Despite not playing collegiately till his junior year, Kevin Greene is one of Auburn football’s most famous sons. He’s definitely Auburn’s most famous walk-on. Playing linebacker in just eight games as a senior, he led the SEC in sacks in 1984 and won Auburn’s Zeke Smith Award as the team’s best defensive player.
With just two thirds of a season under his belt, he was drafted 5th round in the 1985 NFL Draft by Los Angeles Rams. Greene felt confident he would make the team during training camp because of the way he was trained at Auburn. “It was a blessing to play under Pat Dye and his staff,” said Greene. “What we went through down on the Plains in the early 80s literally lasted me a lifetime in the NFL.”
He went onto a 15 year career with the Rams, Steelers, Panthers, and 49’ers finishing his career leading all linebackers with 160 sacks and playing in five Pro Bowls. Now after being a five time Hall of Fame finalist, Greene will be the second Auburn player to ever be inducted into the NFL Hall. He will be joining former center Frank “Gunner” Gatsi in the NFL’s exclusive club.
Greene said, “To think that I’m one of the few that have received this honor is just humbling. It’s humbling … (and) All because of what I went through down at Auburn.”
The NFL Network will televise The Gold Jacket Dinner on Thursday, Aug. 4 and ESPN and the NFL Network will broadcast the NFL Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony on Saturday at 7 p.m. EDT.
Auburn may have a future hall of famer on campus this year. According to analytics company ProFootballFocus (PFF), Braden Smith was the best offensive guard in the SEC last season. PFF rated the senior as the most efficient pass blocker in the nation’s toughest conference.
Gus Malzah echoed their confidence in Braden. “He’s one of the better overall offensive lineman in our league,” said Gus. “He’s a good pass protector, a good run blocker and he’s got experience. Very athletic, he’s very strong and competitive and smart. He’s got everything you want.”
Because of Smith and left guard Alex Kozan, PFF also ranks Auburn’s offensive line at No. 8 nationally.
Speaking of rankings, Auburn’s 2017 recruiting class has been on an increasingly upward spiral. In the spring, the Tiger class was rated 45th but with Thursday’s commitment of Devan Barrett, the top athlete in Florida (Tampa Catholic), the Tigers have moved up to 12th.
The four star athlete is the third running back to commit to the Tigers; choosing Auburn over Florida, Florida State, Tennessee and Notre Dame.
Basketball coach Bruce Pearl thinks this may be the year he takes the Tigers to the post season. “I thought last year we had a chance to get to the middle of the league and be more competitive (but). I think this year we can take another step and be a postseason team,” Pearl said. “In my third season at Auburn, I believe we should get to the NCAA Tournament and advance.”
Finally Football college football teams will have fewer days of live-contact practices this fall after a recommendation by the Division I Football Oversight Committee. Teams are currently allowed two contact practices per week but will see that number reduced to once per week.
When I first heard of the new rule, I thought, “Here we go again. The NCAA is passing more rules just to be passing rules.” However, the committee said their intent is to improve player safety by reducing the incidence of concussions – and that’s a good thing.
Until next time …
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