Auburn is losing one of its top young running backs because the coaching staff couldn't count to four – or at least keep track of four game appearances.
The staff accidentally burned true freshman running back Asa Martin's redshirt this season when they mistakingly played him in a fifth game against Mississippi State, allegedly believing he had only appeared in three so far in the season.
Complicating things a little more, Martin's mother said she had conversations with the staff before that game where they acknowledged the Mississippi State game would burn his redshirt and that they planned to use him in the offense all season.
She said Auburn coaches talked to her and Martin’s father, Rakesk Martin, about redshirting their son after the Mississippi State game — even though she’d made it known to Auburn’s offensive coordinator that another appearance would use up his freshman eligibility.
“I had already reached out to the coaching staff to question about his redshirt before he played in the Mississippi State game, because I knew he had already played four games,” Harris said.
That person she spoke to was then-offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey. He allegedly told her that Martin would play in that Mississippi State game and be a factor on the offense going forward this season — and the topic of a redshirt was ended.
After Martin’s play was limited in that MSU game, Harris said she had another conversation with a member of Auburn’s coaching staff.
“After the Mississippi State game is when another assistant coach said that he wanted to redshirt Asa,” Harris said. “At this point, he had played five games."
In the interview with AL.com, Martin and his family did not seem terribly happy about the blunder, but Martin was not ready to transfer.
Now, he is.
Martin was a four-star prospect and the No. 9 overall running back in the 2018 class. Now he's looking for a new home.