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SEC media days notes: Gus Malzahn offers roster update, working on plans to honor Lutzenkirchen

HOOVER, Ala. — Auburn coach Gus Malzahn revealed a few changes to his team's roster on Monday.

Sophomore defensive lineman Tyler Nero will take a medical redshirt this season. Though Malzahn didn't declare Nero's career over, he seemed to hint that it's unlikely the Atmore, Ala., will return to the field.

"He’s going to get his degree," Malzahn said. "He could possibly help us with football. We wish him nothing but the best."

Malzahn also said receiver Jaylon Denson and Star safety Justin Garrett were granted medical hardship waivers from last season, meaning they'll each have one more year of eligibility remaining.

And according to Malzahn, injury-plagued junior defensive lineman Keymiya Harrell suffered yet another setback this offseason.

"Harrell reinjured his ACL off the field and had to get it fixed," the coach said.

He appeared in only one game in last season, recording no stats versus Florida Atlantic. He also had surgery on his right knee in 2013 after injuring it during spring practice. His spate of bad luck would be enough to frustrate even those with the sunniest of dispositions.

Fellow defensive lineman Gabe Wright said the team has done its best to keep Harrell from getting too down on himself.

"That is nothing to say about his confidence or personality. If I would have had to go through that he’s gone through, I’d need help, too," Wright said. "(Defensive line) 'Coach G' (Rodney Garner) has done an excellent job of keeping him up and his teammates (as well), from the seniors on down."

Plans to honor Philip Lutzenkirchen in the works

Malzahn said the team plans to honor former Tiger tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen — who passed away in a one-vehicle crash outside of LaGrange, Ga., last month — at some point this season. What it will entail has yet to be finalized, however.

"Me and (Auburn athletic director) Jay (Jacobs) and his family are still talking through some things," Malzahn said, "but we definitely want to do something."