AUBURN, Ala. — What was widely reported last week was confirmed by Gus Malzahn on Tuesday. In a press conference previewing spring practice, Auburn's coach announced linebacker Anthony Swain and punter Jimmy Hutchinson were no longer part of the program.
But Swain and Hutchinson aren't the only players who have departed, as Malzahn revealed Gage Batten has moved on as well.
Swain decided to focus on his studies, Malzahn said, and is set to graduate from Auburn this semester. Swain was entering his fifth year with the Tigers. He spent his time on the Plains as a career backup, appearing in 35 games.
In the past three years, Swain collected 44 tackles (four for loss).
"He's no longer going to be here with us," Malzahn said. "We really appreciate everything he did during his time to help us here at Auburn."Hutchinson, on the other hand, "decided to explore other opportunities," according to Malzahn. Hutchinson was part of Auburn's 2013 recruiting class. With Steven Clark in place, Hutchinson redshirted that season. Last year was a struggle for him, as he was beat out by placekicker Daniel Carlson for the starting punting job.
He saw action in five games in 2014, punting nine times for an average of 36.6 yards per attempt.
When asked whether Hutchinson would transfer or remain on campus, Malzahn said he was "not sure at this time.
Batten, who was set to be a fourth-year junior, has not been with the Tigers since the Outback Bowl, Malzahn said.
An H-back, Batten redshirted during his freshman season in 2012. He served as Jay Prosch's backup during Auburn's SEC championship campaign in 2013 and was expected to figure prominently in replacing his predecessor last year. That never came to fruition, as Batten went down with an undisclosed injury in fall camp. He didn't take part in any game last season.
Malzahn said Batten left in order to "do some things closer" to his home in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.