AUBURN, Ala. -- It took 19 minutes and 14 questions for quarterback Kiehl Frazier’s name to come up during Auburn coach Gene Chizik’s signing day press conference Wednesday.
Auburn’s quarterback of the future was that much of a lock throughout the recruiting process.
“He is one of the heart and souls of this class,” Chizik said. “I told him today on the phone how much I appreciate him. He’s never once wavered.”
Frazier earned Gatorade Player of the Year and USA Today Offensive Player of the Year honors after throwing for 2,975 yards and 42 touchdowns and rushing for another 22 scores as Shiloh Christian won its third straight Class 4A state championship.
From offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn’s old stomping grounds in Springdale, Ark., Frazier is the second straight No. 1 recruit from Arkansas to sign with Auburn, joining running back Mike Dyer, who held the honor in 2010.
“He has been Auburn through and through since the day he committed and done it from a hard position in Arkansas,” Chizik said. “Leaving his home state is hard to do.”
Although Barrett Trotter figures to be the frontrunner to replace quarterback Cam Newton as Auburn’s starter next year, the 6-foot-3, 215-pound dual-threat Frazier will likely draw comparisons to the Heisman Trophy winner.
“To be even mentioned in his breath is an amazing compliment,” Frazier told MaxPreps.com. “I’m just going to try to do what I do. I hope that’s good enough.”
Chizik thinks other teams will have to watch out for LaGrange, Ga., athlete Quan Bray when he’s on the field next year. He just doesn’t know quite where yet.
“Quan is one of the most exciting players in Georgia, and he can do it all,” Chizik said. “In our offense, he will be a guy that you are really going to have to find out where he is to know what we are doing with him.”
The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Bray is listed as the No. 5 all-purpose back by Rivals. He played quarterback his junior year at Callaway High before transferring to Troup County his senior season, when he finished with 1,300 rushing yards and 300 receiving.
Chizik said Bray could wear many hats for Auburn, including running back, receiver, wildcat quarterback and more.
“There are so many things you can do with him,” Chizik said. “He just loves having his hands on the ball. He’s exciting, he’s electric with his hands on the football.”
Bray is not the only signee who can play multiple positions. Kris Frost of Matthews, N.C., Auburn’s only five-star recruit, can play both receiver and linebacker.
C.J. Uzomah of Suwanee, Ga., played quarterback his senior season at North Gwinnett High, although he projects as a tight end/H-back in college.
Not in a rush
Shon Coleman enrolled in school in January a year after originally signing with Auburn, having undergone successful chemotherapy to fight acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
But the Tigers are in no rush to get the one-time five-star recruit on the field.
“Our main concern is that he is healthy as a human being,” Chizik said. “And then whatever happens football-wise, that’s all icing on the cake, if and when that happens.”
Chizik said Coleman is technically on a medical hardship right now, so he won’t count against this year’s scholarship count.
The 6-foot-7, 285-pound Coleman plans to sit out next year with his eye on returning to the football field in 2012.
“There’s no rush for anything,” Chizik said.
Auburn surged in the recruiting rankings after winning its first BCS national championship in mid-January.
Eight of the Tigers’ 24 signees Wednesday made their decisions after Auburn beat Oregon for the national title, although Chizik hopes he and his staff will see a more profound effect next year.
“I think that at the end of the day, we’re hoping that propels itself into next year’s class,” Chizik said. “Because we have so many guys at that point in time that had already been committed, either publicly or behind the scenes.”