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Hood moves on

Tryin' not to think about what might have been ...

The seemingly neverending tumult on the Auburn roster has its latest victim:

Cornerback D’Antoine Hood, a former Central-Phenix standout, has transferred from Auburn to Alabama State.

Hood, the cousin of former Auburn and current Tennessee Titans cornerback Roderick Hood, appeared in 22 games and started twice in two years with the Tigers, playing mostly on special teams and as a reserve defensive back. He finished with 22 career tackles.

Reading that, you might not think this is all that big a blow. And I guess, really, it’s not that big a blow. Hood would have been the nickelback at best this season, and maybe not even that depending on how quickly T’Sharvan Bell and Anthony Gulley took to the position.

But that’s the thing: given the prevalence of the spread and multiple-receiver sets, the nickelback is almost important as a starter these days, and the other options are both having to adjust from other positions (safety in Bell’s case, receiver in Gulley’s, so not major shifts … but still). Or they’re going to0 be true freshmen. Corner is not exactly a position of great depth for Auburn.

And more than that, it’s not like Hood didn’t have potential. He got one start and plenty of playing time as a freshman in Auburn’s injury-ravaged 2008 secondary, and generally acquitted himself very, very well. By the end of that season, it looked like Thorpe and Hood might be a nice pair of bookend corners for years to come.

But coaching transitions make fools of us all, and Hood never found his footing under Chizik and Co., thanks in large part to a high-ankle sprain that–in the manner of high-ankle sprains everywhere–never really seemed to get better. By the time Hood appeared in the Northwestern game (and got torched a few times), he seemed to have lost both his own confidence and the confidence of the coaches. And now he’s gone.

It’s a shame, because a Hood that never got hurt and never fell behind in the race for playing time last year is more than likely a solid-to-outstanding third corner for the 2010 Tigers. Honestly, sometimes an injury doesn’t have to be a torn ACL or a broken vertebra to be career-ending.

On the bright side, Hood will get to play immediately at Alabama State, where we wish him the best of luck and remain confident he’ll grow to be a difference-maker for the Hornets. And if Washington and Thorpe stay healthy KNOCK ON THE BIGGEST PIECE OF WOOD YOU CAN FIND, Bell continues his upward ascent, and either Gulley or Jon Mincy wind up ready to play, he won’t be missed. Probably.

Nonetheless, there was an opportunity with Hood, and opportunity he and Auburn have missed. That’s not insignificant.

One final question: am I the only one getting fatigued with the amount of roster turnover Auburn’s suffered the last several seasons? First it seemed to accelerate in the final years of the Tubby era as he seemed to roll the dice with recruits more often, then we had the coaching transition and the natural conflict there, and now … shouldn’t things be settling down? Instead we’ve lost Aycock and Hood just since spring ball, and of course guys like Hawthorne, Rollison, and the injury crew before that. I’m assuming that once the roster is entirely (or even just mostly) Chizik recruits that we’ll have less of this, but still, turning over this much of the roster every season doesn’t seem like the best way to build a strong, stable program. (Unless, of course, you’re a coachbot who engineers departures and just replaces them with a hand-picked factory-assembled five-star. But Auburn is not run by coachbots.)

Photo via. Not that you couldn’t tell anyway.

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