Auburn's All-Decade Team: Cam Newton leads a potent offense
Editor’s note: Saturday Down South has selected an all-decade offensive and defensive team for all 14 SEC programs. Our series stays in the SEC West with Auburn. Later Wednesday: Auburn’s defense.
There haven’t been many decades more memorable for Auburn football. A national title. Another spot in the title game. The Kick-6. The Miracle at Jordan-Hare. I could go on and on.
The great also came with the bad (see: 2012) but overall, it was a successful 10 years for the Tigers. After Saturday’s exciting win against Alabama, Auburn now sits at 87-44 on the decade under the guidance of Gene Chizik and Gus Malzahn.
But who makes Auburn’s All-Decade Team?
Presenting the offense, which includes most of the 17 players taken in the NFL Draft:
Quarterback: Cam Newton
One season, but what a memorable one it was. Newton led the 2010 team to the national title, winning the Heisman Trophy along the way after throwing for 2,854 yards and 30 touchdowns and rushing for 20 more scores. (He also added a TD catch for good measure.) His dominance was legendary. “The Camback” was remarkable, the highlight reel unending, including his long run for a touchdown against LSU in the hyped matchup that will be shown for quite some time.
Backup: Nick Marshall. The former Georgia defensive back proved himself to be a danger behind center, especially running Malzahn’s offense. In 2 seasons, Marshall threw 34 touchdowns while rushing for 23 more, helping the 2013 team to the BCS National Championship Game.
Running back: Tre Mason
Sometimes lost in everything that went on during the 2013 season is the performance by Mason, a Heisman finalist. He rushed for 1,816 yards and 23 touchdowns, including a heroic performance in the SEC Championship Game where he toted the ball 46 times for 304 yards and 4 scores.
This was after being one of the bright spots on the 2012 team. On a squad that seemingly gave up halfway through the season, Mason still churned out 1,002 yards and 8 touchdowns.
Backup: Kerryon Johnson. There were plenty of runs that Johnson will be remembered for, but the 2 plays most will recall are his screen-pass catch and run for a touchdown in the blowout of Georgia and then the jump-pass to Ryan Davis for a touchdown in the Iron Bowl. In the meantime, he put up 2,494 rushing yards and 32 touchdowns in 3 seasons for the Tigers and was named the SEC’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2017.
Fullback: Jay Prosch
Prosch scored just 3 touchdowns in his 4-year career, but his blocking at this key position made him so important. If there was a rushing lane open for a running back, it is highly likely that Prosch had some role in it.
Backup: Chandler Cox.
Tight end: Philip Lutzenkirchen
His best season came in 2011 (24 catches, 238 yards, 7 touchdowns), but he’ll always be remembered for the TD catch in the comeback against Alabama in the 2010 Iron Bowl. That season, he caught 5 touchdowns — 2 of which were the winning scores — and provided a major threat for the opposing team to deal with.
Backup: C.J. Uzomah. Slightly underused, 7 of Uzomah’s 28 career receptions went for touchdowns. The biggest was the game-winner against Mississippi State in 2013.
Wide receiver: Darvin Adams
A deep threat for Newton, Adams flew past defenders many times and only the end zone could stop him. In back-to-back seasons, he put up more than 900 receiving yards (997 in 2009, 963 in 2010) and hauled in 17 touchdowns.
Backup: Duke Williams. Oh, what could have been. Williams came to Auburn with a lot of hype but never fulfilled it before being dismissed from the team in 2015. In a season and a half, he caught 57 passes for 877 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Wide receiver: Sammie Coates
“Big-play Sammie” was at his best in 2013, catching 42 passes for 902 yards and 7 scores, including an incredible touchdown catch in the SEC Championship. He backed that performance up with 741 yards and 4 touchdowns in 2014.
Backup: Ricardo Louis. He will always be remembered for the Miracle at Jordan-Hare, but Louis’ best season came in 2015 when he caught 46 passes for 716 yards and three scores.
Wide receiver: Darius Slayton
When Jarrett Stidham dropped back during the 2017 and 2018 seasons, chances are that he was looking for Slayton. The playmaker finished his career with 79 catches for 1,605 yards and 11 touchdowns and is now making an impact as a rookie for the New York Giants.
Backup: Emory Blake. People forget how productive Blake was during his career, producing 1,994 yards on 127 catches and 16 touchdowns.
Wide receiver: Ryan Davis
Slayton was the deep threat, Davis was the possession receiver who could turn quick screens into big gains. His best season was 2017, when he caught 84 passes for 815 catches and 5 touchdowns, including torching Alabama for 11 catches and 139 yards.
Backup: Kodi Burns. This is a sentimental pick but there might not be a more popular wide receiver in recent Auburn history than Burns. The former quarterback accepted his role and then came through with a big touchdown in the national title game against Oregon, the only touchdown catch of his career.
Offensive line: Greg Robinson
When Mason and Marshall ran the ball in 2013, they were wise to follow Robinson wherever he went. The 6-5 333 pound Robinson was a blocking machine and earned 1st-team All-SEC honors in 2013. He was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Offensive line: Shon Coleman
Maybe a sentimental choice, Coleman was diagnosed with Leukemia before his freshman season. After beating it and sitting out his first two seasons, he made his mark on the 2013 and 2014 offensive lines, earning 2nd-team All-SEC honors and moving his way quickly up NFL Draft boards. He was taken in the 3rd round in 2016.
Offensive line: Lee Ziemba
Ziemba was a core part of the 2010 championship team, helping pave the way for Newton and Michael Dyer and earned All-American and 1st-team All-SEC honors .
Offensive line: Braden Smith
One of the top recruits out of Kansas, Smith was producing big blocks from the get-go. In 2015 as a sophomore, he earned 2nd-team All-SEC honors and then ended his last 2 seasons with a spot on the 1st team. He was a 2nd round pick in 2018.
Offensive line: Reese Dismukes
The center missed only 2 games during his 4-year career, becoming the starter from Game 1 of his freshman season. The rewards as the end of his time in Auburn? A consensus All-American and winner of the Rimington Trophy as the nation’s top center.
Backups: Brandon Mosley, Chad Slade, Marquel Harrell, Mike Berry, Ryan Pugh
Mosley, a 2-year starter for the Tigers, was a key cog in the line that helped the Tigers win the 2010 title. Slade started 49 games, the 4th-most in program history. Harrell was a veteran presence on both the 2018 and 2019 lines at left guard. Berry, another difference-maker on the 2010 team, was a mainstay for several seasons. Pugh was named All-SEC in 2010.
Kicker: Daniel Carlson
This decade has been a strong one for Auburn kickers as Wes Byrum, Cody Parkey and Carlson have all made it an easy 3 points when the Tigers reached field-goal range. Yet, when you are the SEC’s all-time scoring leader (474 points) like Carlson, that spot goes to you.
Backup: Cody Parkey. Made 39 field goals and 136 extra points in 3 seasons.