Smoke Monday will return to the Auburn Tigers and play for new head coach Bryan Harsin.
“First off, I would like to say I’m very grateful to be an Auburn Tiger,” wrote Monday on Wednesday on Instagram. “The atmosphere is so electric and fun to experience. I would like to thank Coach Malzahn for everything he’s done for, along with all of the other coaches that have had a hand in my development as a student, an athlete and the man I am today.
“… I would also like to thank Coach Harsin for being real with me and understanding the hardship that this team has went through and providing us the space to finish out the season. I believe he will do great things at Auburn. Last but not least I would like to give a special thanks to my teammates for believing in me.”
“My family and I have thought about this for a long time, so with that being said I will be returning to Auburn University for my senior season and will not be entering the 2021 NFL Draft.”
How good can Auburn football be under Bryan Harsin in 2021?
Auburn went 6-5 in Gus Malzahn’s final year at Auburn. While that mark in a 10-game, SEC-only conference schedule in the middle of a global pandemic would have given a good head coach like Malzahn another year, Auburn felt it was time to move on from its long-time had coach anyway. Harsin is no slouch, as he dominated at his alma mater Boise State. However, this is the SEC.
What will aid Auburn in 2021 is the SEC will presumptively go back to an eight-game conference schedule. The Tigers should be able to pick up a few more wins in their non-conference slate. What helps Auburn as well is the SEC schedule lines up favorably for the Tigers, as they will host their two biggest rivals in the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Georgia Bulldogs at Jordan-Hare.
Monday opting to come back illustrates the leadership he has on this defense. He will be a candidate to be First-Team All-SEC next season, as well as achieve All-American status if Auburn has one of those prototypical great out-of-nowhere years War Eagle Nation gets from time to time. By choosing to come back to school, Auburn got better on Wednesday by keeping Monday.
Auburn keeping its all-conference safety will do wonders for Harsin in year one.