Despite his 5-11, 173-pound frame, Auburn running back Onterio McCalebb has found a way to succeed in the Southeastern Conference. With speed that challenges any player’s in the nation, McCalebb spent the offseason working on running between the tackles. His improvements have made him a significant player in the Tigers’ offense this fall.
Coach Gene Chizik rarely openly praises players, but spent the entire fall camp saying the senior tailback was “doing what we knew he can do.” McCalebb enters the season 15th on the list of rushers in Auburn history with 2,016 yards. However, McCalebb brings more to the table than just his outside-running game.
McCalebb is also one of the best kickoff returners in school history. Holding the Auburn record for kickoff-return average (27.90 yards per return), McCalebb is a threat to score every time he fields a kick. Returning to his specialist position this fall, he can only make more of an impact than the past three seasons.
Despite his success in special teams and rushing, McCalebb has bigger goals for the 2012 season. He wants to be the first Auburn player to record 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving in the same year. The rushing yards should be in the senior’s sight, but having the the receptions to provide the statistic he anticipates through the air will be difficult with the depth the receiving corps provides.
McCalebb finished the 2011 season named to the SEC Coaches Second Team. He finished with 641 yards, second best on the team, and five touchdowns on 112 attempts. On 32 receptions, McCalebb recorded 344 yards and two touchdowns. On 11 kickoffs, the senior racked up 338 yards and a score.