Auburn wide receiver Will Hastings, who walked on to the team last year, promises to be more consistent than he was last year. If you want to bet on Auburn this year, check out our sites that offer college football odds.
Hastings, who used to be a kicker before converting to wide receiver, was a very productive receiver in high school before converting into a kicker. The Tigers recognized his receiving skills and gave him a chance to play slot receiver. Hastings was one of the walk-ons that received a scholarship this week.
When speaking to reporters last week, Hastings said a lot of people from his hometown in Arkansas said he was crazy for coming to Auburn either because they didn’t think he could make the team or they didn’t think he would get any playing time.
Hastings added that Kodi Burns, the Auburn wide receivers coach at the time, believed in his ability and gave him a chance. Hastings said he felt Burns believed in him more than he did in himself, and credits his former coach for getting him where he is today.
Burns gave Hastings a chance and made him the team’s slot receiver early in the fall. Hastings responded with multiple catches in his first three games, including his first career touchdown, which came in week 2.
Hasting’s performance fell off soon after, and his low point was in week 5 against Louisiana-Monroe, a game he finished with one catch for negative yardage. Hastings didn’t catch another pass until the Iron Bowl against Alabama.
During his slump, Hastings went without a catch in seven of the final eight games, and didn’t get any playing time in two of the contests.
Hastings said he understood that the coaches needed bigger receivers, and he just tried to do the best that he could. However, he admitted that being removed from the rotation was frustrating because he couldn’t do anything to help his teammates.
Despite the disappointing season last year, Hastings has put it all behind him and is focused on how he can help the team win games this year. The receiver said he didn’t like the way things ended last year so he spoke with his family and decided never to let it happen to him again.
Hastings’ new focus and determination is certainly paying off with the receiver becoming a favorite target of quarterback Jarrett Stidham. Hastings led all receivers with seven catches for 75 yards.
During the fall camp, Hastings was competing with Ryan Davis for the third receiver spot, and head coach Guz Malzahn said he had noticed the improvement in Hasttings’ play. According to the coach, Hastings’ performance is why they decided to give him a scholarship.
Hastings has always faced doubts since he first put on cleats because of his size. At 5 foot 10, 165 pounds, he is considered too small to play the slot role. Despite his size, Hastings is a very shifty player that is difficult to corral and always seems to find a way to get a first down.
Now that he has the confidence of his coaches, Hastings needs to the frustration of last year behind him and help his team win games.