Joey Gatewood‘s visits to Auburn are few and far between, so he makes the most of them.
The Auburn quarterback commit made his most recent trip to the Plains this week, which was his first time on campus since A-Day. His next Auburn visit won’t take place until his official visit for either the Mississippi State game on Sept. 30 or the Ole Miss game on Oct. 7.
So he treasured every moment of his three-night stay.
“It’s still home. It’s just home. Nothing switched. I’m still going to Auburn. It’s always going to be home,” Gatewood said. “I was just glad to be back. There wasn’t anything super different about it. But it was just really good to be back.”
Gatewood spent time with several members of the Tigers, but the interaction likely to catch most people’s attention was his film session with offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey and quarterback Jarrett Stidham. Those three spent time together in the film room, breaking down tape and giving Gatewood a better idea of what to expect from a Lindsey offense.
It was one of Gatewood’s first player-coach moments with the new offensive coordinator.
“It was awesome to check out what they do on offense. It’s so similar to what I do in high school, so it shouldn’t be a hard transition,” Gatewood said. “He’s still laid back. He’s real easy to learn from. He explains everything in detail. I expect them to take off. It looked like they have a really, really good team coming in. I’m excited to see how they do.”
One thing Gatewood said they didn’t talk about much: Auburn’s recruitment of a second quarterback, specifically Justin Fields.
That’s because they didn’t have to.
The Auburn coaching staff has laid out the depth chart and Gatewood understands the need to have depth at quarterback. He said he also knows there will quarterback battles at every program, no matter who is on the roster.
In other words, Auburn doesn’t have to talk to Gatewood about the potential addition of another quarterback because it won’t change his commitment.
“It wouldn’t change a thing. No, not at all,” Gatewood said. “Wherever you go, you have to have competition. At the end of the day, that’s going to be there wherever you go. So it doesn’t affect me.”
Gatewood and Fields had the opportunity to work alongside each other and compete during the Elite 11 camp in Los Angeles. They didn’t talk much about recruiting or much about football, but Gatewood said the two standout quarterbacks connected during their interactions: “He beat me in ping-pong a lot,” he joked. “He’s cool, though. He’s real cool.”
For now, Auburn’s only quarterback commit is focused on two things — preparing for a state championship run and recruiting other targets.
Gatewood has been working with a private quarterback trainer to fine-tune his skill set. He’s been a star in workouts this week, squatting 520 pounds and benching 335 pounds during team activities at Bartram Trail High School near Jacksonville, Fla.
He doesn’t shy away from who he wants to join him in the class, name-dropping Justyn Ross, Asa Martin and Tank Jenkins, specifically. Even though he won’t be at the weekend cookout, he’ll be sure to be in contact with several of the top targets.
“I don’t really have a go-to message. I just start conversation,” he said. “I just talk to them and hope they choose Auburn.”