Auburn football won't make portal decision based on departed transfer's exit

According to one analyst, Auburn football won't be making any transfer portal decisions based on a departed QB's exit.

Samford v Auburn
Samford v Auburn / Michael Chang/GettyImages
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Rivals' Bryan Matthews relayed that any decision Hugh Freeze's Auburn football program makes in the coming months regarding their quarterback room -- including landing an arm via the transfer portal -- won't be the direct result of Robby Ashford's departure in December.

"Just when it looked like Auburn was determined to build its offense around Thorne, AU is back in the portal looking for a potential replacement after a tough showing in the Music City Bowl," Matthews prefaced before saying, "It appears all options are still open as far as the QB position for 2024. Brown made a positive impression at the end of the bowl game and should be in the mix this spring. Ashford leaving didn't come as a surprise and his decision doesn't impact whether or not AU pursues a transfer."

Matthews' assessment of the QB room, and his listing of Payton Thorne, Hank Brown, and Walker White, indicate that one of AU's portal additions since the opening of the latest cycle won't be a signal-caller despite having previous experience under center at the Power Five level.

Sam Jackson V, despite being referred to as Auburn football QB, will be a wideout on the Plains

Saturday Down South's Glenn Sattell called portal addition Sam Jackson V out of Cal a quarterback room addition.

"Though prior to the Music City Bowl, Freeze had indicated that he was satisfied with his QB room, but that tune changed following the loss to Maryland," Sattell prefaced before saying, "And Freeze has already made one move in that regard, plucking former Cal QB Sam Jackson V. In a 14-10 loss to Auburn early last season, Jackson threw for 126 yards, completing 14-of-27 passes with 2 interceptions. The sophomore played in 5 games last season for the Bears, throwing for 556 yards and 5 TDs. Quarterback is a position that Freeze must upgrade if the Tigers are to be competitive in 2024."

On3's Justin Hokanson only spoke of him as a potential Auburn football WR room addition, though.

"This will be an underrated pickup nationally, but I love it," Hokanson wrote. "People that know Sam Jackson describe him as a 'freak' athlete. Jackson was destined to be a blue-chip WR out of HS, if he remained at the position. Combine that with his knowledge of what a QB wants from his WRs and his close friendship with Payton Thorne, and this is a great pickup in my opinion."

Don't expect a single snap from Jackson for the Tigers in 2024. If anything, Brown and White are the QB1 frontrunners until a true portal option is brought to the competition with the intent of winning it by September.