Auburn Football: Kiehl Frazier Has the Tools to Lead AU Back to SEC Prominence

Barrett Sallee@BarrettSalleeSEC Football Lead WriterAugust 23, 2012

COLUMBIA, SC - OCTOBER 01:  Kiehl Frazier #10 of the Auburn Tigers runs with the ball against the South Carolina Gamecocks during their game at Williams-Brice Stadium on October 1, 2011 in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Tom Petty once sang that "the waiting is the hardest part."

That wait is over for Auburn sophomore quarterback Kiehl Frazier.

Auburn announced (via its official website) on Thursday that Frazier will be the Tigers' starting quarterback in 2012, beating out junior Clint Moseley and freshman Jonathan Wallace for the job. The announcement comes just nine days before Auburn plays Clemson in the Georgia Dome in the second of two Chick-fil-A Kickoff Games in Atlanta, Ga.

"We expect Kiehl to be a leader for this team and to continue to work hard every day," Chizik said. "I am confident in his ability and leadership skills and look forward to watching him progress in both areas."

Frazier's ascension to the top of the depth chart was assumed for months, but the fact that the battle went on this long was a shock, especially considering Frazier's competitors were a true freshman (Wallace) and a player who said that, if he was a pitcher, he would be "on the 15-day DL" with shoulder soreness (Moseley).

But that shouldn't take away the excitement that Frazier brings.

He was the talk of spring practice, which culminated with a 7-for-9 performance in Auburn's A-Day Game. That momentum continued into the offseason, when he impressed his teammates with his leadership ability during player-run practices this summer.

It seems some people have written Frazier off, even though he only attempted 12 passes as a true freshman in 2011. He wasn't put in the position to succeed under former offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, but he will be there now.

He was voted the 2010 All-USA Player of the Year by USA Today after completing 63 percent of his passes for 2,975 yards and 42 touchdowns and rushing for 1,164 yards and 24 touchdowns as a senior at Shiloh Christian High School in Springdale, Ark. 

You don't attain those kind of gaudy statistics by accident.

Frazier has the talent to be a real weapon in the SEC, but he has to learn what to do—and more importantly, what not to do—in order to achieve that success.

Giving him the keys and trotting him out there on one of the biggest stages of opening weekend will help him grow as a player, whether he succeeds or not.

He's got the tools to be a star, and while it may not happen this year, Frazier can lead the Tigers back to SEC prominence—especially considering the way Chizik and Co. have been able to recruit lately.