Hugh Freeze made Auburn football QB decision based on Jayden Daniels, Bo Nix, and Michael Penix

Hugh Freeze made his Auburn football QB decision based on the success of Jayden Daniels, Bo Nix, and Michael Penix in their second seasons following a transfer.
2023 Heisman Trophy Presentation
2023 Heisman Trophy Presentation / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

Hugh Freeze made his Auburn football quarterback decision for the 2024 season -- handing the ball back to incumbent starter Payton Thorne -- based on the success Jayden Daniels, Bo Nix, and Michael Penix experienced during their second seasons following a transfer according to Rivals' Brian Stultz.

"The Auburn coach also made it a point to look at what other transfer quarterbacks did in their first season with their new team compared to what they accomplished in the second," Stultz prefaced before saying, "For that, you have to glance at LSU's Jayden Daniels, Oregon's Bo Nix and Washington's Michael Penix Jr., all of whom were Heisman finalists following this season.

"Daniels, the Heisman Trophy winner, was significantly better in 2023, completing 72.2 percent of his passes, up from 68.6 percent in 2022, and threw for 899 more yards and 23 more touchdowns. Nix improved his passing percentage from 71.9 percent to 77.2 percent, throwing for 11 more touchdowns while limiting himself to four fewer picks."

Hugh Freeze leaving door open for Holden Geriner to start with Auburn football

Interestingly enough, Freeze never definitively said that Thorne was going to be the starter for the TIgers in 2024; leaving the door open for redshirt sophomore Holden Geriner to get the job if he earns it in camp when expanding upon his point of giving the second-year transfer Thorne another chance to prove himself.

"I also would say I don't know in year one of the transfer quarterback world who set the woods on fire," Freeze prefaced before saying, "Go look at that and find out now. Year two, there's a few, and that's my expectation for Payton, or Holden, whoever wins it."

Geriner has thrown just 12 passes over two years on the Plains thus far in his collegiate career, but he has earned high praise from both Freeze's coaching staff and the last regime that recruited the Class of 2022 prospect to Auburn. Evidently, Freeze is equally confident in Geriner stepping in as he is Thorne, hence the lack of a portal pursuit for a passer this cycle.