It has been a roller coaster of a season for Auburn junior quarterback Jeremy Johnson, who was a preseason Heisman Trophy candidate before getting benched three games into the year. However, after starting the last four games of the season, Johnson’s high school coach believes the quarterback wants to return for his senior campaign.
“We’ve talked about earning the coaches’ trust again and we’ve both talked about the only way to do that is to stay, fight for that starting quarterback job and continue to compete,” Billy Gresham told The Montgomery Advertiser’s Matthew Stevens.
If Johnson does return next season, he will have stiff competition for the starting job. Not only will he have to battle with rising sophomore Sean White, who likely would have finished this season as the starter if not for a knee injury, but Auburn has secured a commitment from junior college quarterback prospect John Franklin III, who originally enrolled at Florida State out of high school.
“I feel like those guys (Johnson and White) are good, but I feel like coming in the opportunity for me to be the guy right away is very big,” Franklin told AL.com’s Wesley Sinor after the Iron Bowl on Saturday. “I look forward to taking on that role.”
Franklin transferred to East Mississippi Community College, where he served as the backup quarterback this season. He is expected enroll at Auburn in January. Franklin’s elite speed has drawn comparisons to former Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall, who led the Tigers to a national championship appearance in 2013 under coach Gus Malzahn.
If Johnson does indeed return, the quarterback competition will be one of the most intriguing position battles during Auburn’s spring practices.