After opting out of the 2020 season, Auburn linebacker Chandler Wooten will be back in 2021.
Wooten announced Tuesday he was returning to the team after sitting out in 2020, which would have been his senior season. Wooten’s return is a considerable one for a linebacker corps that lost senior K.J. Britt but returns top tacklers Owen Pappoe and Zakoby McClain from this fall.
“Back like I never left,” Wooten wrote on social media. “See you come fall Jordan-Hare.”
Wooten announced in August he would not play football during the pandemic-altered 2020 season as he awaited the birth of his son. That decision came after a 2019 season in which Wooten was a crucial reserve linebacker for the Tigers who recorded 27 tackles with 4.5 tackles for loss.
Wooten was one of three Auburn players who opted out before the season along with fellow linebacker Josh Marsh and defensive back Traivon Leonard.
At the time of his opt out, Wooten said he was supported by Auburn athletic director Allen Greene, head coach Gus Malzahn and linebackers coach Travis Williams. He also said he intended to play for Auburn again in 2021.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better support system during the duration of this process,” Wooten said in a statement. “It is in times like this where I am reminded of how truly blessed I am to be at such an amazing university like Auburn.”
Wooten will return to the Tigers as a veteran linebacker with 43 total tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, one interception and one fumble recovery.
Tutt reportedly to transfer: After considering going pro, Auburn cornerback Christian Tutt is instead looking for a new start at the college level.
Tutt officially entered the transfer portal Tuesday after the junior initially planned to enter the NFL draft, according to AL.com’s Matt Zenitz. The news comes after Tutt played the last three years at Auburn, which included starting as the Tigers’ nickelback in 2019 and 2020.
Tutt appeared in nine games for Auburn in 2020 before suffering an apparent injury in the Tigers’ loss to Texas A&M on Dec. 5. He did not play against Mississippi State and Northwestern and ended the year with 31 tackles, one pass break-up and one quarterback hurry along with a 20-yard fumble return for touchdown against LSU.
In total, Tutt has 88 career tackles, six tackles for loss and three interceptions.
Tutt becomes the sixth Auburn player to enter the transfer portal since Gus Malzahn’s dismissal as head coach on Dec. 13. The list includes quarterback Cord Sandberg, running backs Mark Antony-Richards and D.J. Williams and defensive linemen Big Kat Bryant and Daquan Newkirk.