War Eagle Extra

Gus Malzahn doesn’t anticipate additional Auburn players transferring

Auburn wide receiver turned running back Stanton Truitt runs drills before a game against Arkansas during the 2016 season.
Auburn wide receiver turned running back Stanton Truitt runs drills before a game against Arkansas during the 2016 season. mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

Gus Malzahn expects a less turbulent offseason this year.

Nine players transferred from the final snap of the 2015 Birmingham Bowl to the season-opener against Clemson in the fall.

The long list included running back Roc Thomas (Jacksonville State), offensive lineman Jordan Diamond (Miami-Ohio), defensive lineman Gimel President (Illinois), defensive lineman Raashed Kennion (Florida A&M) and defensive back Tim Irvin (East Carolina).

Auburn also lost three early entrants (Shon Coleman, Avery Young and Peyton Barber) to the NFL draft.

Malzahn shot down the possibility of a similar mass exodus during a visit to Ladd-Peebles Stadium for the Senior Bowl.

“We like where we’re at right now,” Malzahn said.

While Stanton Truitt announced he was transferring less than 48 hours after the Sugar Bowl, Malzahn doesn’t view the wide receiver turned running back’s decision as a sign of things to come.

“I mean Stanton graduated and he’s a fine young man,” Malzahn said. “He just decided that he’d like to try to find somewhere else to play a little bit more.”

The irony for Truitt is last year’s roster upheaval may have contributed to his decision. The coaching staff moved Truitt into the backfield after the team lost its top three running backs.

Truitt, who has two years of eligibility left, could return to his former position at his new school. Thomas left under similar circumstances with the coaching staff pushing the running back to play at wide receiver.

Malzahn defended the position change Wednesday.

“That’s kind of what we needed and he wanted to play and we were just trying to find ways to get him on the field,” Malzhan said of Truitt.

Auburn already avoided losing many of its top draft-eligible players. Kicker Daniel Carlson, running back Kamryn Pettway and guard Braden Smith are all coming back next season.

The only underclassman to declare early for the draft was Carl Lawson, a decision the team expected as far back as August when he spent fan day with the team’s seniors.

Michael Niziolek: 334-332-8572, @wareagleextra

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