Prince Tega Wanogho Jr. hadn’t played a down of football in his life three years ago. Sixteen months ago, he had never taken a rep on the offensive line.
Now, two weeks into fall camp, Wanogho appears to be the most likely starter at left tackle for Auburn this season.
“You look at where he was a year ago today, just coming over to the position, he was like a ball of clay there,” Auburn offensive line coach Herb Hand said. “Now he’s starting to really become something special.”
It has been a meteoric rise for the redshirt sophomore from Montgomery by way of Nigeria. After an impressive spring, Wanogho’s stock has continued its upward trend during fall camp. Fellow offensive tackle Darius James believes Wanogho is easily the most improved player on the roster over the last year.
The 6-foot-7, 301-pounder has spent the first two weeks of practices competing with James for the starting left tackle spot, but after 10 practices and two scrimmages — the most recent of which came Saturday and saw Wanogho get ample reps with the first-team offensive line — the former defensive end is the perceived favorite on the left side of the offensive line,
“He is a beast,” offensive lineman Mike Horton said. “He’s improved a lot, going from not even playing football to playing D-line to coming over to the O-line, I think he’s progressed very good. I’m interested to see how it goes.”
Wanogho’s emergence throws a bit of a wrench into Auburn’s anticipated plan along the offensive line. As Wanogho continues to settle into the left tackle spot, it potentially forces James over to right tackle — where Braden Smith has been working since spring — and shifts Smith back to right guard, where he has started most of the last two years.
All of that further muddles the situation at left guard, where Auburn could start Mike Horton or Wilson Bell, whose experiences are primarily at right guard — or even…