The Auburn football quarterback battle is very much a two-man race at this point of the calendar ahead of fall camp according to Mike Farrell Sports’ Mark Pszonak, who feels that the race is “far from a conclusion” while acknowledging that Payton Thorne is still the consensus top option over incumbent starter Robby Ashford.
“Now that the Tigers have Thorne, he will have to earn the starting job against Robby Ashford,” Pszonak prefaced before saying, “While this is far from a forgone conclusion, adding a quarterback with two years of starting experience does make him the likely starter when the season opens in September.”
While Thorne not winning the starting job would be disappointing, seeing the Hoover native Ashford get a chance to continue his improvement after upping his yardage under interim head coach Cadillac Williams took over last season would be far less disappointing than what the options were a year ago this time.
Analyst incorrectly points out that Auburn football ‘struck out’ on transfer portal QB options
Where Pszonak drifted away from the light a bit was in incorrectly pointing out that Auburn football “struck out” on their other transfer portal quarterback targets before ultimately landing with Thorne.
“Some of the loudest buzz revolved around Auburn, who quickly made Thorne a priority after striking out on a couple of other portal possibilities,” Pszonak wrote.
The truth of the matter is that Freeze ultimately passed up on offering Brennan Armstrong and Devin Leary, while Grayson McCall had an academic ineligibility issue preventing the Tigers from being able to roster him. Casey Thompson’s recruitment during the second wave of post-spring game transfers was ultimately undermined by the team’s interest in Thorne.
Freeze himself said that he refused to hand out guarantees to any transfer QB options, per the Associated Press’ John Zenor.
“We might could have had one or two in the last portal had I told them certain words they wanted to hear,” Freeze said. “Like they’re the guy and all that. But I’m just not made that way. “We absolutely are going to look at every scenario that becomes an option. We’ll go down and look at, is that best for this program. And that’s ultimately what we have to do, is what’s best for the program.”
If anything, the portal QBs couldn’t connect with Freeze’s fastballs requiring continuous competition until Week 1.