Auburn Team News

Jarrett Stidham instantly most talented quarterback on Auburn roster

As you may have heard by now, the top JUCO quarterback prospect in the country, Jarrett Stidham, has committed to Auburn. You also don’t have to be an NFL scout to see the obvious talent he possesses.

At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Stidham’s a big guy. Physically, he dwarfs current Auburn starter Sean White.

Stidham has the big arm to match his frame. For everything White was when he played this season, he has never thrown a good deep ball and, in my opinion – although his coaches would tell you otherwise – lacks the arm strength to make every throw on the field.

Stidham, a Texas prep star who played in 10 games as a true freshman in 2015 at Baylor before deciding to leave the school after it fired Art Briles for his alleged involvement in the cover up of sexual assault allegations against his players, does not.

Watch the highlights below.

These clips were from Stidham’s true freshman season – his only season – at Baylor.

You can immediately recognize his size in these videos. You see the arm strength. You also see a surprising degree of touch he’s able to apply to short passes. You see accuracy.

While he is considered a dual-threat quarterback, he’s definitely better with his arm than with his legs. Don’t confuse him for Nick Marshall or John Franklin III with his feet. That doesn’t mean he can’t run, he can, but if you’re expecting Stidham to rush for 800 yards for Auburn in 2017, you don’t understand the type of player he is.

Stidham will keep you honest with his legs, and can be dangerous there, but he’s much more of a threat to pick up a first down on second-and-6 than he is to tear off 60 yards and score a touchdown. That’s OK.

Also, with that frame, he should be much more durable than the 6-foot, 200-pound White and effective in short yardage.

I don’t watch Baylor games and was surprised to see how similar the Bears’ offense was to Auburn’s. Baylor puts multiple wide receivers in a spread formation with a quarterback in the shotgun and a running back next to him but, just like Auburn, would rather run the football than pass. Baylor averaged over 300 yards rushing per game in the season Stidham played.

In Stidham’s first seven games for Baylor, he only attempted 28 passes against vastly over-matched opponents. Sound familiar? That changed once the Bears’ schedule stiffened with games against Kansas State, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. He threw 81 passes in those games.

He seems like a dream come true for Gus Malzahn, Rhett Lashlee and the Auburn offense: a good enough runner who can pick up first downs in short-yardage situations with a big arm to throw the deep ball and accuracy for short passes. He’s also familiar with playing in a spread offense. What’s not to like? Nothing from what I can see.

With Stidham, Auburn goes into the offseason with an interesting quarterback competition. White has moxy and experience, but he is limited physically. Stidham is off the page when it comes to talent, but new. Freshman Woody Barrett, who I saw play in high school, has great raw tools, but has yet to see the field. John Franklin III probably transfers or switches positions.

If everything goes according to plan, and it rarely does, Stidham should be the Tigers’ starting quarterback in 2017 and give them a greater chance to worry defenses than White ever did.

Stidham was an early enrollee at Baylor in 2015 and went through a full offseason before stepping in at quarterback that fall. Along with that, he will be 21 years old when the 2017 season begins, making him more experienced than your typical sophomore.

By NCAA eligibility standards, he will have the opportunity to play three full seasons of college football at Auburn.

To get a sense of Stidham, the person, take a look at this profile done by a TV station in Waco, Texas following his decision to leave Baylor.

RELATED: Auburn should start freshman QB Woody Barrett in Sugar Bowl

(You can follow Chadd Scott on Twitter @ChaddScott)

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