AUBURN — Auburn's Luke Deal, Elijah McAllister, Kam Stutts and Payton Thorne will serve as the captains for the Tigers this football season.

Head coach Hugh Freeze made the announcement earlier this week.

Deal, a senior tight end, has been with the program since 2019. The 6-foot-5, 255-pounder has caught 14 passes for 110 yards and a touchdown during his career but has gained a reputation as a leader in the locker room. He will share tight-end responsibilities with FIU transfer Rivaldo Fairweather this season.

This is McAllister's third round as a captain of an SEC team. The Tigers added McAllister via the transfer portal this offseason. He brings five seasons of experience at the SEC level with him along with 65 tackles, three forced fumbles and an interception. McAllister will be a valuable part of Auburn's defensive line this fall.

Stutts is a senior who started at both guard spots on the offensive line last season. He was a contributor on special teams in 2021. The 6-foot-5, 343-pounder will once again be a starter on the offensive line.

Thorne is arguably the most important addition Freeze and company made through the portal this offseason. He was named starting quarterback for the Tigers after holding the same role for Michigan State for the past two seasons. During his three seasons with the Spartans, he went 525-861 for 6,501 yards and 49 touchdowns. There is a lot of questions regarding Thorne's ability to perform in the SEC, but those will be answered in due time.

Freeze has completely shifted the energy surrounding the program in just a few months as head coach, and the Auburn fanbase is ready to pack out Jordan-Hare Stadium and cheer for the Tigers.

Auburn kicks off the 2023 campaign at home on Saturday against the UMass Minutemen. The game is set for 2:30 p.m. CT and ESPN will carry the broadcast.

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