Auburn's Montravius Adams is ready for a breakout season
A lot has been made this offseason about the impact that former Florida head coach Will Muschamp would have on Auburn as the Tigers’ new defensive coordinator, and things got off to a solid start for the defense in Auburn’s 31-24 win Saturday over Louisville — even though the Cardinals made it very interesting for the Tigers towards the end of the game.
Several players performed well, but one who stands out as a potential breakout star is defensive tackle Montravius Adams.
His biggest play of the game came in the second quarter when his penetration into Louisville’s backfield helped force a botched hand-off, which led to a fumble recovery and 82-yard return for a touchdown by teammate Justin Garrett.
The interesting thing is that Adams was barely average against the run last season, according to our grading — where he stood out was as an interior pass-rusher, ranking fifth in college football against Power-5 competition in our pass-rushing productivity stat. If he can consistently produce as a run defender what we saw in his performance Saturday against the Cardinals, we could be talking about one of the best defensive players in the SEC by season’s end.
(He also has the added cool factor of being a D-lineman with a single-digit jersey number — 1 — which automatically boosts his breakout potential.)
Auburn figures to again be a strong contender in a crowded SEC West, and how well Muschamp’s defense can keep up with Gus Malzahn’s perennially productive offense will be a key factor. Auburn’s D was a slightly above-average unit last season in our grading, struggling some in pass coverage and against the run but faring better in terms of pass-rush ability. The Tigers got off to a good start in turning things around on Saturday, and alongside edge rusher Carl Lawson, Adams is a player to keep an eye on moving forward.