It took exactly three games for Tank Bigsby to make his mark at Auburn.
As a four-star running back from Callaway High School in Hogansville, Georgia, the hype around Bigsby has been on a slow burn for a long while. He was ranked as high as the #40 overall prospect and committed to Auburn before the start of his senior season over LSU, Tennessee, and South Carolina.
With injuries dealing a blow to the running back room, Auburn fans have been wondering if the true freshman could cut it at the next level.
On Saturday against Arkansas, Bigsby answered those questions with a resounding ‘yes’.
In his second start of the season, Bigsby racked up 146 yards on just 20 carries, caught four passes for 16 yards, and returned four kicks for 106 yards. The total, 268 all-purpose yards, is an Auburn freshman record. In the late second quarter, he worked his way out of trouble and bounced to the outside, shaking off a defender around midfield before getting inside the Arkansas 40-yard line and helping set up a field goal before going into halftime. He also broke a jaw-dropping 14 tackles, leading to 97 yards after contact.
Pete Wiggins, Bigsby's coach at Callaway, was not surprised. "I've been seeing Tank make a lot of explosive plays for a long time," he said, "When he gets the ball, he's very special."
All told, he seems like the clear-cut #1 tailback three weeks into the season. But even with everything he accomplished Saturday, Bigsby believes he can do better. “It was alright,” said Bigsby of his performance.
He had lots of praise for the offensive line, calling attention to how hard they had worked in practice last week, and insisted that he could do better. Auburn fans would surely be delighted to see him average even more than 7.3 yards per carry, his average against the Razorbacks.
“It means a lot to me,” Bigsby said about his first 100-yard game in the SEC. But as far as he’s concerned, there is always room for improvement. “I will continue and hopefully I will have more to come.”
The Tigers head on the road this weekend to take on South Carolina, their first trip to Columbia since 2011. With experienced speedster Shaun Shivers still on the mend, Bigsby looks like the favorite to earn his third start of the season.
Everyone's eyes will surely be on Bigsby come 11 a.m. next Saturday, including his quarterback's. "We're really getting to know how good of a player he really is," said Bo Nix, who also gushed about his energy throughout a difficult loss to Georgia. "I mean, run after run after run, it's like he never goes down."