There is an open battle for Auburn’s starting quarterback job, but there is no question about which candidate is the fastest.
John Franklin III.
“When he (Franklin III) takes off running, he has the wow factor,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn told reporters Thursday.
The junior college transfer is competing with sophomore Sean White and junior Jeremy Johnson in spring practice. White and Johnson are ahead of the curve in terms of learning the offense, as both saw time as a starter last season. But neither Johnson nor White is wowing anyone with his speed like Franklin III has the ability to do.
“They’re all getting an opportunity,” Malzahn told reporters.
In his stints at Auburn, Malzahn has had the most success running his offense with quarterbacks who pose a threat to run and throw the football. Nick Marshall and Cam Newton fit that criteria and both led Auburn to national championship appearances.
It is likely too much to ask of Franklin III to reach those heights, especially in his first season with the team. But if White or Johnson don’t run away with the job, Franklin III could see playing time and potentially add a change of pace in certain packages.
“I’ve been really impressed with his (Franklin’s) approach,” Malzahn said.