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Auburn coach Gus Malzahn going to take time developing freshman QB Woody Barrett

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn arrives at the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Alabama for the SEC Media Days on Monday, July 11, 2016.
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn arrives at the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Alabama for the SEC Media Days on Monday, July 11, 2016. mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn’s pause said it all.

Malzahn was asked about Barrett competing for the starting job this fall during a session with beat reporters who cover the team at SEC Media Days Monday morning in Hoover.

The coach hesitated before diplomatically acknowledging Barrett is a long shot in a quarterback competition that involves Jeremy Johnson, Sean White and junior college transfer John Franklin III.

Barrett was one of the final freshman from the team’s 2016 class to arrive on campus in late June.

“Really starting out fall camp we are going to be focusing on the older guys a little bit more than him, but we will bring him along,” Malzahn said. “We think he’s a talented young man that fits our offense very good.”

Malzahn didn’t rule out Barrett getting a shot at playing time down the line, but the early focus for the offensive coaching staff will be naming a starter early in fall camp.

“I think every player has a shot, but realistic right now the three older guys are going to be ahead,” Malzahn said. “The fact that he just showed up two weeks ago, we are going to focus our attention on those three guys trying to win the position and we will bring Woody along.”

Barrett arrived on the Plains as a highly touted four-star prospect out of West Orange High School where the dual-threat quarterback put up more than 3,000 yards and 40 touchdowns as a senior. His former coach Bob Head compared Barrett to another big-bodied signal caller Auburn fans might be familiar with.

“He’s always reminded us of Cam Newton,” Head said.

Head calls Barrett one of the best athletes the coach has ever seen with 4.6 speed at 225-plus pounds.

While Head said Barrett could factor into the competition, the quarterback’s late arrival put him behind a group of players that went through 15 spring practices and two months of summer workouts.

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