Talent and experience are provided at the Auburn football team’s strong defensive end position. With injuries in the spring having some starters and key non-starters missing drills, younger players had a chance to show what they were able to do on the field, which, for the most part, impressed coaches and fans alike.
Corey Lemonier returns to the Tigers after having a stellar 2011 season. Being named All-SEC by the coaches, he recorded 47 tackles and a team-leading 13 1/2 for a loss and 9 1/2 sacks. The junior, who is expected to have an even better season in 2012, recently had “Pepa” shaved into the side of his head with fellow end Craig Sanders had “Salt” shaved into the side of his head.
Along with Sanders, Nosa Eguae is expected to be a large contributor to the position this year. The junior, who missed spring drills, made 38 tackles with six being for a loss last season.
Two defensive ends that made noticeable improvements in the spring and received large amounts of work due to the injuries were Dee Ford and LaDarius Owens.
After only playing in three games in 2011, Ford was awarded the defensive MVP in the spring’s A-Day Game. The junior recorded four tackles, two for a loss and a sack.
Owens played in six games last season, recording nine tackles. The sophomore is still transitioning to defensive end after being a linebacker when he first came to Auburn. The sophomore missed five games in 2011 due to an injury before returning for the final two contests.
There are several younger players that will contribute to the position this season, but most likely none more than Gimel President.
The incoming freshman was ranked the ninth-ranked prospect in South Carolina, according to Scout.com. He was also ranked the No. 42 strong side end in the country by 247.