Loss of Jarquez Hunter would change Auburn's dynamic 'quite a bit'

NS_headshot_clearbackgroundby:Nick Schultz06/18/23


Last month, Auburn announced “indefinite suspensions” in light of an alleged video of Jarquez Hunter making its way across social media. There haven’t been many updates since, leading to questions about when he’ll be back on the field.

Auburn Live beat reporter Justin Hokanson confirmed Hunter is part of an investigation by the university. However, it’s unclear if he’ll be available for fall camp in August. As for who would fill in for him, that’s another question. There are options, but Hunter would leave some big shoes.

Until more information comes from the university, Hokanson told On3’s J.D. PicKell it’s hard to project what’s next for Hunter.

“Yeah, that changes the dynamic quite a bit of what we think Auburn can do,” Hokanson said of Hunter’s potential absence on On3 Roundtable. “And again, there’s a lot unknown. We just know that Jarquez Hunter is involved in a university investigation. Past that, we really don’t know many details. So until we do, we have to at least talk about the fact that he might not be available when August fall camp starts. And if he’s not practicing, then what? So like, until we have a clear statement from the university, we don’t know.

“So if he were to not be available for a game or multiple games or whatever, if Auburn rolls in there and we’re not sure about him, it changes a lot. I mean Damari Alston’s a sophomore with just a couple of carries as a true freshman. Brian Battie coming from South Florida is a talented kid, but he’s small. He’s an elusive speed back, [170 pounds], maybe.”

Hunter is Auburn’s top returning playmaker this season. He came in at No. 56 in On3’s Top 100 College Football Player in 2023, which is why his potential absence is concerning from an on-field standpoint. Last season, he totaled 668 yards and seven touchdowns to trail Tank Bigsby and Robby Ashford on the roster.

He can impact the game in both the running and passing games, and Hokanson said all eyes will be on fall camp to see if Hunter will be on the field. If he’s not, more questions will likely come about.

“Jarquez Hunter is an all-around guy,” Hokanson said. “Powerful, fast, catch out of the backfield, All-SEC type back. If he’s not available, that changes everything. So, we’re kind of just waiting and seeing right now. You know, we’re just sort of waiting to see if he’s cleared. Let’s get to Aug. 1 and see what the status is, if he’s practicing.

“If we get to that point and we start fall camp, and he’s not out there, then I think we start going, ‘Okay, fall camp starting and he’s not available?’ Now, we have to start considering is he going to be there for Game 1 or Game 2.”