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Gus Malzahn names Nick Marshall Auburn's starting quarterback

By Chip Patterson | College Football/Basketball Writer

Auburn's quarterback competition concluded on Saturday when Gus Malzahn named Nick Marshall Auburn's starting quarterback for the season opener against Washington State.

Kiehl Frazier, Auburn's starting quarterback at the beginning of the 2012 season, volunteered to move to safety after learning that the Marshall and freshman Jeremy Johnson were the frontrunners for the starting job. According to Malzahn, Jonathan Wallace was also still in the mix as well, but Marshall and Johnson received a majority of the first team reps this past week. On Saturday, the competition came to a close by way of official new release.

"Nick Marshall has emerged and earned the right to be our starting quarterback," Malzahn said. "As I've said, we wanted to go with the guy that gives us the best opportunity to win football games and Nick is that guy.

"He has caught on quickly in the short period of time he has been with us. He is a playmaker with a big upside, and once he becomes more comfortable with the offense, he has the chance to improve each week."

Marshall started his college career as a defensive back at Georgia, but was dismissed after his freshman year and transferred to Garden City (Kan.) Community College and made a position switch. As a quarterback, Marshall totaled 3,142 passing yards and 1,095 rushing yards, collecting scholarship offers from Auburn, in addition to Kansas State and Baylor.

Expectations for Auburn's offense were raised the moment Gus Malzahn agreed to return as head coach. The up-tempo attack relies heavily on the ability and decision-making of the quarterback, making this one of the biggest questions thus far in fall camp. With the season opener two weeks away, Marshall has one more week of practice to work exclusively with the first team before the team turns their attention to Washington State.

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