Auburn leading rusher JaTarvious Whitlow enters NCAA transfer portal, per reports

Auburn will have a new leading rusher in 2020, as running back JaTarvious “Boobee” Whitlow has entered the NCAA transfer portal. It was first reported by 247Sports’ Brandon Marcello and that Whitlow will be exploring his options elsewhere. 

Whitlow led the Tigers in rushing in each of the past two seasons. As a redshirt freshman in 2018, he finished with 787 rushing yards, and this past season he tallied 763 yards on the ground. Auburn also lost Kam Martin, the team’s third-leading rusher, to graduation, so the departure of Whitlow would be an additional blow to the team’s depth chart at running back.

The blow might not be as impactful as it would seem on the surface, however. While Whitlow led the team in rushing last season, he averaged only 4.9 yards per carry. In fact, as a whole, Auburn’s run game wasn’t spectacular in 2019. While it finished fourth in the SEC in rushing yards per game at 199.1, that total was based more on volume than quality. Auburn’s team average of 4.7 yards per carry ranked eighth in the conference and 48th nationally.

Without Whitlow in 2020, D.J. Williams seems to be the favorite to take on his carries. The sophomore averaged 9.3 carries per game last season, and finished second on the team with 400 rushing yards. Another name to keep an eye out for would be Tank Bigsby. Bigsby not only has an awesome name for a running back, but the four-star member of Auburn’s 2020 recruiting class signed in December and enrolled early. The Georgia native rated as the No. 4 overall running back in the 2020 class, and he’ll be practicing with the team this spring and summer.

The Tigers offense, which will be operating under the direction of new offensive coordinator Chad Morris, also have Shaun Shivers, Harold Joiner, Mark-Antony Richards and Malik Miller returning to the backfield roster in 2020 as well. 

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