Gus Malzahn isn’t tempering expectations for the centerpiece of the team’s 2017 recruiting class Calvin Ashley.
During Malzahn national signing day press conference, the coach compared the incoming offensive lineman — a 5-star recruit out of St. John’s College in Washington D.C. — to a former Tigers’ standout.
“Calvin is a guy that we feel like can come in immediately and have a chance to compete,” Malzahn said. “Really reminds me a lot of Greg Robinson when Greg was this age.”
While Robinson redshirted as a freshman, he spent two years anchoring Auburn’s offensive line at left tackle and was a key ingredient to Auburn’s FBS-leading ground attack in 2013.
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The Los Angeles Rams drafted Robinson with the second overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Ashley isn’t one of the program’s seven early enrollees, but Malzahn insists the offensive lineman will get a shot to play right away.
“He’ll be here in May,” Malzahn said. “I look back at Greg Robinson, and Greg was in a similar situation. You think you do the right thing by redshirting, and he was here for two years and was the second pick in the draft. You look at each individual different, but Calvin right now has a very similar skill set and is in a very similar spot as big Greg was.”
Auburn has two openings on the starting line with starting center Alex Kozan and right tackle Robert Leff graduating.
Ashley told reporters on his official visit to Auburn in January the coaching staff was going to give him “plenty of opportunities” this year to see the field.
“I’m going to work and definitely earn a spot,” Ashley said.
Malzahn also appreciates Ashley’s loyalty throughout the recruiting process. Maryland aggressively pursued the Florida native until he shut down his recruiting process in early January.