Shaun Shivers: 'No one is better than' Auburn's trio of 2018 running backs


Following the Sunday commitment of four-star prospect Harold Joiner, the state's top-rated running back, the Tigers now have three backs committed to their 2018 class. Two of those, four-star prospects Asa Martin and Shaun Shivers, are already signed, while Martin is already on campus as an early enrollee.

That trio gives Auburn three of the nation's top-21 overall running back recruits, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, with only Ohio State (three of the top 15) securing a better overall haul a little more than three weeks out from National Signing Day. Georgia has secured two of the nation's top-five running backs, while Miami has two of the top 11. If you ask Shivers, though, none of those teams compares to what Auburn has coming in 2018.

"We got the best backs in the nation," said Shivers, who took his official visit over the weekend. "No one is better than us three put on the same team. We're just going to do what we do when we get here. We're going to have the best backfield for the next three to four or five years. We're just going to do what we do."

Each of Auburn's three running backs in the 2018 class bring something different to the table.

Martin, rated as the nation's No. 12 running back and the No. 6 player in Alabama, signed during the early signing period and will go through spring practice as the Tigers try to replace their top two running backs, Kerryon Johnson and Kamryn Pettway. He fits in a similar mold to Johnson, who led the SEC in rushing this past season while taking home SEC Offensive Player of the Year honors.

Joiner is the nation's No. 5 running back and the No. 3 player in Alabama. While his primary position is running back, Auburn could use him similarly to how Gus Malzahn used running back/wide receiver Charles Clay -- now a tight end for the Buffalo Bills -- while at Tulsa in 2007.

"He's a dude," Shivers said of Joiner. "Harold, that boy's a dude. He can do it all. He can do it out of the backfield. He can line up in the slot, tight end, catch a little seam route down the field. He can do everything."

Shivers, who will arrive on campus the first week of June, may be the most unique of the bunch.

Standing at just 5-foot-7 and 174 pounds, Shivers is a more compact running back. He possesses elite speed -- he runs a 20.91-second 200 meter, a 10.4-second 100-meter and will run track at Auburn -- but has a running style more comparable to a larger running back. Shivers described himself as a "straight downhill runner, like I'm 6-4," which he thinks will surprise a lot of fans.

"When they see me play the first game, they're going to say, 'oh yeah, he a beast,'" Shivers said. "Watch."

Shivers believes Auburn will use him in a variety of ways, whether it's out of the backfield, in the slot or on kick and punt returns.

Between the trio Auburn is signing this cycle and the four returning running backs -- Kam Martin, Malik Miller, Devan Barrett and JaTarvious Whitlow -- Shivers is confident the Tigers will be able to make up for the departures of Johnson and Pettway in 2018.

"We ain't really talk about it, but I was talking to Kam and I'm going to come here and learn a lot from him because he's been here and he played behind Kerryon and Kam Pettway," he said. "So I'm going to come in and learn from the old guys that's here already."

This article first appeared on AL.Com

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