AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn’s coaches informed three walk-ons during a team function Friday night that they would be placed on scholarship this season: punter Clinton Durst, holder Clayton Crofoot and wide receiver John Cubelic.
“Every year, whenever we have opportunities to do that with our walk-ons, we’ll always reward them for playing a tough sport for free,” coach Gene Chizik said. “That’s really hard to do. Whenever I can reward those guys with scholarships available, the ones who deserve it, (I will).”
Durst, a senior, averaged 42.1 yards per punt last year, ranking 26th nationally. He was a second-team preseason All-SEC pick by the media in July.
He left the team last winter in an attempt to force coaches to make a decision on his scholarship status but returned for spring practice. He is competing against Ryan Shoemaker, another scholarship player, for the starting punting job.
Crofoot, a senior, was the holder in all 12 of Auburn’s games last season. Cubelic, a junior, has played in one game during his career.
Auburn now has 78 players on scholarship for 2009, seven under the NCAA maximum.
Ÿ Freshman safety Daren Bates stood out to coaches for the second straight time in a scrimmage and might challenge for playing time on the field.
“I don’t want to go out on that limb yet, but we’re certainly looking to give him every opportunity to be on the field,” Chizik said. “It will be up to him, but what he showed us right now, I think he has a legitimate chance to get on the field if he’ll continue to grow as a player.”
Ÿ Chizik also singled out cornerback Demond Washington, a junior college transfer, as having a good night.
Ÿ Linebacker Eltoro Freeman (hand) did not participate in the scrimmage. Auburn used Josh Bynes, Craig Stevens and true freshman Jonathan Evans as its starting linebackers. “But we mixed and matched at every position,” defensive coordinator Ted Roof said, “because getting reps with the second and third team is not the same as the first.”
Ÿ Mario Fannin worked exclusively as an H-back.
The Auburn football team’s Fan Day will be at Jordan-Hare stadium today from 3-5 p.m. Admission is free.
Chizik and the Tigers will sign autographs for fans at the event, which also features the Auburn cheerleaders, Tiger Paws, Aubie and the women’s basketball, soccer and volleyball teams. Posters and schedule cards will be provided.
Fans should enter the stadium from the West side. Those seeking Chizik’s autograph should enter at Gate 11.
Parking will be available around the stadium in the deck, the West stadium lot and the Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum lot.