Former Auburn quarterback Jason Campbell knows a thing or two about leading a successful college offense.
So what does he think about the Tigers’ quarterback battle between senior Jeremy Johnson, sophomore Sean White and junior college transfer John Franklin III?
“Going into training camp as a coach, you have to be excited with what you have because the experience and that’s something that you can’t teach,” Campbell said in a recent interview with AL.com. “Jeremy has experience. Sean has experience and our JUCO transfer (Franklin) has now had a whole spring under his belt. Now, he (Franklin) gets an offseason going to summer to throw and build timing with the guys and learn the communication of the offense.”
Johnson began last season as the starter, but he threw six interceptions in three starts and was replaced by White in the fourth game. White had up-and-down performances in six starts, and sustained a knee injury that brought Johnson back into the fold late in the season. Johnson led Auburn to a comeback victory in the second half of the 2015-16 season finale in the Tigers’ Birmingham Bowl win over Memphis.
Franklin lacks the experience of the other two quarterbacks, but the transfer’s speed makes him an interesting candidate for the job. Franklin’s running ability has been compared to former Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall.
Neither Johnson nor White is exactly fleet of foot, which has been an attribute of successful quarterbacks in coach Gus Malzahn‘s offense. Freshman Woody Barrett has yet to arrive on campus, and is expected to compete for the starting job, although the team could consider redshirting him to save a year of eligibility.
Campbell did not provide a definitive answer on who he thinks will win the starting job, but he thinks the close competition will be beneficial for the team.
“Competition brings out the best in everyone,” Campbell said. “Each of those guys gives depth at the position. You’re always one play away (from injury), so whether you win the quarterback battle or lose, you have to stay ready.”