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Ask Farrell: Who's going to win the starting QB job at Auburn?

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position | Team

Joey Gatewood
Joey Gatewood (AP Images)

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An interesting situation is playing itself out at Auburn: The Tigers are looking for a quarterback to replace Jarrett Stidham, who’s off to the NFL, and the team might just have too many good ones.

This is still just spring practice, but it sure feels like Joey Gatewood and Bo Nix have emerged as the most serious contenders and both played well in Saturday’s spring game.

“Both of them are straight ballers,” receiver Matthew Hill said. “Both of them came in ready to play. Joey, I’ve been with him since I came in so I’ve seen him develop. I knew what I was expecting out of both of them, and I’m proud of how both of them played.”

In the first half, Gatewood, a four-star quarterback in the 2018 class, completed 7 of 10 passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns.

“He doesn’t like to be compared to Cam Newton, but that’s the only person you can compare him to,” HIll said.

Nix, the only five-star pro-style quarterback in 2019, went 11 of 14 passing for 155 yards and two TDs in the first half. That's certainly a strong showing in Nix’s first spring game - and a good indicator that he can more than handle Auburn’s offense.

Malik Willis and Cord Sandberg are also seriously in the running.

In preparation for replacing Stidham, Auburn chased Clemson transfer Kelly Bryant, had Oklahoma transfer Austin Kendall in for a visit before he picked West Virginia and might have looked at other quarterbacks, too.

But Gatewood and Nix have definitely emerged as legitimate replacements who could help Auburn back from a highly disappointing 8-5 season that had the Tigers 3-5 in the SEC. They could also help solidify coach Gus Malzahn’s job as he enters this season on some level of a hot seat.


We ask National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell which one - Gatewood or Nix - he thinks could deliver a huge season for the Tigers.

“Even though Gatewood was a four-star and highly ranked, Nix can win this job and be a star at Auburn. I like his maturity and his pocket presence and it seems like noting is too big for him. Gatewood has great physical skills, no doubt, but Nix has a better natural feel at the quarterback position. I don’t think Nix will set the world on fire at first, but after he gets some experience, he will be not only an excellent quarterback but a star at Auburn.”