Now that head coach Gus Malzahn has lost quarterback Jarrett Stidham to the NFL, plus Kelly Bryant decided to transfer to Missouri, where should the program turn to find its next starting quarterback?
Despite all the hoopla surrounding both Stidham and Bryant, Malzahn finds himself in a unique situation, and he may not be as bad off as we thought. He has several possibilities at quarterback for Auburn’s 2019 season, and here are a few names to keep an eye on.
Bo Nix, Four-Star QB Recruit
Bo Nix is the son of former Auburn quarterback Patrick Nix. Nix was heavily recruited by both Auburn and Alabama and is one of the top quarterbacks not only in the state of Alabama, but the entire country. Nix eventually committed to Auburn, and showcased his talent by leading Pinson Valley High School to another state championship as a senior. The question is, does he fit into Malzahn’s system?
Nix is a pro-style type quarterback, which basically means he is known more as a passer than runner. Although he will be a freshman coming into Auburn next season, don’t be surprised if he wins the starting quarterback position.
Joey Gatewood, Freshman
The dark horse in all of this could Joey Gatewood, a dual threat quarterback out of Jacksonville, FL. Gatewood seems like the perfect Gus Malzahn quarterback, as he can run and throw it at a high level. The former top-50 recruit didn’t see any action in 2018, but he could end up with the starting job in 2019 when it’s all said and done.
Malik Willis, Sophomore
Since arriving on campus, Auburn fans have been DYING to see Malik Willis and what he can do. They got a taste of his ability in a few games this past season, but now that Stidham is moving on to the NFL, can Willis become Auburn’s next quarterback?
Going into spring football, he will most likely come in as the starting quarterback since he has been in the system the longest. How good is Willis? We don’t know, but we will know more when spring training starts, and definitely more as he’s likely to start in the Music City Bowl against Purdue.
Jalen Hurts, QB, Alabama
This rumor swirled all year after Jalen Hurts was benched in favor of Tua Tagovailoa. The question here is would Hurts be bold enough to pull the trigger and go to the other side of the state? My first thought would be no. Hurts loves Alabama, and even if he were to leave, I doubt he’d go to Auburn because of his loyalty to Alabama.
The other thought is, if he really wants to make it in the NFL, why would he go to Auburn? Gus Malzahn is not known to develop quarterbacks, so in a sense, Hurts may be better off staying in Tuscaloosa as a backup, which seems to have worked out well for him so far.
Another Quarterback Transfer?
Just because Kelly Bryant turned down Auburn doesn’t mean Malzahn can’t go out there and talk another interested quarterback into joining his team. Rumors have been swirling that Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate may decide to transfer, although nothing has become of that rumor so far, but who knows? Maybe some fresh blood is exactly what the Tigers need to get this offense going next season.