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Auburn Tigers wide receiver Cam Coleman (8) catches a deep pass over the middle during the A-Day spring game at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala., on Saturday, April 6, 2024.
Jake Crandall/ Advertiser
Auburn Tigers wide receiver Cam Coleman (8) catches a deep pass over the middle during the A-Day spring game at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala., on Saturday, April 6, 2024. Jake Crandall/ Advertiser

Receiver room revival? Everything you need to know about Auburn’s offensive performance on A-Day

AUBURN, Ala. – After a long offseason, the Auburn Tigers finally took the field at Jordan-Hare stadium for the first time in 2024, this time for the annual A-Day spring game. After many questions through the winter about whether the offense could be improved, the early signs look encouraging, as they defeated the defense 28-27 on a last-second 58-yard field goal from freshman kicker Towns McGough.

One of the main concerns with the Auburn offense was the receiver room, which produced zero players with more than 347 yards. However, early enrollee Cam Coleman, the crown jewel of Auburn’s 2024 recruiting class, had many Tiger fans optimistic about the offense’s chances. The 5-star receiver prospect from Phenix City, Alabama didn’t waste much time delivering on his hype either, making a spectacular diving catch for a gain of 49 yards on a deep pass from quarterback Hank Brown on just his second drive in the game. 

That wasn’t Coleman’s only highlight of the day, either. In the 4th quarter, Coleman made a leaping grab at the five-yard line on a throw from quarterback Payton Thorne, broke a tackle, and walked into the end zone for his first touchdown in Jordan-Hare Stadium. Coleman finished the day with 4 catches for 92 yards and a touchdown, which is just one yard shy of the Tigers’ single-game high in yards for a receiver last season (Jay Fair: 7 for 93 vs Samford) on 3 fewer catches. 

“I think he changes us,” said Auburn Coach Hugh Freeze when asked about Coleman’s impact on the offense. “He just tracks the ball and thinks every ball is catchable.”

Coleman had other strong attempts that weren’t caught either, nearly making a leaping catch around the back of an Auburn defensive back on the left sideline in the third quarter.

“I know in this league, the SEC, the DBs are not just going to let you catch the ball lackadaisical,” said Auburn WR Cam Coleman when asked about his aggressiveness. “You’ve got to be aggressively catching the ball and really holding on to it.”

Coleman wasn’t the only new arrival to stand out, however. Georgia State transfer Robert Lewis also had an impressive afternoon, catching 5 passes for 73 yards. Lewis could have declared for the NFL Draft after his last season in Atlanta, drawing a day-two grade from many scouts and analysts after reeling in 70 passes for 877 yards and 7 touchdowns last season. With the many young talents in the Auburn receiver room this fall, Lewis should be a reliable, experienced presence for quarterback Payton Thorne.

The Auburn quarterback rotation benefitted from the receiving help greatly. Payton Thorne went 9/13 for 133 yards and a touchdown, Hank Brown went 5/12 for 103 yards, early enrollee and 4-Star recruit Walker White went 5/13 for 83 yards, and Holden Geriner was an accurate 7/10 for 46 yards. Thorne also added 20 yards on the ground. The ball placement and accuracy of Brown and White weren’t perfect, as a few balls found their way out-of-bounds and behind receivers. Thorne, however, looked confident in the pocket and made good, quick decisions with the football, something that he struggled to do for much of last season.

The real star of the show, however, was kicker Towns McGough. The freshman from Auburn, Ala. went 7/7 on field goal attempts in the absence of an injured Alex McPherson and accounted for 21 of the offense’s 28 points. He made kicks from 26, 33, 34, 36, 43, 49, and finally from 58 yards out as time expired to win the game for the offense, looking calm and collected for each of them. 

“I just thought back to high school,” said Auburn Kicker Towns McGough when asked about his stellar performance. “I’ve done this plenty of times and had confidence in myself and [I was] obviously a little bit nervous of course, but super excited to get it done. Reed [Hughes] and Oscar [Champan] snapping and holding make it super easy.”

Overall, it was an encouraging day for an Auburn offense that looks to finally be trending in the right direction, something that the coaching staff appears to agree with.

“I’m pleased with the spring,” said Freeze. “I thought our coaches, give them a lot of credit, I thought they really prepared hard for every single practice and we got the most out of every minute that we were allowed to be with our kids in the spring.”

Auburn will be back in Jordan-Hare Stadium in just under five months, when the Tigers open their 2024 season on Aug 31 as they welcome the Alabama A&M Bulldogs to Jordan-Hare Stadium.

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