Tony Vance and his staff have produced some highly talented and sought after athletes over the last few years.
Former quarterback Jarod Conner and former defensive lineman Jaren Handy were two of those players that were recruited by numerous big-time programs.
After being selected to the Dandy Dozen and as 5A Mr. Football for Mississippi, Conner was recruited by Memphis, Southern Miss, Tulane, Arkansas State, and others before ultimately committing to and signing with Ole Miss.
Conner’s role at Ole Miss is slightly different than it was at Hattiesburg as he was recruited strictly as a running back. During his senior year at Hattiesburg, Conner rushed for 1,622 yards and 27 touchdowns.
Conner points to his early enrollment at Ole Miss as the reason for his early success with the team.
“It helped me a lot during fall camp. In the spring I was moving but didn’t really know what I was doing. Now that I’m in fall camp, I’m better prepared for it,” Conner said in an article written by 24/7 Sports.
Conner is taking first-team snaps during fall camp, and many think he will be the primary back up to senior running back Scottie Phillips. Conner will compete for snaps alongside true freshman, 5-star, dual-sport, athlete Jerrion Ealy.
When asked about his rise on the depth chart, Conner insisted he didn’t pay attention to that and is focusing on working hard in practice to make himself and his team better.
As a four-star recruit, Handy was recruited by Florida, LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, and others before committing to and signing with Auburn.
Handy said he decided to go to Auburn because of the pedigree of success that Auburn’s defensive linemen have had.
“Auburn is D-Line U,” Handy said in regard to Auburn’s defensive line coaching prowess.
Handy’s size and work ethic are not only turning the heads of the Auburn coaching staff, but also his defensive teammates.
Senior defensive end Marlon David talking about Jaren Handy, 24/7 Sports
“…The young guys, they showed us a lot, especially Jaren Handy. He stepped up big time, and I appreciate the fight that he had.,” Senior Marlon David said.
Many players expect Handy to play a lot as a true freshman this season. Handy may have to move around the line, but Davidson doesn’t think that will affect Handy.
“[He] can play either way,” Davidson said. “He can play tackle or end. He’s that good of a player.”
Conner and Handy will meet each other on the field November 2nd, when Auburn hosts Ole Miss at Jordan-Hare Stadium.