Along with the addition of freshman Sean White the Tigers have one of the best groups in the SEC heading into the season and that is good news when facing one of the most difficult schedules in the country.
The biggest question for the quarterback position is whether or not Nick Marshall will miss any playing time this season as a result of his offseason citation for possession of marijuana. Even if he does it’s doubtful it will be lengthy suspension, meaning Malzahn will have a returning starter at quarterback for the first time since he started coaching college football in 2006.
What he will have in Marshall is a quarterback that turned into one of the top playmakers in the country as a first-year starter for the Tigers in 2013. Starting 13 games he threw for 1,976 yards and 14 touchdowns with just six interceptions last year. Add in 1,068 yards and 12 scores on the ground and it’s obvious why Marshall was named the first-team All-SEC quarterback heading into his senior year.
Working on improving his passing skills in spring practice, Marshall showed better touch on all his throws and that means a more dangerous player for opposing defenses to try to stop. With plenty of weapons at his disposal outside including Sammie Coates, Ricardo Louis, Quan Bray and D’haquille Williams, Marshall is in line to have a monster season for the Tigers.
Jeremy Johnson showed some skills as a freshman
With Marshall’s status up in the air heading into the season that means Johnson could be an important player early in the 2014 schedule. Playing sparingly last season as a true freshman, the 6-6 Johnson has all the skills to be a great quarterback for the Tigers when his time comes. Completing 29-42 passes for 422 yards with six touchdowns and just two interceptions last season, Johnson got some important snaps during the year and should be ready if needed.
Third on the list is junior Jonathan Wallace. The definition of a team player, Wallace saw the bulk of his career action in 2012 when he completed 57.5 percent of his passes for 720 yards and four touchdowns in nine games. Improved as a passer since Malzahn’s return to Auburn, the Phenix City native is a very good third option and one of the leaders for the Tigers.
Jonathan Wallace is one of the team leaders for the Tigers
Rounding out the quarterback group are White and walk-on Tucker Tuberville. A 6-2, 200-pounder, White earned MVP honors at both the Elite 11 competition and the Under Armour All-American Game last year. Athletic enough to make plays with his feet if needed, White is more of a pocket quarterback and should benefit from a redshirt year to get stronger in 2014.