AUBURN — The Auburn Tigers got a good bit of news this week as far as personnel goes.
Auburn head coach Bryan Harsin announced Wednesday that senior running back Shaun Shivers was back practicing with the team. Shivers missed the last two games and was not with the team during those contests due to undisclosed reasons.
“Shaun is practicing. It’s really good to have him back. He’s an energy guy. He’s a vibe guy as far as practice goes; like, the guy loves football and you can tell. I thought that was a good pick-me-up yesterday having him out there,” Harsin said on the SEC coaches teleconference. “As far as Shaun goes, it’s really good to have him back into the group and out there with the offense.”
Shivers entered the season as the Tigers’ No. 2 running back behind sophomore Tank Bigsby. Shivers rushed for 24 yards and one touchdown and also had a 19-yard touchdown reception in the team’s season-opening victory over Akron on Sept. 4.
Shivers’ absence opened the door for true freshman Jarquez Hunter, who made the most of his opportunity on Sept. 11 against Alabama State.
Hunter showed out against the Hornets by rushing for 147 yards and one touchdown – a 94-yard score, the longest run in program history – to add to what’s been an impressive start to his first season with the Tigers. Auburn head coach Bryan Harsin later said the team gave Hunter the game ball for his play.
Hunter followed that performance up by taking nine carries for 63 yards in the Tigers’ loss to Penn State on Saturday.
Harsin also provided an update on junior linebacker Owen Pappoe, who left Saturday’s game against Penn State in the second half with an apparent leg injury.
“Owen is doing some things right now. We still have practice later today [Wednesday], so we’ll see where he’s at and how many reps he’s able to get and just what type of work. But he’s coming along well,” Harsin said. “Those guys that left the game, they’re all coming along well. They don’t have anything season-ending, so they’re getting themselves in the training room and doing everything they can along with other players on our team as well.”
Pappoe was the Tigers’ second-leading tackler in 2020 behind fellow linebacker Zakoby McClain. Through three games this season, Pappoe has 15 tackles, two tackles for loss and two hurries.
Pappoe’s exit and McClain’s ejection last week for targeting put the onus on senior Chandler Wooten, who led Auburn with 10 tackles against the Nittany Lions. Wooten has a team-high 20 tackles along with 2.5 tackles for loss this season.