Auburn Football: Why Tigers Should Start Kiehl Frazier at QB This Season

Nathan DealCorrespondent IApril 20, 2011

Kiehl Frazier is one of three Auburn QBs battling for playing time.
Kiehl Frazier is one of three Auburn QBs battling for playing time.

53,000 fans at Auburn's A-Day watched as the defense smothered the offense, 63-32, holding the offense to one touchdown all day (a pass from Barrett Trotter to Phillip Lutzenkirchen).

It's only a spring game, remember, and nothing too important can come from that. But it wasn't the first time this spring that the defense dominated the offense, as the last scrimmage before A-Day was just as lopsided.

One of the Tigers' most pressing needs is a starting quarterback. Last season, Cam Newton scored 51 touchdowns, led Auburn to the BCS National Championship (its first crown since 1957) and took home the Heisman Trophy, among other awards.

Now Newton is off to the NFL, likely to the Carolina Panthers, and Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn is trying to find his sixth starting QB in six seasons as an offensive coordinator.

The competition could not be settled in the spring, so in August a QB battle will ensue between junior Barrett Trotter, redshirt sophomore Clint Moseley and true freshman Kiehl Frazier, the greatest high-school recruit in the history of the state of Arkansas.

If you'd asked me a month ago who I supported for the starting quarterback job at Auburn in 2011, I would have said Barrett Trotter.

But I don't exactly feel that way now, and neither do many Auburn fans.

Kiehl Frazier, who did not go through spring practice because he's still at Shiloh High School, will be given nine to 10 days in August to state his case to be the starting QB, according to Auburn head coach Gene Chizik.

Though he's only a freshman and the SEC is tough, there's no question that Kiehl will be the most talented QB on the roster the moment he steps on campus this summer. 

It's no knock on Trotter or Moseley, or Logan Paul for that matter, but while there will be some growing pains, keeping Frazier off the field this year would be a grave mistake.

Still, Auburn's schedule is not freshman-friendly.

The Tigers host Mississippi State, Florida and Alabama and must travel to Clemson, South Carolina, Arkansas, LSU and Georgia. Seven of those eight teams seek revenge on the Tigers for beating them last year, and Florida, the only team Auburn didn't play last year, will try to avenge its two consecutive losses to Auburn in 2006 and 2007.

In terms of arm strength, I would say Kiehl Frazier has the strongest arm on the team. In terms of pure speed, I give Frazier the advantage again.

When it comes to awareness in the pocket, Trotter is in the lead for now only because Frazier has never played in a college game (and because Clint Moseley was sacked five times at A-Day).

I know Frazier is only a freshman and even if he were to start the odds are against Auburn winning its second consecutive national championship, but when it comes down to skill and talent I believe Frazier gives the Tigers their best chance to win games.

Frazier has track speed, while Trotter and Moseley aren't very mobile.

In my mind, not starting Frazier in 2011 would be a lesser version of starting somebody like Chris Todd over somebody like Cam Newton (NOTE: I said a LESSER version).

Gus Malzahn's offense operates best when it has a mobile QB. The difference is obvious, as the 2010 Newton-led offense was far better than the 2009 Todd-led offense even though the 2009 offense was pretty good.

The potential Frazier has is unbelievable, and college football nation will be well aware of his presence soon enough. So even if 2011 is a rough year for the Tigers, it's all the more experience for Frazier and the Tigers will then be primed for a national-title run come 2012.