June 23, 2013
By Phillip Marshall
AUBURN – Junior college transfer quarterback Nick Marshall reported to Auburn on Sunday and will start classes on Monday. Marshall will be one of four quarterbacks who will compete for the starting job when preseason practice starts in August.
Defensive ends Carl Lawson and Elijah Daniel, both 5-star prospects, also reported and will start classes Monday. They’ll be joined by safeties Brandon King, Mackenro Alexander and Khari Harding; wide receivers Dominic Walker and Tony Stevens and kicker Daniel Carlson.
Twenty of 23 signees from Gus Malzahn's first recruiting class have arrived on campus.Three signees – quarterback/wide receiver Jason Smith, wide receiver Earnest Robinson and running back Peyton Barber – have not arrived. Barber is expected to start classes this week. Robinson is still working to qualify and hopes to enroll in August. Smith is expected to attend Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy, a prep school.
Marshall, who started his college career as a defensive back at Georgia, signed with Auburn out of Garden City (Kan.) Community College. He will compete for the starting job with junior Kiehl Frazier, sophomore Jonathan Wallace and true freshman Jeremy Johnson.
Offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said Marshall will have to learn a lot in a hurry to be serious contender for the starting job.
“I think probably a lot of the expectations and hype with Nick come from the last time we had a junior college quarterback things worked out pretty well,” Lashlee said. “And also, if you go to Georgia, two years removed from high school Nick is still a legend over there. To play DB as a true freshman for a year and then to go to junior college and do what he did at quarterback that lends to the hype.
“You would like to think, much like Cam, he’s going to be older and more mature. He’s played in the SEC. He’s now played another year of college level ball. You would think that would give him a little bit of advantage.”
Frazier, who started six games last season, and Wallace, who started four, came out of spring practice without either separating himself. Lashlee said Johnson will also get a fair shot. He pointed out that, as a true freshman, Mitch Mustain led Arkansas to an 8-0 record when Malzahn was offensive coordinator in 2006.
“He didn’t start the first game, but he started the second game,” Lashlee said. “We’ve done it once before in the SEC. It wasn’t always Mitch putting up big numbers, but the bottom line is we won the games. When you start a freshman quarterback, you have to have good pieces around him and also you have to protect him a little bit and not ask him to do things he’s not ready to do.”
Following are the Auburn signees who have reported to campus:
Montravius Adams (DT; Dooly County HS; Vienna, Ga.): Strong, agile defensive line prospect ... Under Armour All-America Game ... 247Sports All-America ... No. 2 defensive lineman, No. 14 overall by PrepStar ... ranked as No. 25 overall, No. 3 DL by Rivals ... No. 3 DT by Scout ... No. 10 overall, No. 2 DT, No. 2 in Georgia by 247Sports ... five-time player of the game his senior season for Coach Jimmy Hughes ... recorded 127 tackles, 34 TFL, 7.5 sacks leading Dooly County to the Class A state title game ... ESPN 150 ... son of Debbie Young.
Mackenro Alexander (DB; Immokalee HS; Immokalee, Fla.): Hard-hitting defender with versatile skills ... totaled 154 tackles, 4.5 sacks, two forced fumbles as a senior playing outside linebacker for Coach Jerrod Ackley ... picked off five interceptions as a senior, returning four for touchdowns, an Immokalee record ... his 350+ career tackles set another Immokalee record ... ranked No. 43 DB by Rivals ... No. 50 DB, No. 96 prospect from Florida by 247Sports ... No. 91 by Scout ... Naples Daily News defensive player of the year ... son of Marie and Jean Alexander.
Cameron Artis-Payne (RB; Allan Hancock (Calif.) College; Milford (N.Y.) Academy; Harrisburg HS; Harrisburg, Pa.): Enrolled in January and participated in spring practice … rated as the nation's top junior college running back ... enrolled at Auburn in January ... rushed for 2,048 yards, 25 touchdowns in 2012 at Allan Hancock for Coach Kris Dutra, leading California Community College Athletic Association in rushing yards, yards per game, yards per rush and touchdowns ... JC Athletic Bureau first team All-America offensive player of year ... conference player of the week five times ... rushed for 1,364 yards, 18 touchdowns as a freshman ... all-California First Team Offense in Region IV by the California Community College Football Coaches Association ... attended Milford Academy in New Berlin, N.Y. after high school ... graduate of Harrisburg (Pa.) High ... enrolled as a philosophy major at Auburn ... son of Victoria Artis and David Payne.
Ben Bradley (DT; Hutchinson (Kan.) CC; HS; Norcross, Ga.): Enrolled in January and participated in spring practice … outstanding junior college defensive lineman who enrolled at Auburn in January ... recorded 43 tackles, 9.5 TFL and five sacks during the 2012 season, helping the Hutchinson Blue Dragons and Coach Rion Rhoades to a 9-3 record, a No. 12 national ranking and the Salt City Bowl championship ... earned an associate's degree in December ... 91 tackles, 26 TFL, 5.5 sacks and a fumble recovery as a senior at Norcross High for Coach Keith Maloof ... Gwinnett Rivalries and GACA North/South all-star games ... No. 9 DL prospect by 247Sports ... Scout Top 100 ... enrolled as a public administration major at Auburn ... son of Keischa Bradley
Daniel Carlson (K; Classical Academy; Colorado Springs, Colo.): Versatile kicking specialist with tremendous leg strength ... 10 field goals and 54 kickoffs for touchbacks as a senior for Coach David Bervig at The Classical Academy ... top-ranked kicker nationally at Kohl's Kicking Academy Underclassmen Challenge ... ranked No. 4 nationally among kickers by Scout and Rivals ... MaxPreps small school All-America ... No. 8 ranking from 247Sports ... U.S. Army All-American Bowl ... Denver Post No. 6 in-state prospect and all-state Class 3A as a junior and senior ... as a soccer player, helped TCA advance to state finals as a sophomore and junior ... son of Jodie Carlson and Hans Carlson.
Elijah Daniel (DE; Avon HS; Avon, Ind.): Talented two-way performer on the defensive line ... Indiana first team all-state ... team defensive MVP recording 85 tackles, 16 TFL, five sacks as a senior for Coach Mark Bless ... Under Armour All-America Game ... ranked No. 9 by Scout ... No. 2 in state of Indiana and No. 8 DE by Rivals ... PrepStar All-America ... No. 2 in Indiana, No. 3 DE, No. 27 overall by 247Sports ... MaxPreps Top 100 ... ESPN 150 ... his aunt Donna Fisher is his guardian
Devonte Danzey (OG; Hutchinson (Kan.) CC; HS; Tampa, Fla.): Enrolled in January and participated in spring practice … Experienced offensive guard who enrolled at Auburn in January ... ranked as the nation's top junior college prospect at offensive guard ... first-team All-Jayhawk Conference for Coach Rion Rhoades as a redshirt freshman in 2012 after helping Hutchinson to a 9-3 record and a No. 12 national ranking ... first team All-America ... starting offensive tackle for a Hutchinson offense that scored the second-most points in team history and three times broke the 700-yard mark for total offense ... ranked among Top 85 JUCO players by 247Sports ... played high school football at Tampa Bay (Fla.) Tech for Coach Jayson Roberts, where he was team MVP and Tampa Tribune all-Hillsborough County ... enrolled as a public administration major at Auburn ... guardian is Patsy Ross
Marcus Davis (WR; American Heritage Boca-Delray HS; Delray Beach, Fla.): Dual-threat quarterback who is expected to play receiver at Auburn ... team had 12-1 record his junior year and advanced to state semifinals with an 11-1 mark as a senior ... threw for 1,019 yards, 15 touchdowns and two interceptions in 2012 for Coach Stacy Sizemore; he also ran for 846 yards and eight touchdowns ... Florida Class 3A all-state ... Rivals.com ranks him No. 41 nationally ... No. 95 by Scout ... No. 90 DB by 247Sports ... Prep and Sports Florida-Georgia all-star game ... son of Craig Davis
Kenny Flowers (LB; Hutchinson (Kan.) CC; Parkview HS; Lilburn, Ga.): Highly sought linebacker from the junior college ranks ... contributed 95 tackles, 6.5 TFL, 4 PBU for Coach Rion Rhoades as a redshirt freshman in 2012 after helping Hutchinson to a 9-3 record and a No. 12 national ranking ... rated No. 2 junior college ILB by 247Sports ... Georgia all-state at Parkview High for Coach Cecil Flowe ... son of Onethia Flowers and Kenny Flowers Sr. ... father played at Clemson and in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons.
Johnathan Ford (RB; New Hope HS; New Hope, Ala.): Capable in-state contributor at running back ... gained 1,669 yards, 27 touchdowns as a senior for Coach Randall Taylor ... Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game ... Class 3A first team all-state ... ranked No. 35 by Scout ... Rivals ranks him top running back prospect in Alabama ... PrepStar all-Southeast ... son of Hernandez and Terrie Ford.
Khari Harding (DB; Edmond Santa Fe HS; Edmond, Okla.): Physical hard-hitter at safety ... 109 tackles, three interceptions as a senior for Coach Lance Manning's district champions ... member of silver medalist Team USA in 2012 IFAF U-19 world championships ... No. 3 player in Oklahoma, No. 31 DB by 247Sports ... No. 43 by Scout ... PrepStar all-Midwest ... MaxPreps all-Oklahoma ... Oklahoman all-state, all-district, all-Edmond ... son of Corie Harding.
Jeremy Johnson (QB; Carver HS; Montgomery, Ala.): Talented hard-working signalcaller who was named Alabama Mr. Football for 2012 ... 3,193 yards, 31 TD passing as a senior and also rushed for 705 yards, 7 scores for Coach Billy Gresham at Carver High ... more than 8,200 career passing yards ... U.S. Army All-American Bowl ... Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic ... ranked No. 12 in Alabama, No. 14 QB by 247Sports ... Rivals No. 5 QB, No. 93 overall prospect ... Scout No. 24 ... PrepStar No. 90 overall, No. 7-ranked quarterback ... Montgomery Advertiser all-metro player of the year ... key part of Carver's 2012 state championship basketball team earning first team all-state honors ... son of LaTasha Johnson and Ojedita Johnson.
Brandon King (DB; Highland (Kan.) CC; Thompson HS; Alabaster, Ala.): Outstanding safety from the junior college ranks ... 118 tackles, 6 TFL last season at Highland CC ... first team all-Jayhawk Conference playing for coaches Mike Beagle and Ryan Held ... No. 5 junior college DB by 247Sports ... all-Shelby County pick as a senior at Thompson High for Coach Bruce Hill, recording 116 tackles, 21 TFL, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries ... son of Angelia King and Chris King.
Carl Lawson (DE; Milton HS; Alpharetta, Ga.): Top-ranked defensive end with exceptional pass rush ability ... 78 tackles, 44 TFL, 27 sacks as a senior for Coach Howie DeCristofaro ... 87 tackles, 31 TFL, 15 sacks as a junior ... 247Sports, Under Armour All-America first team ... ranked No. 1 DE, No. 24 overall by 247Sports ... top ranked DE, No. 4 player overall by Rivals ... Under Armour All-America Game ... PrepStar No. 6 player nationally, No. 2 defensive end ... Scout ranks him No. 7 ... son of Carl Lawson and Mignon Gregory ... father played fullback for Georgia Tech.
Nick Marshall (QB; Garden City (Kan.) CC; Wilcox County HS; Rochelle, Ga.): Talented dual-threat quarterback from the junior college ranks ... passed for 3,142 yards, 18 TD and rushed for 1,095 yards, 19 TD for Coach Jeff Tatum at Garden City in 2012 ... No. 4 junior college QB by 247Sports ... played in 13 games at corner for Georgia in 2011 ... 2010 Georgia Sports Writers Association Class A Offensive Player of the Year for Coach Mark Ledford at Wilcox County ... Atlanta Journal-Constitution "Super 11" selection, Class A Offensive Player of the Year ... two-time Macon Telegraph Middle Georgia Offensive Player of the Year... led Wilcox County to the Class A title as a junior ... set GHSA career record with 103 TD passes ... son of Shalina Cliett.
Kamryn Melton (DB; Dothan HS; Dothan, Ala.): Tremendous in-state cornerback prospect ... recorded 64 tackles, two interceptions, eight PBU as a senior for Coach Kelvis White ... 63 tackles, seven PBU as a junior ... forced two turnovers in Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game ... AL.com Top 15 A-List ... No. 35-ranked corner by Rivals ... No. 47 by Scout ... No. 20 prospect in Alabama, No. 48 DB by 247Sports ... Dothan Eagle Super 12 ... son of Zann Melton and James Melton.
Deon Mix (OL; South Panola HS; Batesville, Miss.): Versatile, physical offensive guard prospect ... first team all-state for Coach Lance Pogue ... U.S. Army All-American Bowl ... PrepStar All-America ... ranked No. 39 by Scout ... No. 5 player in Mississippi, No. 15 OL by Rivals ... No. 10 in Mississippi, No. 35 OG by 247Sports ... Clarion-Ledger Dandy Dozen ... MaxPreps Mississippi Fab Five ... son of Shonda Hervey
Tony Stevens (WR; Evans HS; Orlando, Fla.): Speedy wideout who excels at the deep ball ... 29 receptions, 516 yards, seven touchdowns as a senior for Coach Chip Gierke ... U.S. Army All-American Bowl ... No. 5 in Orlando Sentinel Central Florida Super60 ... PrepStar All-America ... ranked No. 95 overall, No. 11 receiver by Rivals ... No. 21 by Scout ... No. 23 in Florida, No. 24 WR by 247Sports ... ESPN 300 ... son of Keon Martin.
Cameron Toney (LB; Huntsville HS; Huntsville, Ala.): Athletic linebacker with plenty of skills ... recorded 107 tackles as a senior for Coach Scott Sharp ... tallied 122 tackles as a junior ... AL.com Top 15 A-List ... ranked No. 23 by Scout ... No. 14 in Alabama, No. 21 LB by 247Sports ... Huntsville Times Elite Team ... Class 6A Alabama honorable mention all-state ... PrepStar all-Southeast ... son of Taryn Toney
Dominic Walker (WR; Evans HS; Orlando, FL): Physical prospect at wide receiver ... 36 receptions for 628 yards with seven touchdowns as a senior ... played both receiver and safety for Coach Chip Gierke, helping the Trojans to consecutive district titles ... No. 16 in Orlando Sentinel Central Florida Super60 ... 247Sports Top 150 WR, Top 160 in Florida ... PrepStar all-Southeast ... ranked No. 95 receiver by Rivals ... No. 77 by Scout ... Offense/Defense All-America Bowl ... son of Angela Collett.