AUBURN, Ala. — Once Steven Clark departed, there appeared to be a clear line of succession: As the only punter on scholarship, Jimmy Hutchinson would become Auburn's next starter.
And during the spring game, that theory held: Hutchinson punted five times for 203 yards, with both marking team-highs. Since that point, however, things have gotten a bit murkier.
Following Auburn's first scrimmage of the preseason, Gus Malzahn said nothing has been set in stone at the position.
"We did get some special teams work, at the first of practice, which I thought was very good. Really focused on the punt," the coach said. "Once again, just trying to figure out who's going to win the punting job, and really, just trying to give everybody an opportunity with that."
One player who will get that chance is Tyler Stovall. The walk-on was the only punter aside from Hutchinson who participated in the spring game; he averaged 40.0 per punt on three attempts. And he's not Hutchinson's only competition, as two others are also vying for the job: Australian walk-on Matthew Shiel as well as Daniel Carlson, the Tigers' placekickers.
While no clear favorite has emerged at this point, Malzahn was confident it would work itself out in due time.
"We've got four guys and we’re letting them all get an opportunity," he said. "Hopefully we’ll figure that out sooner rather than later, but we’re just trying to give people opportunities."