AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn football’s receivers don’t have a ton of experience, so it shouldn’t be surprising that its two oldest players are leading the way ahead of the team’s season opener.
Auburn offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey said late last week that junior Ryan Davis and redshirt sophomore Darius Slayton both had “really good” camps and called them “two that stand out” at receiver.
“They’ve just made plays, really, to be honest with you, contested catches,” Lindsey said Sunday night. “Both those guys did a great job, and a lot of our guys did. I thought that group as a unit grew up. Darius and Ryan both stood out at times and I think they’re in a good position as we head into this week.”
Slayton and Davis are both favorites to start for the Tigers in 2017 — Slayton at the outside split end position, Davis at the traditional slot receiver role.
Both are returning statistical leaders among Auburn’s receivers, too. Slayton had 292 yards last season, and Davis had 25 catches. They were also two of Auburn’s top three receivers last fall in terms of catch rate, according to Football Study Hall.
“They’re playmakers,” quarterback Jarrett Stidham said Sunday. “We have a ton of playmakers on the offensive side of the ball, and they are two of them.”
At 6-foot-2, Slayton is the ideal receiver to line up out wide for Auburn, as he has the size to win 1-on-1 battles and some of the most consistent hands on the team.
He also boasts speed that could rival several of Auburn’s fastest playmakers, according to those who line up against him in practice.
“My toughest matchup is probably Darius Slayton,” sophomore defensive back Jamel Dean said earlier this month. “He’s fast, and he’s got good footwork. He runs great routes.”
Davis, the only Auburn receiver who has two seasons of experience, became the Tigers’ go-to target for tough, shorter-yardage conversions last fall. Almost half of his 25 catches a season ago went for first downs, even though he averaged just 7.8 yards per reception.
“He’s been a good player, but his drive to be even better and even help the team even more than what he’s done has shown,” junior linebacker Darrell Williams said earlier this month. “You can see that, the coaches can see that … I think I did one of these interviews one time and I said something about Ryan being the toughest receiver that I had to guard, when I had to go out the box. He’s just taken it to another level every time so I applaud him for that.”
In addition to their skill sets, Davis and Slayton lead the way for Auburn’s receivers through their leadership and work ethic.
With most of the Tigers out wide entering their second seasons on the team, the third-year duo has stood out by setting an example for younger teammates.
“They’ve been working extremely hard every single day,” Stidham said. “They do what they’re told and they’re very coachable, great teammates, great dudes to hang out with. So, yeah, they’ve been nothing but positive this entire fall camp.”
The post Darius Slayton, Ryan Davis ‘stand out’ among Auburn’s receivers heading into Week 1 appeared first on SEC Country.
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