War Eagle Extra

Auburn spring position battles: Quarterback

Auburn quarterbacks competing for the starting job this spring include (from left to right) Sean White, Woody Barrett, Jarrett Stidham and John Franklin III.
Auburn quarterbacks competing for the starting job this spring include (from left to right) Sean White, Woody Barrett, Jarrett Stidham and John Franklin III. mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

Auburn’s impending quarterback battle is an important one with fans clamoring to see what Jarrett Stidham can bring to the offense when spring practice opens Feb. 28.

Here is a look at one of Auburn’s key position battles this spring…

Position: Quarterback

Contenders: Sean White, Jarrett Stidham, John Franklin III, Woody Barrett, Malik Willis

New Auburn offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey will decide how the reps are split up this spring, a rotation the team has yet to reveal.

There’s also uncertainty over how many quarterbacks will be splitting up those reps with Sean White still rehabbing his injured forearm.

White said he would be ready to go, but coach Gus Malzahn is a little more uncertain about the quarterback’s prognosis for the start of camp.

The injury could leave an opening for younger contenders like Barrett and Willis to make an impression. They are long shots for the starting job, but getting in the mix for one of the primary backup roles could help them see the field at least during mop up duty against lesser opponents this fall.

Barrett is clamoring for an opportunity as a late season tweet suggested.

With Lindsey pledging a more diverse passing attack, Stidham is the clear favorite. The changes to Auburn’s offense should plays into the Baylor transfer’s strengths.

Stidham is coming off a lengthy layoff — he spent the fall taking classes at McLennan Community College — but didn’t play football.

The quarterback showed a lot of potential in 2015 throwing for 1,265 yards (75 of 109 passing) with 12 touchdowns in 10 games.

John Franklin III seems like the odd man out in the competition. The speedy dual threat quarterback showed little improvement in the passing game as last season went on.

While the coaching staff expressed confidence in the former junior college transfer publically, they were reluctant to start him against Alabama in the Iron Bowl.

Franklin is pinning his hopes on competing for the job after brushing off questions about changing positions or transferring.

Auburn probably isn’t in a rush to name a starter, but last year’s competition spilled into the fall because none of the contenders — White, Franklin and Jeremy Johnson — made a clear enough case for the number one spot.

The coaching staff might not be so reluctant if Stidham has a breakout spring. Coach Gus Malzahn announced Jeremy Johnson as a starter at the end of spring practice two years ago.

Michael Niziolek: 334-332-8572, @wareagleextra

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