How some brotherly love has helped Pike Road’s Malik Blocton transition to Auburn

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Malik Blocton’s older brother frequently tells him what to do.

However, so long as the message is delivered appropriately, Blocton doesn’t mind.

“Marcus does a really good job of not yelling at me or not talking to me crazy because he knows how I am,” Blocton says of his older brother. “He knows how to push my buttons and get me to listen to him.”

A true freshman along Auburn’s defensive front, Blocton is the younger brother of former Auburn defensive lineman Marcus Harris, who announced in December that he’d be foregoing his senior season at Auburn and instead declared for the 2024 NFL Draft.

Harris’ decision to turn pro came on the heels of a 2023 season that saw him earn first-team all-SEC honors.

And while Harris’ time as an Auburn Tiger has come to an end, the Montgomery native hasn’t ventured far from The Plains and is a frequent visitor at Auburn’s spring practices, where he spends a lot of time observing his younger brother and the rest of Auburn’s defensive linemen.

Every now and again, Harris will spout out bits and pieces of advice to Blocton.

“When we’re on the field, he tells me little stuff,” Blocton said. “He doesn’t try to go in-depth. He tries to be as simple as possible and play fast and let me work.”

And while it’s not every day one is willing to accept the advice from their older sibling, Blocton knows it’s in his best interest.

During his four-year college career — of which one was spent at Kansas — Harris tallied 125 total tackles and 31 tackles for a loss.

“I’m really proud of him because coming out of high school, he wasn’t really highly recruited. He had to go to Kansas and work his butt off just to get a chance to come play in the SEC,” Blocton said of his older brother. “Once he got his chance, he blew up with it. He had a crazy senior season. I’m just proud of that man.”

Blocton, on the other hand, was rated a 4-star defensive lineman out of Pike Road High School and had the luxury of signing with an SEC program immediately out of high school after Auburn beat out Alabama, Florida, Texas and Troy for his commitment.

“It really helped me a lot because he made all the mistakes so I didn’t have to,” Blocton said of Harris. “Anytime I had a question, I just called him. We watch film together still to this day. He helped me become a better player. I really wouldn’t be here without him.”

After signing his letter of intent in December, Blocton quickly made his way to The Plains, enrolling early and even participating in some of Auburn’s practices ahead of the Tigers’ trip to Nashville for the Music City Bowl.

“It really boosted my confidence,” Blocton said of practicing with Auburn early. “When I was coming in, I was questioning myself…When I came in and won some drills 1-on-1 and made some plays in some team periods, it really boosted my confidence and made me feel like I belong.”

Fortunately for Blocton, he’s far from the only new face in Auburn’s defensive line room.

Not only have the Tigers welcomed freshmen like Blocton, TJ Lindsey and Amaris Williams, but they’ve also welcomed a pair of transfers in Texas transfer Trill Carter and Kansas transfer Gage Keys.

And, not to mention, a new position coach in Vontrell King-Williams, who was elevated from being a defensive analyst to Auburn’s defensive line coach this past offseason.

“Spring has been amazing so far,” Blocton said. “Getting to learn from Coach Vontrell and getting to learn from the other guys in the room.”

King-Williams hasn’t been around Blocton all that long, but after spending last fall with Harris, he’s already picked up on the similarities between the two brothers.

“Here’s the exciting piece about Malik: He’s a young Marcus,” King-Williams said in an interview on March 13.

King-Williams says Blocton might be a bit more physically gifted than his older brother was, calling him longer and a bit more athletic. But when looking at the way the two brothers approach the game mentally, it’s easy to draw comparisons, King-Williams says.

And that’s exactly what Blocton wants to hear.

“Some of the plays he made, they were undesigned. He was just being instinctive,” Blocton said when asked what part of his brother’s game he hopes to emulate. “He told me when you’re starting off, you’ve got to do what the coach says, but as time grows and you start recognizing stuff, seeing stuff faster, you’ve got to be instinctive.

“You’ve got to be a ball player.”

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