Auburn QB Jeremy Johnson is in an unfamiliar position entering the 2016 season: It will be the first time outside a brief battle last spring that he actively has to compete for a starting role at the quarterback position, either in high school or at Auburn.
Johnson enters the season battling sophomore Sean White and junior John Franklin III for the starting role at quarterback. And if he doesn’t win that battle, it’s possible Tigers fans could see him take on a new position entirely. That’s what two of his former coaches at Carver High School think, anyway.
Al Pogue and Billy Gresham, who coached Johnson in his first two seasons and final two seasons at Carver, respectively, told Evan McCullers of 247Sports they believe the quarterback would be willing to take on a new position if coaches asked him to.
“He’s an Auburn guy. He’s going to graduate from Auburn. He’s been there four years. Whatever it takes to get Auburn back where it needs to be, he’s willing to do it,” Gresham said. “Every player wants to start. Every player wants to be good at what they do. But for him, he’s a great teammate first. … If he feels like he’s probably not that guy, if somebody else is best for the team, he’ll follow that leader.”
Johnson was that leader for the start of the 2015 season, but failed to live up to the monumental expectations heaped on him. He threw six interceptions in his first three games and lost his job to White after Auburn got shellacked by LSU.
But Pogue, now a cornerbacks coach and recruiting coordinator at Troy, doesn’t expect Johnson to change roles without a fight.
“He’s not going to shy away,” Pogue said. “Whoever Auburn brings in to battle with him, he’s not going to shy away from him. They’re going to have to beat Jeremy Johnson.”