Auburn football: Looking at the Tigers' centers for 2014

rblack@ledger-enquirer.comJanuary 20, 2014 

Reese Dismukes is set to return for his fourth straight year as Auburn's starting center this fall. Lauren Barnard

LAUREN BARNARD

Editor's note: The 2013 season is in the books. Any underclassmen eligible for the NFL draft have decided whether to return to school or pursue a pro career. And national signing day is drawing closer by the day. With that in mind, Auburn beat writer Ryan Black breaks down the team's 2014 roster, going position-by-position and giving his take on each spot's future. The series continues with the Tigers' centers.

Who's Staying: Reese Dismukes, senior: Three-year starter at center; 37 starts in past three seasons; All-SEC selection and Rimington Trophy finalist last year

Who's Leaving: Tunde Fariyike: Appeared in all 14 games last season (no starts)

Who's Coming In: Xavier Dampeer, junior college transfer

Outlook: No spot is more set in stone than this one.

It's been that way for quite a while now, as Dismukes has lorded over the center position like his own personal fiefdom. Auburn has played 39 games in the last three years; Dismukes has seen his name penciled in the starting lineup for all but two of them. Barring injury, that won't change come this fall. Dismukes' durability does have one downside, though: No one else on the roster has started a game at center.

Fariyike, who is graduating early to pursue a medical degree, took Dismukes' place in the 2012 season opener against Clemson. Now that he's moving on, however, it appears backup duties will fall to Dampeer, a junior college transfer. As one of five early enrollees, he'll have time to get a feel for the Tigers' offense right off the bat. But the possibility of Auburn moving a more seasoned member of its line over to center can't be ruled out, either.

Regardless, it could be argued that Dismukes is the player the Tigers could least afford to lose next season given the lack of experience behind him.

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