Just days after being arrested for suspected theft, Elijah Daniel has been asked to leave the Auburn football program. Auburn announced the latest roster decision Saturday.
As previously reported, Daniel was one of three suspects in a theft investigation on campus. Daniel and two other former Auburn athletes — DeNorris James and Khalil Sellers — were the primary suspects in an on-campus theft investigation following various incidents over Auburn’s spring break. Daniel was charged with four counts of theft of property and four counts of burglary. Between the eight charges, six are considered felonies.
Daniel played in 13 games for the Tigers last fall, and he started in two of them.
Another day, another player getting into some sort of legal trouble. This time we head down to Auburn, where defensive end Elijah Daniel was arrested for suspected theft at a campus dorm.
According to a police report from the Auburn Police Division, Daniel and two former Auburn athletes — DeNorris James (linebacker) and Khalil Sellers — were primary suspects in an investigation over the past month. All three were arrested Wednesday night and were eligible for a $24,000 bond according to Al.com. Each suspect was charged with four theft or property charges and four burglary charges. Police have not decided to file any additional charges, but more may be a possibility as more information is gathered. The thefts were reported over spring break in March, with on-campus residents reporting the loss of electronics and jewelry.
Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn has suspended Daniel indefinitely while the legal process plays out. Daniel has started two games in his time with the Tigers. James was a walk on that was removed from the roster after spring practices. Sellers is a former Auburn track walk on.
If Auburn was hoping to find ways to bring down Alabama quarterback Blake Sims, the Tigers may have to look for someone else on the defensive line to step up. Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn announced Tuesday defensive end DaVonte Lambert will miss the Iron Bowl and Auburn’s bowl game after undergoing season-ending surgery on his left knee on Monday.
“That’s a big blow for us,” Malzahn said, per The Montgomery Advertiser. “We’re going to need some guys to step up.”
Lambert led the defense with 3.5 sacks this season. Montravius Adams and Angelo Blackson each have three sacks. Adams is also second on the team in tackles for loss, so he may be the most likely name to watch try and fill the void left by Lambert.
Lambert had been listed as the starting defensive end for Auburn on this week’s depth chart for the Alabama game. Sophomore Elijah Daniel (3.5 tackles for loss, 1.0 sacks) is listed as his back-up.
“He’s a factor,” Malzahn said. “But we need some other guys to step up. Football’s a team game and when you’re playing against your rival, it’s got the ability to have guys step up and play better than they have all year, and that’s what we need.”
Getting sacks against Alabama is tough enough. The Crimson Tide have allowed just 10.0 sacks all season. Auburn has just 19.0 sacks this season as well. Losing one of their better sack specialists could be tough to overcome.
Five different Auburn defensive players have been hit or limited with injuries this spring for the defending SEC champions.
According to Al.com,senior defensive back Robenson Therezie has a broken left hand,sophomore defensive lineman Elijah Daniel is out with a groin injury,sophomore linebacker JaViere Mitchell is missing the spring while still rehabbing from a broken foot suffered during the SEC Championship Game against Missouri, and junior linebacker Cassanova McKinzy is limited due to a bruised hip bone. Auburn is also playing it safe with junior safety Josh Holsey, who is working his way back from a torn ACL. The report says he could be practicing right now, but there is no need to rush him back at this point.
With the injuries this spring, Auburn has had to move some players around to fill holes. One defensive move made was moving defensive tackle Montravius Adams to the end to fill the hole left by Daniel. Defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson does not believe this will be a permanent move, which means Adams will go back to the inside once Daniel is back and ready to go. Justin Garrett, who had a foot injury slow him down a year ago, has been moving between linebacker spots, and he has been showing some promise.
“Justin has been very unselfish,” Johnson said, according to Al.com. “I hope he can return to the Justin Garrett we remember from last spring.”