February 5, 2009

Freeman, Fairley are impact signees

Looking for who can make the biggest early impact in Auburn's newly minted 2009 class? It probably starts with linebacker Eltoro Freeman.

The 5-foot-11, 223-pound Freeman has already enrolled at Auburn and will go through spring drills, which start Mar. 24.

"You talk about an excitable guy, now, he's exciting to have around," AU head coach Gene Chizik said. "He's what you're looking for at that position. He's physical. He runs well. He's excited about being at Auburn. I think it's huge that you get him here mid-year. That gives him a chance to get into the defense."

With AU's lack of depth at the linebacker position, Freeman should push for the starting position at weakside linebacker.

"(Defensive coordinator) Ted Roof is going to do a great job of working with him and getting him prepared to fit in this defense somewhere and challenge for a job," Chizik said. "Obviously, when they come in January, their chances of playing certainly go up some compared to if he came in May or June."

A bonus for Freeman is that he'll begin his Auburn career as a sophomore with three years of eligibility remaining, which is unusual for a junior college transfer.

Fortunately for Auburn, defensive line signee Nick Fairley, who will join the team this summer, also comes in with three years of eligibility. The 6-foot-4, 295-pound Fairley could help fill the void left by NFL-bound Sen'Derrick Marks.

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