Jul 21, 2018 (Akademos, Inc.)
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  Football Preview: Quarterbacks and Receivers

Multiple storylines have come and gone for Auburn this offseason, but one has been there since Day 1 ó whoís going to be the starting quarterback? Currently, no one knows, coaches included. Barring a significant situation, the Tigers wonít have a starting quarterback named until fall camp, which is nothing new on the Plains.

In the spring A-Day game, 2015 starters Sean White and Jeremy Johnson were joined with JUCO transfer John Franklin III taking snaps, and none of the three did enough to stand out in the battle.

Unfortunately, for Auburn fans, the lack of separation seems too similar to last fall when Johnson was benched for White after three games then replaced White after White was injured before the two split time the last few games. It was a mess, and the only argument for either quarterback was who was not the least effective on the field.

Statistics from last season back the direct judgment of White and Johnson.

White completed 58 percent of his passes for 1,166 yards and one touchdown in seven games. He rushed for a net of 81 yards per game, averaging 5.1 yards per game.

Johnson completed 60.5 percent of his passes over 12 games, throwing for 1,054 yards and 10 touchdowns. He rushed for a net of 137 yards and six touchdowns, averaging 11.4 rushing yards per game.

Itís incredible to think a team coached by Gus Malzahn could have quarterbacks with such low rushing statistics, but that also describes the 2015 season to a T. The lack of a mobile quarterback last year was one factor that created hype for Franklin and four-star signee Woody Barrett.

Franklin has been described similar to Nick Marshall in nearly every way, including the negatives. Franklin showed his athleticism in the A-Day game, though he was in a non-contact jersey, but his throwing accuracy appeared to be more than the expected cause of concern.

For Barrett, heís bigger than Franklin and said to have more accuracy on his pass. His biggest weakness is not joining the team until the summer, which means he has catching up to do.

However, the biggest question surrounding Barrett isnít even about his potential, rather some are wondering if itís a good idea to start a true freshman at QB in the SEC.

Although the quarterback spot is far from decided and not a fun conservation, the wide receiving group the QB battle winner will throw to has some fans watering at the mouth.

The Tigers have spent numerous season recently watching a to-go receiver targeted again and again without a secondary wideout ever coming into the picture. This fall, however, it appears several guys could fill the void.

Itís a good guess that Marcus Davis will be the go-to wideout this fall. Last year, he finished second on the team with 30 receptions and had 181 yards and a touchdown. He was reliable, but his receiving yards and average per catch and average per game ranked near the bottom of the group. However, in 2016 heíll have more opportunities to make plays.

Four-star signees Kyle Davis, Nate Craig-Myers and Eli Stove have created a buzz on the Plains, with fans wondering who will be the next star. Not to raise too much hype, but itís possible that all three make the cut. The three new Tigers are all over 6-feet and have blazing speed. Craig-Myers and Davis both ranked in the top 10 nationally at receiver and Stove was ranked 20. Davis also enrolled in January.

Several other returning players could step up. Jason Smith returns after recording 203 yards and two touchdowns a year ago. Tony Stevens had 177 yards and a touchdown in 2015. And some buzz is surrounding Darius Slayton, who took a redshirt last fall.

The wideouts could be a fun group to watch this fall, but itís crucial Auburn finds a quarterback that can get them the ball.

Brandon Miller

Coming July 11: Running Backs and Offensive Line



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