Since Auburn last played a football game there has been a ton of turnover within the program. Of course, it starts with the man in charge with former Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin replacing Gus Malzahn. This turnover has also trickled down into the players. This article will examine which players left, that were not a senior, either by declaring for the NFL Draft or by transferring to a new school.
Early Entry to the NFL Draft
Seth Williams - The junior wide receiver announced his intentions to take his talents to the next level following Auburn's loss to Northwestern. There is no doubt Williams has the physical attributes and skillset to be a next level player. Williams has done nothing but impress in his three years on campus and ended his Auburn career with 132 catches for 2124 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Anthony Schwartz - The Olympic level sprinter also announced his intention to enter the 2021 NFL Draft. Along with the departure of senior Eli Stove, this means Auburn will have to replace their top three receivers from last season. Schwartz, or Flash as he was known to many Auburn fans, enjoyed a productive three years on the Plains just like Williams. He finished his Auburn career with 117 catches for 1433 yards and six touchdowns, while also rushing for 323 and seven additional scores.
Jamien Sherwood - Another junior who opted to declare early for the draft is Auburn's starting strong safety Jamien Sherwood. Sherwood was a physical and veteran presence for the Tigers on the back end of the defense all of last season. Sherwood finished his Auburn career with 140 tackles, ten passes defended, and one interception. Unlike the wide receiver room, the secondary room is still in good hands, as Sherwood is the only starter from a year ago not returning.
Daquon Newkirk - After struggling through injuries early on in his Auburn career, Newkirk emerged as a key piece of the Auburn defensive line rotation last season. Newkirk finished the season with 28 tackles and one and a half sack, while providing a veteran presence for the many underclassmen who played for the Tigers last season. Newkirk opted to take his talents back to his home state for his final season by transferring to the Florida Gators.
Mark-Antony Richards - There is still a possibility that Richards could decide to return to the Tigers. He entered his name in the transfer portal in December but has yet to announce a transfer destination. Richards missed all of his first year due to injury, and then played a very limited role his second year due to the emergence of Tank Bigsby.
D.J. Williams - Another departure from the Auburn running back room, Williams, like Newkirk, is also returning to the Sunshine State. Williams is joining former Auburn offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham with the Florida State Seminoles. Williams has been a key role player for the Tigers the last two seasons, as he recorded 599 yards and five scores on the ground during the past two seasons. The departure of Williams, combined with the expected departure of Richards, leaves Auburn with only two current scholarship running backs - Bigsby and Shaun Shivers.
Kamaar Bell - Bell recently announced his intention to transfer by entering the transfer portal. As of yet, Bell has not announced his destination. Bell has served as a backup offensive linemen throughout his two year Auburn career.
Cord Sandberg - The minor league baseball player turned Auburn backup quarterback has also entered the transfer portal.
Auburn also had several players enter the transfer portal throughout the season. Players such as Harold Joiner, Matthew Hill, Coynis Miller, Octavius Brothers, and Josh Marsh all transferred away from Auburn sometime during the last year. Another two players who considered transferring were Christian Tutt and Big Kat Bryant. Tutt entered his name into the transfer portal before eventually deciding to remain a Tiger for his senior season. Bryant had announced his intentions to transfer to Tennessee before Jeremy Pruitt and several staff members were fired from UT with cause due to NCAA violations. Bryant is reportedly considering bringing his talents back to the Plains for another season in orange and blue. However, there is no official word on Bryant's status at this time.
Bruce Pearl has now led his current team, the Auburn Tigers, to six consecutive wins against Tennessee. Today's 77-72 triumph featured all five Auburn starters in double figures scoring, as the Tigers snapped a three game losing streak.
Auburn pushed the number 16 team in the country to the final minutes, but in the end Arkansas pulled away for a 74-69 win. It was a tough loss on Senior Night for Auburn, as All-American senior Unique Thompson played for the final time in Auburn Arena.