Jeremy Johnson is ready to take charge as Auburn's starting quarterback
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- Jeremy Johnson didn't have to look far to find out how to be a successful Auburn quarterback.
He needed only to ask a fellow Auburn student.
He needed only to ask Cam Newton.
"The biggest advice he gave me was: 'What's your 'why'? Why do you get up every day? Why? The most encouraging thing he told me was: 'My 'why' is I get up to be the best player to ever play this sport.' After he told me that, I didn't want to hear anything else because that was the most encouraging thing and motivation I heard in my life."
Coach Gus Malzahn named Johnson his starting quarterback Monday, two days after the A-Day Game in which Johnson in put up big numbers. He's the only quarterback who's taken a college snaps, and he'll step in for two-year, and now departed, starter Nick Marshall.
"There are so many people in the world that wish they had the opportunity that I have, and I cherish every moment I get. I'm looking forward to this season," Johnson said.
"We have all the confidence in the world in Jeremy," said offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee. "I think he'sprepared for this moment. It's like I told him, it's just starting now. Now, the real work starts."
Malzahn and Lashlee told Johnson and redshirt freshman Sean White that they'd be 1-2 on the depth chart heading into summer workouts. Johnson said his marching orders were simple: "Just lead the guys. That's what I've been working on all spring; that's my goal for the summer and also during the season."
Johnson said that means "holding guys accountable off the field, and that's with not having the off-the-field issues we had last year and also on the field, like discipline, playing from start to finish."
Johnson said he's ready for all that goes with being the starting quarterback at Auburn. Newton, who is taking classes and will graduate this spring, gave him some pointers.
"I'm ready for it. It's been like that even when I wasn't the starting quarterback," Johnson said. "You've got to handle yourself in a different fashion than everyone else and people on the street. I carry myself very well, I feel like."
Johnson said he tries to be mature. "That's just what I was focused on from the day I got here. Am I going to bed more mature from my freshman year to this year? I felt like I have and I feel really good."
Johnson arrived at Auburn as a hotshot quarterback from Montgomery. He spent the next two years mostly watching Marshall play.
"It was a humbling experience and it made me better as a person," Johnson said. "It made me become a team player and a role player that I never had the chance or opportunity to be from being a starter
"It just humbles you."
Johnson stayed ready, and showed it in spring practice.
"It wasn't as much of what Sean didn't do, it was just more, Jeremy's got all that experience and he's been there, he's done that and you could just tell he's ready," Lashlee said.
"I think he earned it first and foremost. He's played in some meaningful games, some meaningful moments, and have done quite well in those situations. We have a little more information on him in that regard to guys who haven't been 'the' starter in the past."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine