ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — The Auburn Knights went through a 3-6 season last year under first year head coach Willie Tolon. In year two, there’s legitimate reason for optimism with this team.

Coach Tolon will be the first to admit things are a lot different this August then they were last year at this time since he’s had a full summer with the guys.

“I’m very excited for what’s to come. The IQ of the guys is high right now, and we’re way ahead of where we were last year.”

“We’ve got a good, high expectation,” said senior receiver/defensive back Terry Horton. “I feel like last year we did alright, not the best, but this year we’re trying to prove a statement.”

Big running back and linebacker Patrick DuBose is ready to be one of the leaders for the Knights. He’s also ready to plow through defenses with his big, strong frame like he did last year.
“DuBose is a special kid, and I can’t wait to see him with the ball in his hands again,” said Tolon.
This year, DuBose will have more help in the offensive backfield with the addition of Rockford Lutheran transfer AJ Moore. Moore brings a lot of burst at running back.

DuBose can’t wait to work with Moore in a game. “He’s got speed. He’s got good footwork. He’s got a lot of stuff, strength.”

Horton also believes Moore will do big things in red and black. “I know he did really good things for Lutheran, but I feel like he can do way better things at Auburn. He jelled with the team as soon as he got here.”

Moore isn’t the only key transfer player on Auburn. Three big linemen from East have joined the team. Malik Woods, Jabari Woods and Omar Ellis.

This offense has a lot of potential. Speedy Terry Horton and Leonard Spates are back at receiver along with speedy newcommers Will Johnson and Tevin Tenniel. Philip Horton is back to give the Knights another threat at running back, and senior Anthony Purifoy returns at quarterback. He passed for more than 13 hundred yards last year including ten touchdown passes.

“He’s going to be more precise of his reading of the defense,” said Tolon. “We’re going to have a balanced offense, so he doesn’t have too much to think about.”

Senior Jasper Jenkins is back to lead the defense. He was special mention all-conference on the line last year. This year he’s moving to linebacker. DuBose will also be a key at linebacker along with Philip Horton. Terry Horton, Moore and Spates will ballhawk in the secondary.

How much better can the Knights be this season?

“Well, that remains to be seen,” said Tolon. “I use the analogy of having a dog. You never know what that dog can do until he gets in the fight, and that’s where we’re at. Week one, we’ll see and we’ll go from there.”