The Five: Impact freshmen

In our latest The Five update, we take a look at the true and redshirt freshmen that will have the best opportunity to make an immediate impact this fall.

Daniel has a quick first step.

5. Defensive end Elijah Daniel

No position on defense needs more work going into preseason practice than defensive end where the Tigers lack depth and proven pass rushers. Daniel is one of two highly-rated true freshmen that have a chance to play right away. Daniel could help out the Tigers right away in pass-rushing situations.

4. Running back Peyton Barber

Rhett Lashlee would like to use several tailbacks in the playing rotation this fall and Barber comes in physically ready to play against SEC competition. Once he picks up the offense and proves he can protect the ball, Barber should be a part of the playing rotation and push for more playing time as the season moves on.

3. Linebacker JaViere Mitchell

Despite spending time at the Star position to start spring and then missing time with a concussion, Mitchell, a redshirt freshman, managed to end spring as the second-team Will linebacker. Defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson is excited about Mitchell’s potential and how quickly he picked things up once he switched over to linebacker. Mitchell will compete for a starting position during preseason practice and should be part of the playing rotation this fall.

2. Defensive end Carl Lawson

No true freshman is as physically and mentally ready to play and compete for a starting position than Lawson. He has elite pass rushing ability but it’s his toughness that should allow him to play right away. Coming in at over 260 pounds was big for Lawson and he’s still got a couple of more months before the season starts.

Kozan is the starting left guard.

1. Offensive guard Alex Kozan

After redshirting last fall, Kozan finished off a strong spring practice as Auburn’s starting left guard. Auburn has a number of talented, young offensive linemen on the roster, which makes Kozan’s move this spring even more impressive. He’ll have to fight for that position again this fall and that competition should only make Auburn’s offensive line stronger. Kozan can also play center if needed.

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Check out more updates from our The Five series:

Best turnaround seasons
Breakout Auburn players
Best Auburn players
Most underrated players
Reasons for concern
Reasons for optimism
Most important games
More big Auburn plays
Biggest Auburn plays

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