The Auburn Tigers need a running back.
Unfortunately, former quarterback Nick Marshall isn’t walking through the door. Neither is former running back Cameron Artis-Payne. Both were the team’s top two rushers last season.
Luckily, sophomore Peyton Barber is going out of his way to impress the eyes of the Tigers. The former Milton High School standout had a 30-yard catch and a 20-yard run in Saturday’s scrimmage. His performance has earned him praise from Auburn running back coach Tim Horton.
“He’s someone that I have a great deal of trust in,” Horton said to al.com’s Brandon Marcello. “Putting him in the game, he’s going to do great. He just needs the opportunity and he’s going to get the opportunity. He’s earned the opportunity.”
Barber saw limited action last season as freshman. He had 10 carries for 54 yards for the entire season. This year is the chance for the sophomore to break out. Auburn needs a guy to take the pressure off Jeremy Johnson, the new starter at quarterback.
Barber has all the tools to become the full-time starter. However, he will have large shoes to fill. Artis-Payne lead the team with 1608 yards and 13 touchdowns last year. Marshall contributed 798 yards and 11 touchdowns.
The duo quickly became the focal point of a dangerous rushing attack. With them, Auburn averaged 35 points per game. Their success has left lofty expectations for 2015.
In order for Auburn to compete with the SEC West, it will need Barber to lead the way. He already has won half the battle by gaining the trust of his coaches. Now he just has to prove it on the field.
— By Jaylon Thompson, Special ofr The Atlanta Journal-Constitution