Auburn football: Projecting the Tigers' spring quarterback depth chart

rblack@ledger-enquirer.comFebruary 26, 2014 

Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee talks with his quarterbacks (from L-R: Jeremy Johnson, Jonathan Wallace and Nick Marshall) during a practice prior to the BCS championship game.

TODD VAN EMST — Todd J. Van Emst

Editor's note: Auburn's spring practice starts March 18. Some positions are set in stone. Some are up for grabs. Auburn beat writer Ryan Black has already evaluated all the personnel groupings on the team (which you can find here), but now he's paring that down even further to account for every individual position, projecting how the depth chart will look when the Tigers get back on the field for the first time since the BCS championship game. The series begins with the quarterbacks.

Who's Who:

Nick Marshall, senior: 142-for-239 (59.4 percent), 1,976 yards, 14 touchdowns, six interceptions; Rushing: 172 carries, 1,068 yards, 12 TDs

Jeremy Johnson, sophomore: 29-for-41 (70.7 percent), 422 yards, six touchdowns, two interceptions

Jonathan Wallace, junior: 2-for-4 (50 percent), 24 yards

Tucker Tuberville, sophomore: N/A

Projected depth chart:

1. Marshall

2. Johnson

3. Wallace

4. Tuberville

Analysis: No surprises here. The quarterback depth chart should look familiar because it hasn't changed one iota since the BCS title contest concluded.

After a fantastic debut season on the Plains in 2013, Marshall's status as the starting signal-caller is unquestioned. Everyone knows about his ability in the running game; what people want to find out is how much better he can become as a passer. As last season wore on, the Georgia native's accuracy steadily improved — that is, when Auburn actually decided to throw the ball.

If nothing else, we'll finally get to see Marshall "go through the spring," to trot out Gus Malzahn's oft-repeated phrase last fall.

Backing Marshall up will be Johnson, who had a fine freshman season while filling in on an as-needed basis. He's the most polished passer the Tigers have. His only problem is that Marshall stands between him and the starting job. Barring an injury or another unforeseen circumstance occurring with Marshall, Johnson will remain in second place on the depth chart the whole season.

Few teams in the country have a No. 3 quarterback as good as Wallace. Still, it's unlikely they'll need him to win any games next year. But if they do, the Tigers will be in good hands.

And as for Tuberville, well, he's along for the ride.

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