Bryan Harsin explains why J.J. Pegues has changed positions at Auburn
One of the major position moves of the spring across the SEC happened recently at Auburn where former freshman tight end J.J. Pegues is now working on the defensive line.
“J.J. is a guy now who has done a tremendous job working with the offense. We made that move and put him on the defensive line,” said Auburn coach Bryan Harsin, per the Auburn Rivals site. “I had a conversation with J.J. and this is what I am thinking, a guy like Pegues, and really anybody like this on the team, you have those conversations of ‘anything you need me to do.’ He is athletic. He can do a lot things. I think this position fits him. I think he is a really great culture guy to be in that room. I think he is a leader on this team.”
Pegues has long been one of the more athletic big guys across the SEC, especially for being a 300-pounder. The 6-foot-3 and 308-pound Pegues played in all 11 games as a true freshman last fall catching seven passes for 57 yards. He also carried the ball five times for 14 yards as a Wildcat quarterback.
Pegues is starting out at the defensive tackle position but has the potential to play just about anywhere on the Tigers’ defensive front. Harsin said Pegues is a quick study, and the coaching staff will develop the scheme portion of the position this week.
“Don’t have him at nose right now. He’s playing at that tackle position and that four-eye five-technique off the edge. He can really do it all,” Harsin said. “I’m not going to say he’s necessarily this or that. I think they’re working through it. Just like the O-Line you start moving guys around and giving them chances to play and sometimes, you never know, one of those ends is going to play nose at some point in different packages.
Nick Eason is looking forward to coach Pegues on the other side of the ball.
“I do think that position for J.J. is going to be a really good fit,” said Harsin. “Having Coach Eason, and having a guy like that who is going to be able to coach him, develop him and give him the tools to go out there and utilize his ability to play that position, that is a great match. He is going to be really, really good. I appreciate guys like that on the team that are willing to do things like that and having a coach like Coach Eason, I think has helped a lot.”
It’s been something in the works for a while, according to those close to the program.
Nathan King of 247Sports noted, “Pegues’ father told me last month that Auburn DL coach Nick Eason has been pushing the idea of Pegues moving to D-line since the first time Eason met him in January.”