Auburn's quarterback competition is no more. Jarrett Stidham, the one-time Baylor quarterback who transferred following the 2015 season, will start for the Tigers this year.
Auburn tweeted the announcement on Monday.
Auburn has named @Jarrett_Stidham starting quarterback of the Tigers.#WarEagle | #OurTime pic.twitter.com/WajCrFFOkb— Auburn Football (@AuburnFootball) August 14, 2017
Stidham was in a competition with Sean White, who started 10 games last season and has 16 career starts. White battled through injuries and spent part of the offseason recovering from a broken arm he suffered in the Sugar Bowl against Oklahoma. Still, White was given an opportunity to come back from his injury and compete for the job.
Here's what you need to know about the decision ...
1. Stidham offers Auburn's offense something White does not: Stidham trails White in overall experience. The Baylor transplant appeared in 10 games for the Bears as a freshman two years ago, primarily in mop-up duty for Seth Russell. Stidham did start three games in the middle of the 2015 season when Russell was lost for the year with a neck injury. In that span against Kansas State, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, Stidham threw for 934 yards, six touchdowns and two picks with a rushing score to boot. He also spent a year at JUCO away from football. However, Stidham gives Auburn's offense a dual-threat capability that White simply can't. His ability to run and throw should be a perfect combination in coach Gus Malzahn's offense. The combination of White and Jeremy Johnson never gave Auburn that complete package at quarterback.
2. Still, Auburn has to like its quarterback depth: White was by no means a bad quarterback. In fact, he was among the more efficient quarterbacks in the SEC a year ago -- and that's while battling through injuries. White was never flashy, but he moved the ball and limited his interceptions in the Tigers' excellent rushing offense. Stidham is a high-ceiling player, but it has to be comforting to know for Auburn that it can win with its starter and backup.
3. Is Stidham the missing piece Auburn needs to compete with Alabama? The Tigers are the SEC West team du jour to challenge Alabama for the divisional title. There's plenty of talent on Auburn's offense and the defense returns about 60 percent of its production from a year ago. To be sure, the Crimson Tide have earned the title of overwhelming favorites, but if Stidham clicks, his extra athleticism could make the Iron Bowl particularly interesting.