Auburn football: Looking at the Tigers' guards for 2014

rblack@ledger-enquirer.comJanuary 22, 2014 

Chad Slade (62) was back at right guard during Tuesday's practice.

TODD VAN EMST — Auburn University

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' guards.

Who's Staying: Chad Slade, senior: Started all 14 games at right guard last year; Three-year starter; 36 starts in past three seasons

Alex Kozan, sophomore: Started all 14 games at left guard last year; named to the SEC's All-Freshman team by league coaches

Jordan Diamond, sophomore: Appeared in four games (Arkansas State, Western Carolina, Florida Atlantic and Tennessee) last year

Devonte Danzey, junior: Appeared in three games (Western Carolina, Florida Atlantic and Tennessee) last year

Deon Mix, redshirt freshman: Redshirted during 2013 season

Who's Leaving: None

Who's Coming In: None

Outlook: Just as Reese Dismukes has sown up Auburn's starting center spot, the pair flanking him on each side have established primacy at their positions.

With Kozan (at left guard) and Slade (at right guard), the Tigers return two interior linemen who started all 14 games last season. It was old hat for Slade, who enters his senior season with 36 starts to his credit. Not so for Kozan, who made his debut season as a collegian a memorable one; after redshirting in 2012, the Colorado native was selected as an All-SEC performer by league coaches.

Behind them, however, there is scant experience. Diamond and Danzey only appeared when games were well out of hand last season, while Mix took a redshirt.

Assuming Kozan and Slade stay healthy — along with Dismukes — a case can be made that no team in the country has a better trio up front.

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