Saturday, June 25

Bo Nix, Tank Bigsby Enters Transfer Portal: What Does It Mean For Auburn?

Because just as Auburn started 2021, the Tigers ended it so badly. In Bryan Harsin’s first year at the helm, the Tigers started the season 4-1 and were routinely inside the top 25. After back-to-back wins over then-No. 17 Arkansas and No. 10 Ole Miss, the Harsin era had a 6-2 start.

But then, the last four games passed. Auburn lost them all, including a frustrating game against South Carolina and a fiercely contested Iron Bowl that the Tigers led for much of it.

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The Tigers have one game left, the Birmingham Bowl on Dec. 28 against No. 20 Houston, and a chance to finish above .500. But even if the Tigers win, they will spend the next season having lost two key players in the process with quarterback Bo Nix and running back Tank Bigsby entering the transfer portal.

Nix made his announcement Sunday on Instagram.

“When I came to Auburn I wanted to do two things: play soccer and graduate,” Nix said in his statement. “I was lucky enough to do both … I have made so many decisions for Auburn and now is the time to do what is best for me and move on to the next chapter.”

The Tigers’ starter for much of the past three seasons, Nix, whose father, Patrick, also played QB for the Tigers, came to Auburn with Harsin’s predecessor, Gus Malzahn, who is now at UCF. He played in 34 games and amassed 39 touchdowns, but he also had 16 interceptions, completed less than 60 percent of his passes and averaged less than 215 yards per game.

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He also missed the last two Tigers games of the regular season, including the Iron Bowl loss, following surgery to repair a broken ankle.

Bigsby, Nix’s backfield partner for the past two seasons, joined Nix on the portal on Sunday.

Bigsby rushed for 1,003 yards and 10 touchdowns in 12 games this year as a sophomore, but he also had a key error in the Iron Bowl that helped Alabama come back and win the game. In his two seasons at Auburn, Bigsby averaged 5.3 yards per carry and was named the SEC Freshman of the Year in 2020. He is one of the highest-profile running backs to enter the portal in 2021.

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If Harsin decides to stay home to replace them, he has TJ Finley at quarterback and Jarquez Hunter at running back. Finley was impressive in the Iron Bowl despite being injured, and Hunter was more efficient on the ground than Bigsby, averaging 6.9 yards on 84 carries compared to 4.8 yards on 207 carries for Bigsby.

Most of the players on the Tigers’ roster are carry-overs from Malzahn. The next recruiting class will be Harsin’s first real chance to make his mark on the show. The Tigers haven’t finished below .500 since 2012 when they went 3-9 and fired Gene Chizik.

With Wednesday’s early signing day approaching, the Tigers have the 35th best class in the country, according to 247Sports, behind schools like Arizona, Vanderbilt and West Virginia. They rank 13th out of 14 schools in the SEC, just ahead of Florida, in the 247 sports rankings.

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Aside from high school commitments, Harsin will be actively recruiting the transfer portal, and probably should. There are quarterbacks, namely Spencer Rattler and Max Johnson, who would provide updates on Nix and Finley. Johnson has experience against Auburn and the SEC from his days at LSU, while Rattler started the 2021 season as Heisman’s favorite in Oklahoma.

If Harsin is looking to replace Bigsby with just one skill position player in the portal, an obvious target would be FIU wide receiver Tyrese Chambers, who had 45 receptions for 1,083 yards and nine touchdowns for Butch Davis’ Panthers 1-11 squad. . Chambers has stepped up the competition before, going from college at FCS at Sacred Heart to Group 5 at FIU. A switch to a Power 5 team would be the final step for the sophomore.

If Harsin wants a one-for-one running back change, he could look to Zach Evans, who played in just six games for TCU this season but was still the team’s leading running back with 648 yards and five touchdowns while averaging 7.0 yards per carry.

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