‘Freaky’ transfer Jalen McLeod highlights multiplicity of Auburn’s pass rushers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Auburn’s pass rusher will have a totally new look this fall, both in terms of its moniker and personnel.
The days of the “edge rusher” position have gone the way of the dodo, as have Derick Hall and Eku Leota playing on the Plains. Defensive coordinator Ron Roberts’ system will implement the jack linebacker position, and it’ll be a load of new faces playing the position. Those faces include Vanderbilt transfer Elijah McAllister and freshman and former top-100 recruit Keldric Faulk.
They’ll also include Jalen McLeod, the former Appalachian State linebacker who transferred to Auburn after spring practices. He’s yet to suit up for an official practice, but he’s already made an impression on at least one of his teammates.
“J-Mac, man, that dude's athletic,” McAllister said at SEC Media Days. “He's freaky, he's twitchy, a dude I'm excited to share the field with him. I'm excited to continue to learn from him in terms of pass rush. I'm excited to be able to grow a relationship with him off the field as well, and I'm excited for y'all to see him on Saturdays.”
McLeod was arguably the most productive of any pass rusher who transferred to Auburn this offseason at his previous stop. In three seasons with the Mountaineers, McLeod recorded 9.0 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss. Last fall saw him generate a career-high in both those categories, with 6.0 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss.
The addition of McLeod also highlights the variety of what’s to come with the program’s pass rush. In particular, he and McAllister represent opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of player type at the position.
“I'm 6-6, 275 (pounds),” McAllister said. “He's 6-2, 230, 235. So just in size, we just look a lot different. But in terms of skill set, I have a ton of length. I have a ton of experience, and I know how to stop the run at a high level. I'm a player that has played in this conference a ton.
“He's a guy that's unique in a way. Super twitchy, athletic. He's played at a high level and rushed the passer at a high level. So I think, uniquely, we're going to marry up and provide a nice one-two punch, per se, in the jack room.”
At 6-foot-6, McAllister is tied for the tallest player listed at the position on Auburn’s roster. McLeod, who’s officially listed at 6-foot-1, is the shortest at the position. But they’re not the only ones who present as physical standouts. Faulk is also listed at 6-6, and he’s larger than McAllister at 288 pounds. Stephen Sings V, who transferred in from Liberty after spring practices, played defensive end for the Flames but is listed with the position group. At 6-foot-3 and 248 pounds, Sings has more of a traditional defensive end build.
“All the jacks we have in our position groups are different types of players,” McAllister said. “Different body types, different movement skills, everything in between. But you see (McLeod’s) success on the field, and pass rush is a lot about effort, a lot about hands, a lot about athleticism and twitch.
“He has every single attribute you can think of, so it's just amazing to see that in the works. And I haven't seen it in practice yet, but I've seen it in drills, everything like that, and game film, so I'm excited to see it.”

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