As rumors regarding Bryan Harsin’s future with the Auburn program swirled Friday, a former player shared his perspective on his former head coach.
Former Auburn defensive tackle Lee Hunter posted a message on Instagram regarding his experience with the Tigers in 2021. Hunter expressed how hard leaving Auburn was but ultimately pointed to Harsin’s leadership as a key reason for his departure.
“The reason I chose to leave Auburn [was] because we got treated like we wasn’t good enough and like dogs,” Hunter wrote in part in the post. “I love you Auburn nation ... Harsin has the true mindset for a winner but has a terrible mindset as a person.”
As of 9:50 a.m. Friday, Hunter’s post 534 likes, including likes from former Auburn defensive linemen Marquis Robinson and Ian Mathews and former wide receiver Ja’Varrius Johnson, all of whom have entered the transfer portal this offseason.
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Former Auburn safety Smoke Monday agreed with Hunter’s assessment and wrote in part, “Love Auburn to death but this is real and true ... Harsin is a hell of a coach that wants to win but as a person he truly don’t understand kids that come from nothing.”
While Monday and Hunter voiced their issues with Harsin, two of his players rose to his defense.
Former Auburn linebacker Chandler Wooten defended Harsin on Twitter, writing, “We didn’t need a best friend we needed a coach ... that’s what we had.”
EDGE rusher Derick Hall, who turned down a chance to declare for the NFL draft in order to return to Auburn in 2022, wrote, “Auburn Family, Don’t Believe The Things You See. [Coach Harsin] Works Harder Than No Other Man To Put This Program In The Best Position To Be Successful Point Blank Period.”
The 6-foot-5, 300-pound Hunter committed to Auburn in December 2019 then signed with the team the following December despite the firing of head coach Gus Malzahn. He was the top-rated signee for the Tigers at that time according to 247Sports until EDGE rusher Dylan Brooks’ late addition to the class.
Hunter was an early enrollee in the spring of 2021 and had an impressive performance in the Tigers’ A-Day spring game, which included recording a tackle for loss on running back Tank Bigsby to force a turnover on downs.
Hunter did not see the field as a true freshman.
Auburn defensive coordinator Jeff Schmedding posted on social media in defense of Harsin on Friday morning.
The second-year Auburn assistant first posted, “Values: important to have them, more important to live them #truth #WDE” then wrote a separate post seven minutes later that said, “(Harsin) and this staff are building men of character. Block the noise and work, hard work #WarEagle”