A handful of Auburn verbal commits are getting a small preview of what next fall could be like this week.
Hewitt-Trussville wide receiver Noah Igbinoghene, McAdory defensive back Malcolm Askew, Muscle Shoals safety Jordyn Peters, Oxford linebacker Kenny Britt and Jackson-Olin linebacker Tadarian Moultry spent the week practicing at W. James Samford Jr. Stadium on the campus of Huntingdon College for Saturday’s showdown against Mississippi.
All five Auburn pledges are part of the Alabama roster for the annual high school football all-star game against its border state.
“They all playing good,” Moultry said of his future teammates.
Moultry was one of the final additions to Alabama’s roster when Central linebacker Markail Benton dropped out of the game due to injury. Moultry turned down a chance to play in the game, but changed his mind when organizers approached him in late November.
“I’m playing for family, my community, my city and most definitely my state,” Moultry said. “I just like to compete. I just wanted to come out here and compete against these young men.”
Auburn also has a number of targets — St. Paul’s Episcopal defensive lineman Ryan Johnson, Jeff Davis defensive lineman Alec Jackson, R.E. Lee wide receiver Henry Ruggs III and Grenada’s C.J. Avery — are also playing in the game.
Both rosters are practicing twice a day through Thursday with a final two-hour practice Friday. Mississippi players are practicing at Faulkner University.
Mississippi snapped a seven-year losing streak in the exhibition game with a 28-21 win last season.
This year’s game is noon Saturday at the Carmton Bowl.
“You want to showcase your talents, they want to showcase their talents, but you want to show them how you do it,” Britt said. “That’s what I feel like everybody should be out there doing this week, be out here representing themselves and everyone they are playing for.”
* Moultry showcased the versatility Auburn coaches are excited about Wednesday moving from inside to outside linebacker with ease. The 6-foot-2, 225-pounder looked particularly impressive dropping back in coverage.
Auburn’s initial plan for Moultry is to use him at middle linebacker, but the senior would have no issue putting his hand in the dirt and rushing the quarterback.
“With my speed and my hands they could put me down, but in three or four years when I get in college if God blesses me to go to the league he (Auburn linebacker coach Travis Williams) wants scouts to look at me as versatile,” Moultry said.
* Moultry and Britt were two of the more physical defenders for Alabama in both Wednesday practice sessions.
Coaches ran a controlled practice limiting contact and keeping players on their feet, but both linebackers knocked ball carriers down in the run game thanks to their aggressive pursuit of the football.
“I knew K.J. (Britt) was fast, but I didn’t think T.D. (Moultry) was that explosive off the line (from highlights),” Peters said. “That really impressed me how he can get out and run.”
The two also made their presence known as vocal leaders of Alabama’s defense. The high school seniors directed traffic and sought out coaching advice as the team continues to install their playbook for Saturday.
* Muscle Shoals’s Jordyn Peters didn’t shy away from contact Wednesday. Peters wasn’t afraid to mix it up with receivers within five yards of the line of scrimmage.
The senior smiled when asked about his style of play.
Peters would be a natural fit at safety with his physicality and size (6-foot-2, 190-pounds), but Auburn secondary coach Wes McGriff is considering putting the future Tiger at defensive back this fall.
“A little bit in the air, but most of the time when I talk to coach Crime he’s talking about corner and maybe working at safety a little as a I get bigger,” Peters said.
Peters had 66 tackles with 10 pass breakups and two interceptions as a senior. He looked comfortable in coverage against speedy Alabama receivers Henry Ruggs III and Igbinoghene.
* Malcolm Askew had one of the tougher assignments spending much of Wednesday’s practices lining up opposite Clay-Chalkville senior Nico Collins.
Power five schools targeting the 6-foot-5, 205-pounder include Alabama, Georgia and Michigan. Collins has an Auburn offer, but the Tigers aren’t viewed as a likely destination for the talented receiver.
Askew gave up at least six inches to Collins, but held his own.
* Hewitt-Trussville’s Noah Igbinoghene is the kind of speedster coach Gus Malzahn’s staff has coveted in recent years. Igbinoghene, who flashed glimpses of his game-changing speed Wednesday, can get from sideline to sideline in a hurry making him a perfect fit for the jet sweep Eli Stove has run in recent weeks.
“He definitely has that second gear, you get to running with him and he can turn it on,” Peters said. “You really have to get with it.”
Igbinoghene could also push for a spot on special teams. The senior finished his high school career with 2,685 all-purpose yards.
The receiver isn’t the physically imposing type at 6-foot-0, 190-pounds, but Peters has seen his future teammate show off good hands and feet throughout the week.