The past week has included ups and a major down for Auburn football. Let’s take a look at what has happened so far.
For the third time in as many years, Auburn football players will be saying goodbye to a teammate who died too young.
The weekend shooting of Jakell Mitchell, an 18-year-old h-back from nearby Opelika, occurred at the same apartment complex as the 2012 shooting that killed three, including two Auburn football players.
Coach Gus Malzahn was despondent when speaking to the media about Mitchell.
“Any time you recruit someone, you get to know them, you get to know their family,” Malzahn said. “He’s from right down the road. I’ve known him a long time. And there are a lot of memories. I think about the off-the-field stuff, the type of person, the smile and everything that goes with it.”
Markale Hart, 22, was arrested and jailed on a murder charge. He has a criminal history that already had him on probation.
The apartment complex, Tiger Lodge, had changed names after the 2012 shooting from University Heights, and said to have beefed up security to keep residents feeling safe.
The Auburn Plainsman, Auburn University’s student newspaper, published an editorial calling for a change by not only Tiger Lodge, but all off-campus apartment complexes, when it comes to security and background checks on residents.
Auburn fans, and coach Gus Malzahn, got their wish on Friday as Will Muschamp agreed to become defensive coordinator for the Tigers.
Taking over for the recently fired Ellis Johnson, Muschamp takes over a talented but lacking in discipline defense.
“He’s got a proven track record,” Malzahn said. “I love his energy. I’m an energy guy, too. I really wanted somebody who had great energy and intensity, to have that defense really take on his personality. He’s one of the best in the business, if not the best in the business, and we really got all the above with what we were looking for.”
Muschamp served as defensive coordinator at Auburn under Tommy Tuberville from 2006-07 and fielded tough defenses, something the Tigers have been mostly missing since.
“I’m just a ball coach and at the end of the day that’s what I enjoy doing and I’m very thankful to have a great family that understands that,” Muschamp said Saturday at his introductory news conference. “We’re looking forward to the next step.”
Junior wide receiver Sammie Coates has decided to forgo his senior season and enter the NFL draft.
Coates had 72 catches for 1,619 yards and 11 touchdowns over the last two years, including a career best five catches for 206 yards and two touchdowns in this year’s Iron Bowl.
Coates earned his undergraduate degree last week, something that came into play when making the choice to go pro.
“If I wouldn’t have graduated, it wouldn’t have even been a thought,” Coates said.