5-star transfer QB deemed a swing-for-the-fences Auburn football portal option

A 5-star transfer quarterback was deemed by one analyst a swing-for-the-fences portal option for Auburn football.
USC Spring Football Game
USC Spring Football Game / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages

USC's Malachi Nelson, originally a 5-star quarterback coming out of Los Alamitos who was downgraded to a 4-star after throwing just three passes and completing one in his lone season in L.A., was deemed a swing-for-the-fences prospect for the Auburn football program to replace Payton Thorne with after the 2024 season; this according to FanSided's Cody Williams.

"Admittedly, if Auburn were to go into the transfer portal for a quarterback, you'd have to believe that Freeze would be doing so for someone with on-field experience and likely some enticing production already in his college football career," Williams prefaced before saying, "However, if he were to swing for the fences, then former USC Trojans 5-star recruit Malachi Nelson should be quite enticing.

"Though Freeze has expressed clear confidence in Thorne in addition to former 4-star sophomore Holden Geriner and even incoming 4-star Walker White, neither of the backup options are proven. And as discussed, one could reasonably worry about the ceiling with Thorne. That's where Nelson would make sense. The California product is immensely talented, hence his recruiting pedigree. With Freeze's ability to maximize the talent of his quarterbacks historically, pairing him with a player who has the upside and potential that Nelson possesses could yield wildly successful results as soon as next season, but most certainly in the long run for the Auburn program on the field."

Malachi Nelson unlikely for Auburn football as USC transfer looks for starting job

As Williams pointed out, Hugh Freeze has endorsed Thorne as the starter and has not written Holden Geriner off as a potential starter either. When you factor in Walker White's enthusiasm for recruiting and the star-studded 2024 receiver class who signed on to the Plains to join him, it's clear Freeze isn't in the market for a QB right now with the options he already has in tow.

Nelson, as FanSided's John Buhler points out, is likely to join a program that has immediate playing time available -- even if it means joining a Group of Five program or a program with less ambitions than Auburn football in 2024.

"To me, it feels like playing time is the second most important thing here, other than not having to play in the cold because USC is joining the Big Ten next year," Buhler prefaced before saying, "Of the places potentially connected to him right now, all of which are a step down in terms of national relevancy, while also staying in favorable climates."

Nelson is a nice idea, but the longest of long shots to end up at AU. Don't expect Freeze to even enter the batter's box for a shot at the ex-Trojan.