Could Sean White Be Auburn’s Starting Quarterback in 2017?
Sean White's career completion percentage of .615 ranks third in Auburn history (photo: Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports)
Here we are at the start of another fall camp and Auburn hasn’t named a starting quarterback. Will the new guy Jarrett Stidham supplant the incumbent Sean White? Everyone assumes he will.
While the Baylor transfer only started three games in his one season in Waco, he’s been named to the Maxwell Award preseason watch list and is even on the Vegas board as a possible Heisman candidate. He was chosen as Auburn’s offensive MVP during the spring game after completing 16-of-20 passes for 267 yards and a rushing touchdown.
But what about White? Despite an injury plagued season last year he led the SEC in completion percentage (.639) and was fourth in passing efficiency (143.1). He has 2,845 career passing yards with 10 touchdowns, and he’s third all time in career completion percentage (.615) and ranks third in Auburn history career passing efficiency (135.04).
It’s hard to argue that he’s not good when healthy. He has proven his ability to lead the team, starting 16 games and even had the Tigers in the playoff discussion last year during a six-game winning streak. It’s that “when healthy” part that’s the question. The junior has been hampered by four different injuries during his career. Will Gus Malzahn and Lindsey give him another chance or are the risks just too high?
Both Malzahn and offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey have been steadfast in asserting the quarterback competition is real. While many scoff at the idea of a ‘real’ competition taking place, I wouldn’t count out Sean White just yet. After all, this is not his first rodeo. He had to battle Jeremy Johnson, another quarterback with a lot of preseason hype, and came out the winner.
While nursing a broken arm injury during the spring he told reporters, “As a competitor, you want to be out there and playing. I want to be the starter.” And of course Stidham expressed similar sentiments saying, “I came to Auburn… to be the starting quarterback of the Auburn Tigers.”
Jarrett Stidham may get the job but no matter the outcome, Sean will never give up, and that push can only make Jarrett better.
Of course the positive of having two proven quarterbacks, is no matter which guy wins the job it looks like No. 2 will be capable of leading the offense. And not having a competent No.2 has been the Tigers’ biggest problem the last two years.
“I think if you ask our team, they know it’s a legitimate competition,” Malzahn said recently… I know our team respects Sean. He’s earned that. They respect Jarrett; he’s come in and done a very good job.”
Malzahn didn’t bring in a five-star quarterback to sit on the bench. But what if? What if Lindsey has other ideas?
And if Stidham is as advertised, will Malzahn go ahead and name him starter soon? There’s a lot of value in having your leader named early. It’s something few of these players have ever experienced.
It would be somewhat shocking if Stidham’s not the man, but if it’s a true competition anything is possible. Just ask Jeremy Johnson.