After the departure of veteran cornerback Jamel Dean, who declared for the 2019 draft in December, a hole must be filled in the Auburn secondary. That hole will likely be filled by junior cornerback Noah Igbinoghene.
After switching from wide receiver to defensive back in his sophomore year, Igbinoghene was a main contributor on both the Tiger defense and in the return game.
In 13 games played last season, Igbinoghene registered only one interception. However, his 50 total tackles ranked fifth on the team and his 12 passes deflected led all Tigers.
With another year under his belt, the former wide receiver is ready, now more than ever, to lead the Auburn secondary.
“It’s so much (about) confidence. I think playing corner is one of the hardest positions on the field because you’re just by yourself. I’m getting way more confident, I’m getting way more feel for the game,” he said.
Other than Dean, Auburn returns its entire secondary from 2018, which includes seniors Javaris Davis, Daniel Thomas and Jeremiah Dinson, junior Jordyn Peters and sophomore Smoke Monday.
After Saturday’s spring practice, Igbinoghene singled out a few players who are carving out roles for themselves on the defensive side of the ball.
“I think today was more for like, the young guys. … We had some young guys step up today, so it was fun to see,” he said. “On defense, Travion Leonard, Devan Barrett, Roger McCreary, all of our corners for real.”
The Auburn defense had its ups and downs in 2018, but the Tigers return much of the talent on that side of the ball and with one more year of experience, players like Igbinoghene are ready to take the next step and bring the defense to the next level.
“It’s just different. I don’t know what it is this spring, but we all want to get better every single day. No matter if we make mistakes, we always get up and we just fight for the next play — that’s what coach preaches to us all day. That’s what I’ve seen from this defense. I think we’re going to be special in the fall,” he said.
Igbinoghene and the Auburn secondary will have a chance to prove themselves this Saturday at 3 p.m. in the Tigers annual A-Day spring game in Jordan-Hare Stadium.