Auburn has talented shoes to fill on the defensive line next season.
The Tigers need to replace Carl Lawson and Montravius Adams, the defense’s top two pass rushers and talented run-stoppers.
Veterans on the line peg Nick Coe as an early contender for a spot in the rotation.
“Nick Coe catches my eye,” Dontavius Russell said.
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Coe’s wrestling background — he won a state title in high school — and advanced size (6-foot-6, 255-pounds) have helped him develop the perfect skill set for an edge rusher. Coe is practicing at the “buck” position putting him in line to get some Lawson’s snaps.
“You see the power, you see how strong he is, you see how he can disengage, usually that’s something that takes a little while for a young guy to learn, but he has the strength to do it all,” Adams said. “Sometimes it’s challenging for bucks or ends to do that type of stuff because tackles usually weight three bills, but you see him doing it at a young age consistently.”
The North Carolina native came to the Plains with a reputation for being a coachable player and that hasn’t changed. According to Russell, Coe has done everything the coaching staff has asked while redshirting this season.
The North Carolina native might not be a candidate to replace the leadership Adams and Lawson provided — Coe’s high school coach describes him as a soft-spoken “old-soul” — but his reserved personality won’t stop him from being a candidate for a breakout year.
“I think Nick Coe going to be a great player,” Adams said. “I don’t know how to explain it, but I think Nick Coe is going to be a special player here at Auburn.”