Cam Newton surprised few when he announced for the NFL draft last night. The Tigers had to have been preparing for the departure of the Heisman-winning quarterback, but who is going to be the guy who can step up and take the reins in 2011?
Auburn has a few different options to pull from at this point with a heavy lean going to Barrett Trotter, the second string from this season. Behind Trotter is Clint Moseley, a guy who won Mr. Football in the state of Alabama back in 2008 and has the skills it seems to be a success at the next level. Can he beat Trotter is the question.
The final and more long-shot option would be Kiehl Frazier, the incoming all-everything quarterback recruit. It would seem difficult to put Frazier out there as a freshman, especially with the other two in front of him, but who knows what his talents may hold.
With all that, let us take an in depth look at what the future is looking to hold for the quarterback position for the Tigers in 2011.
Barrett Trotter—Junior 2011
Trotter is a guy who led the competition for the starting job for a while back before the 2009 season began. He had battled his way into position and would have most likely gotten the nod over Chris Todd if it were not for a knee injury late in the spring.
Trotter comes from a similar offense in high school to the one that he has been a part of the past two seasons. Trotter has the obvious advantage for that reason and for his skill set. Those who have seen this guy throw understand what the possibilities are with his arm.
Trotter has good speed for a quarterback, but after watching Cam Newton for a year, speed can be deceiving. Don’t expect to see Trotter running for 1,000 yards, but he has the ability to keep a defense honest on the run-option and also to escape a busy pocket.
With the arm strength and being under Malzahn for two, going on three years, he has this offense down to a science. Knowing the offense extremely well is no doubt a plus, and Trotter may have more of a leeway on the field to make checks that you didn’t see with Newton simply because of the knowledge of the offense. The only knock against Trotter is his apparent knack for injury.
Clint Moseley—RS Sophomore 2011
Moseley is a player who came from one of the lowest divisions of football in the state of Alabama. Leroy High has produced a few state championships in the last few years and some great talent. Sammie Coats is a commit for 2011 from the same school.
Moseley has come to Auburn and been in the offense just as Trotter has, but it seems that Trotter has an upper hand. Moseley seems to have a ton of talent but had some transition issues in the beginning.
He may be listed as the third-string guy, but don’t expect him to sit in the back and let Trotter take the lead. I would expect Moseley to come on strong as he did last year and really compete. Moseley has the size and strength advantage over Trotter and comparable speed as well.
Don’t expect him to carry too much, but he does have a larger frame that could add some bulk. Being a guy who already carries around the 225 range, adding 10 more pounds would help him outside of the pocket.
Kiehl Frazier—Freshman 2011
Frazier has been an all-world competitor at the high school level throughout his four years. Frazier is a guy who looks to make an impact at some point in his Auburn career. Being in the Malzahn offense for his entire high school career also helps out.
Is Frazier a guy who will come in and compete right away? I am willing to bet that he will be in the early mix, but in the long run probably takes a red shirt this season. Frazier is a great talent and has the athletic ability to be very special, but Auburn has guys ahead of him who are talented as well.
With all this being said, the most likely scenario is that Trotter ends up with the starting quarterback nod for 2011. If he can stay mistake- and injury-free, he will lead the offense. Moseley will make a strong push and could surprise some folks including the coaches, but his knowledge doesn’t seem to be at the level Trotter is.
Stranger things have happened in position battles before but this seems to be the most likely scenario.
*Early Bird Special: game-by-game breakdown for 2011 coming soon*