In a surprising development, talented sophomore buck end Richard Jibunor has decided he will no longer be an Auburn Tiger. The native Nigerian announced on Saturday that he would be entering the NCAA's transfer portal.
The 6-foot-3, 218-pound linebacker/defensive end hybrid played well as a true freshman in 2018. In 10 games, Jibunor recorded eight tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss, two sacks and a forced fumble.
Jibunor, a freak athlete and former four-star recruit, looked solid on A-Day and was expected to see an increased role this season despite the established talent already on the Tigers’ defensive line. Jibunor made two tackles and a sack for a loss of seven yards in the A-Day game.
While Jibunor was seen as a raw prospect, his speed, athleticism and long frame made him a tantalizing addition to the Auburn defense.
Jibunor’s decision is seen as a surprise to many.
Early last fall, head coach Gus Malzahn even floated the idea of Jibunor taking on an increased role on third downs.
"He could because he has a unique skill set," he said. "He can run, and he is not scared."
Malzahn confirmed and briefly commented on Jibunor’s transfer at an AMBUSH Tour stop in Columbus, Georgia on Monday.
“He’s entered the portal, and he’s going to be somewhere next year — somewhere else next year,” Malzahn said, according to AL.com. “We wish him the best.”
Jibunor’s departure will hurt Auburn’s pass-rush depth but will open the door for other talented defensive ends and linebackers on the roster.
Jibunor, a native of Athens, Georgia, signed with the Tigers as part of the class of 2018 as a four-star athlete, ranked as the 309th best player overall in the nation, according to 247Sports. Jibunor came to Auburn in the proverbial doghouse of Malzahn because of his December 2017 arrest on multiple charges, including a DUI.