• 75°

It’s Auburn for Tank

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

Auburn has landed a Tank.

Cartavious “Tank” Bigsby, Callaway’s outstanding senior running back, held a commitment ceremony on Friday afternoon to let everyone know where he intends to play college football.

The winner of the Bigsby sweepstakes is Auburn, which has been cleaning up recruiting-wise in Troup County.

Former Callaway offensive lineman Keiondre Jones is a freshman at Auburn, and three other local players have committed to the school.

Previously committing to Auburn was Troup quarterback Kobe Hudson, and Callaway offensive lineman Tate Johnson.

Bigsby, Hudson and Johnson can make it official during the early-signing period in December, or on national signing day in January.

Bigsby had four hats, one each from Auburn, Georgia, South Carolina and LSU, in front of him at a table in Callaway’s indoor practice facility .

After some introductory remarks, it was time for Bigsby to make his announcement, and he reached under the table and pulled out an Auburn hat while his support system, which included all of his teammates, cheered him on.

“It felt like home,” Bigsby said, explaining why he chose Auburn. “It felt like I was a member of the family.”

Bigsby is coming off a memorable 2018 season that ended with a loss to Rockmart in the state semifinals.

In 14 games, Bigsby ran for 2,221 yards on 238 attempts with 22 touchdowns, and he also caught 13 passes for 222 yards.

Twice Bigsby ran for more than 300 yards in a game, and he had 778 yards in four playoff games.

Matt Napier, Callaway’s offensive coordinator, has no doubt that Auburn is getting an impactful player, and a special person.

“He’s been around his older brothers playing, so he’s been around here for a long time,” Napier said. “He’s been coming around here since the fourth or fifth grade. He’s always been a special kid. We knew he was super-talented. He brings more than talent and speed to the game. He’s a hard worker, and he’s really a leader of our football team.

“He’s done a good job of keeping a level head and staying humble. He really means a lot to me and my family, but he also means a lot to our football program. He’s just a special kid, and he’s a joy to be around.”

Tate Johnson, an offensive lineman who announced his commitment to Auburn earlier this summer, is thrilled that he’ll be joined by his teammate and friend at the SEC school.

“He told me a few days before this,” Johnson said. “I was taking him home in the truck and he told me, and it was great. I didn’t know, because he’d kept it so low-key. Once I found out, I just blew up.”

Pete Wiggins, Callaway’s head coach, was pleased that Bigsby wanted to involve all of his teammates in the ceremony.

“He talked about his teammates, and how important they are to him, and how much they mean to him,” Wiggins said. “He talked about the coaches and what they’ve done for him. And I think that says a lot about him. He’s a big-hearted kid, and he cares about those around him, and he appreciates them.”

Johnson said he and Bigsby are planning on enrolling early at Auburn, but they both have some work to do before then.

The Cavaliers will be one of the favorites to win the Class AA state championship, and Bigsby is focused on the task at hand.

“I just worry about my team right now,” Bigsby said. “I want to get a ring and be a leader at Callaway. I’m still at Callaway right now. I’ll worry about being at Auburn when I get there.”

Johnson, who’ll be leading the way for a bunch of Bigsby’s runs this fall, hopes the two of them can exit the high-school stage with a bang.

“We’re both going early. So we talked about our goal,” Johnson said. “We want to work hard this season and lead this team, and get us to a state championship, get the ring, and go to Auburn and start working.”

When Bigsby does get to Auburn, he’s glad to know there will be some familiar faces there.

“It’s amazing,” he said. “I’ll have somebody I know there, and there’ll be a lot of people from here there.”

Callaway has a preseason game against Starr’s Mill on Aug. 16, and it opens the regular season at Opelika on Aug. 22.