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Good Read On AU QB Recruiting The Past Decade

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Nix commitment continues impressive run of QB recruiting

Auburn is set at quarterback for the future with Malik Willis, Joey Gatewood and Bo Nix.
Diehards Network

AUBURN, Ala. — There has long been a knock on Gus Malzahn for how he handles the most important position on the field for Auburn football — quarterback.

But a lot has changed in the last 13 months, and that continued Wednesday with the commitment of coveted 4-star dual-threat 2019 quarterback Bo Nix.

Malzahn entered the 2017 season speaking highly of the “quality depth” Auburn finally had at quarterback for the first time in his tenure. It had long been a problem for the Tigers, even when Malzahn was a coordinator. Quarterbacks that didn’t pan out or left the team for various reasons have dotted Auburn’s recent history.

Now, after an SEC West title and a 10-win season, Auburn is in the midst of its best run at quarterback acquisition in some time.

Take a look at the quarterbacks Auburn has signed since Malzahn became the Tigers’ offensive coordinator in 2009:

2009 Clint Moseley 30
2010 Cam Newton 5 (signed with UF)
2011 Kiehl Frazier 3
2012 Zeke Pike 18
2012 Jonathan Wallace 45
2013 Nick Marshall N/A (rated as CB, signed with UGA)
2013 Jeremy Johnson 14
2014 Sean White 11
2015 Tyler Queen 25
2016 Woody Barrett 16
2017 Jarrett Stidham 4 (signed with Baylor)
2017 Malik Willis N/A (rated as No. 21 ATH)*
2018 Joey Gatewood N/A (rated as No. 3 ATH)**
2019 Bo Nix 3

Rankings taken from 247Sports Composite
*Willis was not rated as a quarterback in high school
**Gatewood is rated as No. 3 dual-threat quarterback by Rivals

When Auburn signed Stidham, it was like picking up a 5-star quarterback. He was one of the nation’s best quarterbacks out of high school and impressed in limited action at Baylor as a freshman.

In Willis, Auburn appears to have gotten an underrated talent. Willis didn’t play quarterback in high school for much more than his senior season, and he was committed to play defensive back at Virginia Tech before Auburn flipped him. The early returns on Willis show he could be an excellent dual-threat quarterback in Auburn’s offense after an impressive freshman campaign.

Gatewood garnered high recruiting rankings at both athlete and quarterback, depending on the outlet. He stood out at the Under Armour All-America Game and has drawn comparisons to Cam Newton thanks to his size and athleticism. No matter the rating, Gatewood was one of the highest-rated offensive playmakers in the Class of 2018.

Bo Nix-Auburn football-target-high school-playoffs
Auburn quarterback commitment Bo Nix is the son of former Tigers signal caller Patrick Nix.
(Benjamin Wolk/SEC Country)

The recruiting rankings can and will change between now and when Nix signs. But he’s already viewed as one of the best quarterbacks in the country for his class and would be a huge pickup for Auburn with his legacy status. If Stidham leaves Auburn after the 2018 season, the Tigers will replace him in the quarterback room with another strong-armed former blue-chipper who can also make plays with his legs.

Even with Gatewood’s vague ranking as a recruit, Auburn is in place to string together three former top-10 quarterback recruits in three straight classes. (And then there’s Willis, who has the ability to start in the near future as an underrated prospect.) Auburn has only signed consecutive ones just one other time since 2009 — when Kiehl Frazier joined the team after Cam Newton’s one-and-done 2010 season.

Stringing together several top-tier quarterback talents, though, has eluded Auburn until now.

If Auburn can combine that with improved development under offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey, the Tigers should be set at signal caller.

The constant competition should push the quarterbacks across the future depth charts, and the numbers themselves will be a big-time boost for a team that has long struggled with injuries and attrition at the position.

In terms of roster building and planning for the future, Malzahn and his staff already had Auburn in a spot to contend. Nix’s commitment Wednesday gives the Tigers more reason to believe in their potential.



Edited by ellitor
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13 hours ago, WFE12 said:

If Auburn can combine that with improved development under offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey, the Tigers should be set at signal caller.

BIG if

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I don't think it's too big of a BIG if? I actually think ole chip was brought in specifically to groom the qb's. Time will tell...

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I saw a lot of improvement on Stidham from beginning of season to end.   If over Winter through Fall Stidham can keep improving especially in the film room reading Defenses and starting to hit receivers as they breaking instead of waiting until wide open then we will have a stud next year.  The arm is there it is the head that has to improve next year. This will go a long way to showing me how good Chip is in developing QB's.

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