Gatewood lost the QB competition to Bo Nix in 2019 and transferred out to Kentucky. He struggled to make his way up the Wildcats' depth chart, and transferred to UCF to play for Gus Malzahn in 2021. Once again, he was not able to secure the starting job.
Malzahn has converted Gatewood into a wide receiver for the 2022 season.
Over the course of four seasons with three different programs, Gatewood completed 24 of his 51 pass attempts for 180 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception. He also ran for 380 yards and four touchdowns.
Matthew Hill, WR
Hill was originally recruited as a wide receiver for the Tigers. He caught eight passes for 46 yards during his sophomore season and transferred out of Auburn after appearing in only one game in 2020.
He committed to South Florida and converted to safety for the Bulls. He recorded 50 tackles, an interception, and two pass deflections in his first season at USF.
Coynis Miller, DT
Miller was a reserve DT for three seasons, recording nine tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss.
In 2021, he transferred to Jackson State, played one season as a backup defensive lineman, and transferred out of the program in April.
Harold Joiner, RB
Joiner was buried on Auburn's depth chart for three seasons. During his time with the Tigers, he collected 231 yards from scrimmage, including 128 yards receiving.
He transferred to Michigan State last season and appeared in 13 games, rushing for 43 yards.
Smoke Monday, S
Monday is the first player on this list to have finished his career at Auburn.
He recorded 171 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, six sacks, five interceptions, and three defensive touchdowns during his four years with the Tigers. He appeared in 44 games.
Monday signed a free-agent deal with the New Orleans Saints following the 2022 NFL Draft.
Anthony Schwartz, WR
Schwartz stepped onto the field as a freshman in 2018 and progressively got better every season for the Tigers. He had 357 receiving yards in 2018 (211 yards rushing), 440 in 2019 (118 yards rushing), and 636 in 2020. He declared for the NFL Draft following his junior season and was a third round pick by the Cleveland Browns. In his rookie season he had 10 receptions for 135 yards and one touchdown.
Oddly enough, Schwartz finished his Auburn career with more rushing touchdowns (seven) than receiving touchdowns (six), which is an indication of Auburn's inability to get playmakers the ball under Malzahn.
Seth Williams, WR
Williams finished his career as one of the best receivers in Auburn history. He currently ranks fourth in all-time receiving yards (2,124), tied for third in receiving touchdowns (17), and seventh in receptions (132).
He declared for the NFL Draft following his junior season and was a sixth round pick by the Denver Broncos.
He appeared in two games, and had one reception for 34 yards.
Zakoby McClain, LB
McClain barely saw the field during his freshman season in 2018, but showed out in the following three seasons. He racked up 267 total tackles, 19 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, and one interception returned for a 100-yard touchdown that will forever will in Iron Bowl infamy.
He signed a free-agent deal with the Ravens following the 2022 NFL Draft.
Asa Martin, RB
Martin played one season on the bench for Auburn before transferring to Memphis.
Over two seasons with the Memphis Tigers, Martin has run for 341 yards while also catching 24 passes for 255 yards.
Jamien Sherwood, S
Sherwood ended up being a solid safety for the Tigers in 2020 after seeing limited playing time in his first two seasons. He recorded 140 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, and one interception before being drafted by the Jets in the fifth round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
He had 15 total tackles over five games for the Jets before he tore his Achilles this past season.
Christian Tutt, DB
Tutt had 87 tackles and three interceptions over three seasons before declaring for the NFL Draft, and then eventually entering the transfer portal.
He was drafted by the New Jersey Generals in the USFL's inaugural draft back in April.
Michael Harris, LB
Harris recorded three tackles as a freshman before leaving the program. He committed to Eastern Kentucky in 2020.
Harris was arrested in 2020 after resisting an arrest, lifting a police officer over his head and falling on him. He was suspended from football-related activities.
Richard Jibunor, LB
Jibunor transferred to Troy after one season with Auburn, and recorded 71 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks, and two interceptions over two seasons. Solid numbers for the former four-star.
Daquan Newkirk, DT
Newkirk played in 19 games over three seasons for Auburn before transferring to Florida. He recorded 55 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and one interception during his for collegiate seasons.
Shaun Shivers, RB
While Shivers never carried the full workload for the Tigers' backfield, he was a vital part of the team's energy and leadership.
Shivers ran for 1,020 yards and eight touchdowns over four seasons before transferring to Indiana this offseason. He will forever be remembered for running over Alabama safety Xavier McKinney in the 2019 Iron Bowl for the go-ahead score.
Shedrick Jackson, WR
Jackson is one of three players in the 2018 recruiting class that are still on Auburn's roster.
Shedrick compiled 130 receiving yards during his first three seasons at Auburn before exploding for 527 yards in 2021 (partially out of necessity, but still, Jackson improved).
He'll be asked to once again lead a group of inexperienced receivers in 2022.
Jalil Irvin, OL
Irvin has been a backup offensive lineman for four seasons, appearing in 18 total games. He'll be expected to back up Nick Brahms at center in 2022.
Caleb Johnson, DE
Johnson primarily sat on the bench for the Tigers. He appeared in 10 games over four seasons, recording 18 tackles, four tackles for loss, and one sack.
Kameron Stutts, OL
Much like Irvin, Stutts has been a backup offensive lineman. He's appeared in 25 games as a rotational player. He'll be expected to back up Brandon Council at left guard this season.
Fuqua played one season with the Tigers before transferring to Jacksonville State, where he has recorded nine tackles over two seasons.
Roger McCreary, CB
McCreary was the third lowest rated player in Auburn's 2018 recruiting class, and the 989th overall player nationally.
He went on to become a consensus All-American during his senior season and was a second round pick by the Tennessee Titans in the 2022 NFL Draft. McCreary had 135 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, six interceptions, and two fumble recoveries during his time with the Tigers.
While he was not the crown jewel on paper back in 2018, McCreary certainly is the best player out of this class today.
Josh Marsh, LB
Marsh recorded two tackles over two seasons at Auburn before transferring to Northern Arizona.
Arryn Siposs, P
Siposs punted for two seasons at Auburn before declaring for the NFL Draft. He averaged 44.0 yards per punt with the Tigers, and now averages 44.0 yards per punt with the Philadelphia Eagles.
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