Don’t be alarmed that 3 Auburn football players are transferring (and if more follow) – Montgomery Advertiser

There were a few noticeable absences for Auburn football at last month’s A-Day spring game: Players who have started games in the past as well as those projected to play roles in the future.

Coach Bryan Harsin declined to go into specifics about the “various reasons” why they were not present, simply stating they “just weren’t a part of what we were doing today.”

“Those things happen,” he continued. “As we move into the next phase, those things will be revisited. And then we’ll get in the summer, and we’ll have new players coming in. Then we’ll go from there.”

Two of the absent players – outside linebacker Jaren Handy and defensive tackle Jay Hardy – entered their names into the transfer portal on Friday and Monday, respectively. Another player who did participate on A-Day – reserve quarterback Chayil Garnett – did, as well. It’s always possible that more could follow in the coming days, weeks and months.

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But these transfers are not something Auburn fans should be overly concerned about, even if they are taking place well after the initial flurry – Mark-Antony Richards, Cord Sandberg, D.J. Williams, Big Kat Bryant, Daquan Newkirk and Kamaar Bell – sparked by a staff turnover that saw coach Gus Malzahn and nine of his assistants replaced. The timing actually makes perfect sense.

Spring practice ended two weeks ago, so players have a good idea of where they stand on the depth chart. The NCAA approved one-time transfer legislation last week, so players know they can play immediately next season. Auburn’s spring semester ended Friday, so players’ academic affairs should be in order.

Maybe Handy and Hardy – four-star recruits in the 2019 and 2020 classes, respectively – felt the amount of playing time they were after wasn’t going to be available to them this season.

Garnett, a three-star quarterback who committed to Kenny Dillingham and signed with Chad Morris, might have seen the presence of four-star freshman Dematrius Davis and incoming addition of three-star 2022 commitment Holden Geriner as the writing on the wall.

They’re far from the only players looking for fresh starts. New names from schools at every level across the country pop up in the transfer portal daily. And it gives as well as takes – Auburn already has brought in two potential impact transfers in Northwestern outside linebacker Eku Leota and West Virginia cornerback Dreshun Miller, and it would probably love to add Vanderbilt safety Donovan Kaufman, too.

So unless Auburn players slated to play starring roles start exiting the program, don’t fret. Offseason roster turnover comes for all programs.

Josh Vitale is the Auburn beat writer for the Montgomery Advertiser. You can follow him on Twitter at @JoshVitale. To reach him by email, click here.

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