Auburn, Ala.--Although it wasn’t a surprise to Jeremy Johnson or his teammates that the junior was named Auburn’s starting quarterback for the 2015 season at the conclusion of spring practice, that doesn’t mean Johnson wasn’t excited when he got the news from Gus Malzahn.
“It’s a blessing,” Johnson said. “There are so many people in the world that wish they had the opportunity that I have, and I cherish every moment I get. I’m looking forward to this season.”
He got the news on Monday from Auburn’s head and Rhett Lashlee, the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach, prior to a team meeting on the final day of spring drills.
Asked if he received any specific advice from the coaches on what is expected, the junior said, “Nothing in particular, just still become a leader off the field and on the field and just lead the guys. That is what I’ve been working on all spring. That is my goal for the summer and also during the season.”
When asked what he believes he should do as a leader, Johnson said, “Holding guys accountable off the field, and that is with not having the off-the-field issues we had last year and also on the field, like discipline, playing from start to finish.”
Sean White, the other quarterback in the competition to be the starter, will go into his redshirt freshman season as the top backup with Tyler Queen, an early high school graduate, likely to redshirt.
“He was happy for me,” Johnson said of White’s reaction when the two were told by Malzahn that Johnson is No. 1 on the depth chart.
“Sean has been supporting me ever since the first day he got on campus,” the quarterback said. “He is a great teammate...me and him got a relationship like me and Nick (Marshall) had. All three of us had the same relationship. He’s a great person, a great player and he’s got a bright future ahead of him as well.”
Johnson was Marshall’s backup the past two seasons, but started the Western Carolina game in 2013 when Marshall was injured and the Arkansas game last year when Marshall was suspended for a half. Johnson was sharp a passer in both of those contests.
Commenting on what he learned from watching the former Tiger who put up strong numbers as a passer and rusher, Johnson said, “The way he handled adversity. When things were going bad he was always the calm one. Being the quarterback, you have to be that way...his emotions never changed whether we were down or up. That’s the biggest thing I took from him and being a leader by example.”
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