Another Summer, Another Auburn Quarterback Race on The Plains
One thing is for certain about new Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall – He won’t be wearing number “7.”
Spring Football is over on The Plains and just like the last six years the Tigers finished camp and head into summer with no clear leader at the quarterback position.
Gus Malzahn has said that Kiehl Frazier and Jonathan Wallace came out of spring practice without either one clearly separating themselves from the other. That fact leaves the door open for three promising recruits to make a run for the driver’s seat.
Since neither of the two veterans have taken hold of the position and made it their sole possession, speculation has grown that the starting quarterback is not yet on campus.
Of the three QB’s reporting this summer, multiple blog and media outlets suggest a majority of the fans expect the new starter to be Juco transfer, Nick Marshall.
Playing his junior college ball at Garden City Community College in Kansas, Marshall was heavily recruited by Nebraska, Baylor, Kansas State, and Texas. Some say Baylor was looking at Marshall to be the next RG III. He had plenty of offers but he made his decision to wear the Orange and Blue.
He picked the Tigers because he liked Gus Malzahn’s offense and because he was familiar with Coach Malzahn who recruited him to Arkansas State and Dameyune Craig who recruited him for Florida State.
If you want your QB to have confidence, Marshall has tons. After inking his letter of intent, he said he knew there were two guys that played last year but he was coming to try to win the starting roll and (like Cam Newton) help Auburn win championships.
Marshall also has a story similar to Newton. After leaving Georgia for breaking team rules, he chose to go to a junior college to get both his personal and football life back on track. It was a move that (for his career) seems to have been a blessing in disguise. A cornerback at Georgia, he returned to being a quarterback in junior college.
He worked hard to improve his reputation, his academic standing, and his game. By all accounts he has been a model student athlete.
Nick was a two sport athlete in high school, who played in the state final four in basketball and led his Wilcox County, Ga. football team to a state championship. Mark Ledford, his high school coach said he was the best athlete he had ever been around. When he was being recruited he drew comparison’s from recruiters to former Florida State star Charlie Ward.
During his one year at Garden City, Nick scored 37 touchdowns (19 passing and 18 running) accounting for more than 4,000 yards in 11 games.
On signing day, Coach Malzahn said, “He’s a great athlete … one of those impact players. We feel like he could come in here and give us a chance right off the bat.”
His Juco coach Jeff Tatum says Nick is exactly “the kind of quarterback you need to sign when you’re trying to turn a program around.”
Little wonder the Auburn fan base are looking with anticipation to him joining the program. Yet as impressive as he appears to be … he will be competing with four other highly touted signal callers.
It’s a list which includes veteran Kiehl Frazier who was Mr. Arkansas Football coming out of high school, Jonathan Wallace who took the starting reigns from Frazier last year and had the highest pass efficiency rating for a freshman in the history of the program, then there is Jeremy Johnson who is the present Mr. Alabama Football, and of course 4-star recruit Jason Smith, the MVP of the Alabama/ Mississippi High School All-Star game.
Rhett Lashlee spoke to the media last week and laid out what he and Malzahn will be looking for in picking their number one guy:
” We want a winner, a guy who’s athletic, got great accuracy … he’s got to be able to throw the deep ball well, get the ball out quick … Our offense from a quarterback’s standpoint is built on making good decisions, protecting the football, throwing on time and where you’re supposed to. It’s more about getting the guy who can execute what we do the way we like to do it the best (and) The best guy’s going to play, if he’s a freshman, if he’s a senior, it doesn’t matter.”
Is Nick Marshall that guy? He thinks he is, but so do four other talented players. So the stage is set for another summer and another quarterback race on The Plains.
Who will it be?
Who do you think will be Auburn's 2013 starting Quarterback?
- Nick Marshall (67%, 438 Votes)
- Jonathan Wallace (19%, 128 Votes)
- Kiehl Frazier (7%, 44 Votes)
- Jeremy Johnson (6%, 41 Votes)
- Jason Smith (1%, 6 Votes)
Total Voters: 657