5 Auburn Tigers to Watch Against Arkansas

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#6 Jeremy Johnson, 6-foot-5, 230 pounds, Sophomore, Quarterback

Today, head coach Gus Malzahn made it official, though the world already knew that Jeremy Johnson would start at quarterback for the Auburn Tigers on Saturday. In his Tuesday press conference, which was coupled with the releasing of the official depth chart for this Saturday’s game, Malzahn stated that Johnson has known he would start “for a while.” The head coach is pretty confident in the sophomore signal caller.

“We have a lot of confidence in him. He knows the whole playbook,” Malzahn said. “There’s not one thing that I would say we’re concerned about.”

Oct 12, 2013; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers quarterback Jeremy Johnson (6) looks to pass during the first quarter against the Western Carolina Catamounts at Jordan Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

Auburn fans know that Johnson has played in the past. He started once last season against Western Carolina and led the Tigers to one of their biggest offensive outputs of the season against the FCS school. Johnson also saw significant time against Florida Atlantic two weeks later. Both appearances came as a result of Nick Marshall injuries. Saturday’s start, of course, is related to Marshall’s summer citation for marijuana possession.

At this point, we still do not know how long Johnson will play in the game, and when Marshall will enter, because Malzahn has kept his intentions very close to his sweater vest. However, what we do know is that Johnson is starting, and that continues a trend in place at Auburn since 2007.

Brandon Cox, Kodi Burns, Chris Todd, Cam Newton, Barrett Trotter, Kiehl Frazier and Nick Marshall have started the last seven season openers for Auburn, and when Jeremy Johnson takes the first snap on Sunday, he will be the eighth different starter for the Tigers in eight years.

Gus Malzahn has also had a different starting quarterback in each season he has been a college coach (including one season at Arkansas, two at Tulsa, and one at Arkansas State), so this trend is not unique to Auburn.

Nick Marshall will be the first starter to return for Malzahn in college, and the senior is expected to start the rest of the season for Auburn, but it is up to Johnson to get the season started on a high note.