AUBURN, Ala. (EETV) - Auburn’s Eugene Asante was named Southeastern Conference Co-Defensive Player of the Week, the SEC announced on Monday.
Asante’s performance helped sealed the deal for the Tigers. The linebacker from Alexandria, Virginia, recorded 12 total tackles, including nine solo tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss Saturday night against the California Golden Bears. Asante also had one sack, two quarterback hurries and one pass breakup.
Head coach Hugh Freeze had nothing but praise for Asante after Auburn’s win. He said, “What a night he had… He played really, really hard.”
Despite Auburn claiming a 14-10 win against California, the Tigers struggled offensively. Asante, however, did not let this affect his mindset. “I think the biggest thing is in the midst of chaos, there’s opportunity… That’s the biggest thing, just not being frustrated. Not being disappointed. But just going our there with a positive mindset and just playing play after play.”
This title comes after last season, where Asante was a member of the scout team under former Auburn head coach Bryan Harsin. He spent most of his time on the bench, making this recognition that much more rewarding.
“It was big for me because I played on scout team last year. That fuels me, being out there," Asante said. "Coach Roberts, Coach Aldridge and this staff gave me an opportunity to show what I can do. I’m forever grateful to them.”
The University of North Carolina transfer later further clarified that he asked to be on the scout team when he was not playing as much as he thought he would. “I wasn’t put on scout team, I just wasn’t playing as much as I thought I deserved. It was a thing to improve myself,” Asante said.
During the 2022 season not only was the junior linebacker not getting as much playing time, but he also lost his father in February of 2022. He brought this up and spoke of his late father rather than himself, when he was asked about his SEC recognition.
It’s surreal to be honest with you. I’m grateful to God that I didn’t give up on myself. When I first got here, my dad passed away in February, I had to go through spring ball battling a whole lot of things and as a young man in this world, you need your father," Asante recalled. "It was a hard thing losing him because he was my best friend. So just to experience being the SEC Player of the Week, I’m just praying I made him proud.”
Asante shares this weekly SEC honor with Mississippi State linebacker Jett Johnson. Johnson recorded 11 total tackles, seven solo tackles, one sack, two tackles for loss and two interceptions.
Asante has led Auburn in tackles in the past two games and looks to do so once again this Saturday, at Jordan-Hare Stadium against Samford.