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Position breakdown: Who will be Auburn's quarterback?

Aug. 1, 2013


Kiehl Frazier on the run as a candidate to start at Auburn (Todd Van Emst photo)

By Charles Goldberg

AUBURN, Ala. — You say you want to know who Auburn's starting quarterback will be right now, as in right this minute? 

Gus Malzahn would, too, but the Auburn coach says he's going to give all four of his quarterback candidates a chance to impress in practice, starting with the first day of fall workouts Friday. He'll choose between incumbents Kiehl Frazier and Jonathan Wallace; as well as newcomers Nick Marshall, a junior college transfer with big stats, and Jeremy Johnson, the state's Mr. Football as a high school senior last year. 

Malzahn says he doesn't have a timetable for naming a starter, though he would opt for "sooner rather than later." Those playing the guessing game at home might want to circle Aug. 7 and Aug. 10 on your calendars. That's when the Tigers will practice in Jordan-Hare Stadium in what could be scrimmages. 

Auburn will need to have a rough idea of the quarterback pecking order by the conclusion of those, which represent practice days six and eight. Malzahn will likely want to give his top two quarterbacks the most significant snaps after that as the days begin ticking toward the Aug. 31 opener against Washington State. 

Worried? Malzahn doesn't show it. Of course, he's started seven different quarterbacks in the seven years he's been a college coach. What's one more? 

One who won't be the quarterback is Clint Moseley, who played in five games last year but decided to forgo his senior season. 

Here are the candidates: 

Kiehl Frazier (6-2, 224, Jr.) Malzahn has known Frazier for years from their Arkansas days. He made Frazier his Wildcat quarterback in 2011. He threw 12 passes. Frazier started the first five games last year, but an injury slowed him. He finished hitting 62-of-116 passes for 753 yards and two touchdowns and eight interceptions. 

Jonathan Wallace (6-2, 206, So.) Didn't play until the fourth game and didn't throw a pass until the seventh game last year, but still started the final four games, and finished hitting 46-of-80 passes for 720 yards and four touchdowns and four interceptions. He started and won games against New Mexico State and Alabama A&M, but the Tigers were shut out against Georgia and Alabama. 

Nick Marshall (6-1, 210, Jr.) Probably the most intriguing player in fall camp after putting up big numbers in junior college. Originally played at Georgia where he was a defensive back, but turned to offense at Garden City Community College in Kansas, where he passed for 3,142 yards and 18 touchdowns and rushed for 1,095 yards and 19 touchdowns. Also threw 20 interceptions. 

Jeremy Johnson (6-5, 219, Fr.) State of Alabama's Mr. Football at Carver High in Montgomery last season after passing for 3,193 yards and 31 touchdowns. He rushed for 705 yards and seven TDs.  Malzahn says Johnson has an "NFL arm."

Charles Goldberg is a writer at Follow him on Twitter:



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