The news wasn’t all bad for Auburn at SEC Media Days.
After discussing his starting quarterback situation while also confirming the worst when it comes to one of his top returning defensive linemen, Gus Malzahn revealed that two Tigers — wide receiver Jaylon Denson and linebacker Justin Garrett — have been granted medical hardship waivers by the NCAA. The ruling means that each player, both juniors, will get back one year of eligibility.
Denson tore a patellar tendon in his left leg during the Sept. 21 loss to LSU and missed the final eight games of the of the regular season as well as the BCS title game, qualifying him for the waiver. Garrett played in only two games last seasons after suffering a pair of foot injuries, one during summer camp and one early on in the season.
Denson was listed as a starter at the time of his injury, while Garrett was projected as the starter prior to his health issues.
A torn torn patellar tendon was to blame for the early end to Auburn wide receiver Jaylon Denson‘s 2013 season. The injury was suffered against LSU last September, before Auburn’s run to the SEC championship could have been seen as a realistic possibility. Denson’s road back to the playing field took a big step forward on Tuesday by running his first routes since going down to the injury.
Denson was responsible for three receptions and 45 receiving yards in his brief junior season last fall, but is regarded as a dependable target for the Auburn offense. Denson was a four-star recruit out of Hoover, Alabama in the Class of 2011. He has yet to have much of an impact on the field for the Tigers, but if he returns healthy and can stay on the field, he could add a little bit of a veteran presence in the Auburn passing game, which was led by a youthful mix last fall with sophomores Sammie Coates and Ricardo Louis and freshman Marcus Davis. At this point it is not expected Denson will become a go-to receiver, but having a receiver with good hands should make the Auburn offense a bit more dangerous in the fall with opposing defenses struggling to lock down on all targets.
Denson was held out of spring practices while he continued to rehab.
A game wasn’t the only thing Auburn (likely) lost in Death Valley Saturday evening.
While there has been no official word yet from the football program, it appears as if Jaylon Denson‘s season has come to a premature end. AuburnSports.com is reporting that the wide receiver suffered a torn patellar tendon and will not play again in 2013.
Denson suffered the injury early on in the loss to LSU Saturday night after slipping on a field that had been deluged by “a stiff, wind-driven dew.” The AU coaching staff would only allow that the player is “probably” done for the year.
“I won’t get into any specifics, but we lost Jaylon on that first drive, and it’s not good, we’ve probably lost him for the year,” offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said. “That’s a big loss for us. He’s a guy that’s really been the leader for us, plays a lot of snaps, does a lot of things that maybe people don’t see.”
Denson was listed as a starting receiver and had three catches for 45 yards in 2013. The junior took to social media Monday to vow a return, presumably next season.
“I’m down.. But best believe I’m not out!” Denson wrote on Instagram by way of al.com. “The SEC has not seen the last of me! I will bounce back & come back stronger & harder than ever before!”
The first half could not have gone too much worse for Auburn. The visiting Tigers lost a wide receiver to an injury, had a punt nearly fumbled away by the punter and LSU has dominated en route to a 21-0 halftime lead. LSU running back Jeremy Hill has rushed for a career high 153 rushing yards and two touchdowns. It has helped that LSU has a significant advantage in the trenches going in their favor right now.
While the LSU o-line has been opening up highway-sized lanes for Hill, the defensive line has been consistent in bringing pressure ton Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall and slowing down any momentum in the running game. Perhaps surprisingly, LSU has yet to sack Marshall, while Auburn has recorded two sacks of Zach Mettenberger. Auburn is just 1-for-8 on third down conversions as well.
In the first quarter, Auburn wide receiver Jaylon Denson slipped and fell to the soggy field. He would not get up until trainers attended to him, wrapped his leg in an inflatable brace and lifted him to a cart to be removed from the field.
LSU is looking very solid and if they can continue to pound Auburn the way they did in the first half, these Tigers should start to get even more people talking about them as a legitimate threat to Alabama’s SEC and BCS throne.