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Next Wave: Auburn verbal commit Eli Stove dazzles on special teams; QB Woody Barrett shines in season-opener (with video)

Michael Niziolek

mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

Note: The Next Wave column will run weekly throughout the season as we take at the top performances each week from high school players verbally committed to Auburn.

Eli Stove didn’t have gaudy numbers in his team’s season-opener, but he made one of the most spectacular plays of his team’s 26-14 win over Lincoln.

The 6-foot-1, 175-pound wide receiver returned a punt 68 yards for a touchdown.

Stove, a 4-star recruit, avoided a pair of diving defenders to get up field then had Lincoln’s punter spinning in his shoes at the end of the play. 

Niceville’s offensive game plan was to keep the ball on the ground with its starting running back Deonte Sheffield, who carried the ball 32 times, but Stove managed to catch two passes for 17 yards, and had two carries for 33 yards.

Stove had more than 1,209 all-purpose yards as a junior. He caught 54 passes for 719 yards with 10 touchdowns. He verbally committed to Auburn in May with more than 25 Division 1 scholarship offers.

West Orange quarterback Woody Barrett looks to be in the mold of successful Auburn quarterbacks Nick Marshall and Cam Newton.

The dual-threat senior flashed his playmaking abilities all over the field in his team’s season-opening win over The Foundation with more than 300-yards of total offense and three touchdowns.

Barrett’s week one video highlights show off his vast potential.

The second play on the video is a read-option draw with Barrett going 60-plus yards through the gut of Foundation’s defense, getting to the second level of the defense with ease.

Later in the video with his team backed up on its own 2-yard line, Barrett takes a draw almost 25-yards, dragging a linebacker 10-yards on his back. He hits one of his receivers for a 75-yard touchdown on the next play.

The last play of the video might be the most impressive one. He runs 15-yards for a touchdown, but four defenders get their hands on him in the backfield. Barrett breaks multiple tackles to get past the line of scrimmage, and find his way into the end zone.

Barrett committed to Auburn in early June, and had offers from a diverse array of schools including Alabama, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Notre Dame and Texas.

Michael Niziolek covers Auburn football for the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. Email him at mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com or follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+

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