football Edit

Faulk raising personal expectations

Keldric Faulk had a great mentor during his freshman season at Auburn in Marcus Harris. The veteran showed the young man from Highland Home, Ala., the ropes. Now, with Harris gone to the pros, Faulk is ready to take on the role of voice of the defensive line.

"He (Harris) knew ball," Faulk said. "He played hard. That's kinda what I'm trying to take over this year. I want to take over that leadership role on the defense."

Faulk got off to a great start in 2023, posting 35 tackles, with 3.5 tackles for a loss and a sack. He has raised his expectations in a massive way for 2024, hoping to fill the void left by Harris' departure.

"I want to be 10 times the player that I was last year," he said. "I had a pretty decent freshman year. I want my sacks to go up tremendously. I want to have eight-plus sacks this year, 30- to 40-plus tackles. I want to put myself in a better position for my future."

Not that everything went smoothly for Faulk last year. He admits that the jump from Highland Home to playing in the SEC was challenging and that it took some time to adjust to being away from home and the rigor of college practices. Luckily for the Tigers, he was able to enroll early and get his legs underneath him in spring practice, making fall a bit easier.

It still hit him when game time came, though.

"Of course, in the SEC, I like to compare it to a mini NFL," Faulk said. "You see some of the best guys in the world play in the SEC. Those guys in the SEC go play in the league. I took it as I'm playing future NFL players."

That experience is helping Faulk mentor a freshman this season in Amaris Williams. And according to Faulk, Williams has a bright future ahead of him.

"He can pass rush," Faulk said. "He can fit the run. He needs to get his technique down, but that's pretty common coming in as a freshman. He's eager to learn. He works hard. Whenever he needs help on anything, he always comes and asks. He doesn't try to just go and figure it out on his own."

As for the differences he sees between last year's defense led by Ron Roberts, and now with D.J. Durkin, one word kept popping up: energy.

"He coaches with energy and compassion," Faulk said. "When he comes out there fired up, it gets everybody else fired up. Shoot, we're ready to run through a wall for him."