AUBURN, Ala. — The quarterback competition at Auburn has ended with the exact result anticipated by fans and media involved with the program.
With a message on the Auburn football Twitter account, the Tigers program announced former Baylor quarterback Jarrett Stidham as the starting quarterback for the 2017 season."He's done a lot of good things," Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn said Saturday following the team's second preseason scrimmage. "He's a talented young man and you know, he's probably carried it on in fall. Right now I'd just say the depth of our quarterback position has just really been confirmed."
In 2015, Stidham started three games as a true freshman for the Bears, finishing 75-of-109 passing for 1,265 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Stidham chose Auburn over SEC rivals Florida and Texas A&M this past winter while being the No. 1 junior college prospect in the 2017 recruiting class despite having to sit out of football altogether at McLennan Community College in Waco, Texas.
Stidham was brought in after a promising freshman season at Baylor in 2015 to inject life into an Auburn passing attack that ranked 112th among 128 Football Bowl Subdivision schools at just 169.5 yards per game. The 6-foot-3 Texas native wasn't brought to Auburn to sit the bench as a transfer quarterback. Those connected with the program, including the members of the Auburn coaching staff, have considered Stidham more than the presumptive favorite to win the starting job since his arrival for an official campus visit in December for an Auburn basketball game.
Stidham is considered a more talented option for offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey's new scheme with run-pass option plays similar to what he ran at Baylor two years ago.
"I think his grasp of the offense is improving," Lindsey said. "For Jarrett it's just getting him comfortable with our wideouts and Kyle (Davis) being back out with us. That's continuing to improve with the timing of every play and the timing against every look. When you run one play, there's five different defenses where you have to know where to go with the ball just for one play, imagine adding 10 to 12 plays and it adds up. For Jarrett the more he sees and the more looks he gets, the better he'll get."
Stidham, who started three games at Baylor before suffering an injury and ultimately deciding to transfer, finished the spring game 16-of-20 for 267 yards in route to receiving Offensive Most Valuable Player honors.
Stidham, who led the first-team offense for the entire spring season, led his unit to five scoring drives in six first-half possessions. In the A-Day spring game Stidham hit four completions of at least 33 yards. The Auburn offense had just 16 passing plays over 30 yards in 13 games last season.
Stidham unseats junior quarterback Sean White, who started 16 games over the last two seasons at Auburn and led the Tigers to 10 games as a starter from behind center. White led the Southeastern Conference in completion percentage in 2016 but struggled with late-season injuries and wasn't medically cleared for contact until the beginning of preseason practices this month.
Stidham was named a preseason candidate for the Maxwell Award, given annually to the college football player of the year, and is considered a preseason Heisman Trophy candidate.
"There's so many intangibles that go into being the guy," Stidham said after the A-Day spring game. "I'm just going to take it day to day and just get better."
This article is written by Matthew Stevens from The Montgomery Advertiser and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.