Usually, when a team goes into a new season without its top two receiving options and a two-year starter at quarterback from the year before, there’s reason to panic when it comes to the passing game.
Jarrett Stidham, Ryan Davis and Darius Slayton are all off to the NFL. However, while those circumstances match Auburn in 2019, a bevy of young, exciting talent at wide receiver will help the Tigers overcome the losses.
Likely to be the Tiger’s number one receiver in 2019, Williams burst onto the season in 2018 as a true freshman with 546 yards and five touchdowns, tied for the most among Auburn receivers.
The Cottondale native has elite size at 6-foot-3, 224 pounds. To go along with that, Williams has soft hands and is excellent at using his big body to position himself correctly.
He was able to show his worth during A-Day where he caught all four of his targets for 103 yards and two touchdowns
Williams is a match-up nightmare for opposing corners and regardless of who is throwing him the ball in 2019, the sophomore has a chance to be one of the better wideouts in the conference.
Another player who had a solid campaign as a true freshman in 2018, Schwartz is a true home-run threat every time he touches the ball.
Quite possibly the fastest player in college football, Schwartz, a member of the Auburn track team, used that speed to gain 568 total yards from scrimmage along with seven touchdowns. (two receiving and five rushing).
Schwartz did not participate in the Tigers' spring game due to obligations with the track team, but the sophomore will no doubt have a chance to make his mark as Auburn’s most versatile offensive weapon in the revamped offense.
After recovering from a torn ACL for the majority of the 2018 season, junior wideout Eli Stove is healthy and ready to contribute.
Like Schwartz, Stove is a blazingly fast, versatile player who can contribute in both the passing and running game.
In 2017, Stove recorded 580 total yards from scrimmage and if the recovery has gone well, expect the Niceville, Florida native to add yet another level of speed and depth to the Tigers' 2019 receiver core.
Stove looked impressive during A-Day where he able to snag four receptions for 68 yards and a touchdown.
The star of Auburn’s spring game, Hill, a redshirt freshman from Lawrenceville, Georgia, could be a surprise star for the Tigers in 2019.
Hill obviously has developed a strong repertoire with Tiger quarterbacks as he saw seven targets come his way during the spring game. He turned that into five receptions for 127 yards and two touchdowns.
"It meant a lot to me, because all my work is now showing off," Hill said after A-Day. "All spring, I've been showing the coaches why I should've played last year. It was also like a confidence thing. I just had to sit down and just think about building confidence with the offense and just learn it. Now that I've learned it and am confident, there's much more to come."
Although the former Under Armour All-American didn’t get much of a chance to showcase his skills in 2018, Hill projects to be an integral part of the Auburn receiving group this coming season.
Similarly to Stove, Hastings sat out the majority of 2018 nursing an ACL injury. Now healthy, Hastings, the most veteran wide receiver on the Tigers’ roster, is ready to once again make an impact.
Coming to The Plains as a walk-on kicker, Hastings, who sits at 5-foot-10 and 174 pounds, has become one of the most underrated pieces of the Auburn offense the last few years.
Hastings was the No. 3 receiver option in 2017 behind Slayton and Davis, recording 525 yards and four touchdowns.
Providing quick, crisp route-running and a veteran presence, Hastings could be a strong security blanket for Joey Gatewood or Bo Nix in 2019.
The converted tight end has yet to transform into a major impact player during his two years on The Plains.
In 2018, Cannella was used primarily as a red-zone target, catching 12 balls for 111 yards and three touchdowns.
The 6-foot-5, 228-pound senior obviously has the size to be a major threat in the Auburn offense but 2019 will likely be the last chance the senior receiver has to develop into more of an offensive mainstay.
The former JUCO product only produced one catch for eight yards on A-Day but with Cannella’s excellent size and tight end skills, his impact could greatly be felt in short-yardage, red-zone opportunities.
McClain has been patiently waiting for a chance to shine since he arrived on The Plains in 2016.
The redshirt junior from Crestview, Florida has a great combination of size (6-foot-2, 224 pounds) and speed but despite participating in every game in 2018, McClain has yet to make a major impact.
McClain didn’t record a single reception in 2018 but now, as an upperclassman, the former three-star prospect is more confident than ever.
“I want to be the guy with the game on the line. I want the ball,” McClain said in April.
The redshirt junior reeled in three of six targets for 26 yards on A-Day and as one of the Tiger’s most veteran wideouts, McClain may finally get a chance to make his mark.
Among others who could make an impact in the Tigers' passing game, speedy sophomore and nephew of Bo Jackson, Shedrick Jackson has the talent to warrant a role in 2019.
Former three-star prospect Kolbi Fuqua announced last month he would enter the NCAA transfer portal.
Less than a month later, he decided to pull his name out of the transfer portal and remain in Auburn. The redshirt freshman recorded three catches for 18 yards on A-Day and could work his way into the playing rotation this season.
A trio of walk-ons: redshirt freshman Jackson McFadden, senior Pace Ozmint and junior James Owens Moss all recorded a catch or more at Auburn’s spring game but will likely be used solely for depth purposes.
Despite losing its top two receivers from the previous year, Auburn enters 2019 optimistic, talented and deep.
The return of both Hastings and Stove will help offset the losses of Davis and Slayton and the Tigers have a sophomore duo in Williams and Schwartz that are talented enough to be among the SEC’s best.
Hill and McClain are strong breakout candidates but all in all, if the Tigers’ wide receiver corps can stay healthy, their speed and overall talent could vault Auburn’s offense to the next level in 2019.