With two career starts under his belt, Johnson has strong stats in limited duty so far in his Auburn career. Completing 57-78 passes (73.1 percent) for 858 yards and nine touchdowns with two interceptions, Johnson has shown the ability to make plays from the pocket already. Now that it’s his team his role shifts to becoming the all-around quarterback Coach Rhett Lashlee is looking for to guide the offense.
That’s something that Nick Marshall did well the last two seasons. Always calm and composed in the face of pressure, Marshall had a very good senior season in 2014 when he completed 178-293 passes for 2,532 yards and 20 touchdowns with seven interceptions. His pass efficiency of 151.09 was good enough for fourth-best in school history.
Now it’s time for Johnson to take the reins and move the offense forward, something Lashlee said he’s seen very good signs of so far in fall camp.
“I think he's been really good on and off the field,” Lashlee said. “Again, he's very confident, he's been vocal, he's led us, he's been our leader just like you would want him to be and really he's performed well, probably with the exception of one day. He probably had one day he didn't throw his best, but he's human. Overall, I've been pleased.”
Jeremy Johnson, who was Alabama's Mr. Football as a high school senior at Carver High in Montgomery, was also offered a scholarship by Auburn to play basketball.
The expectations for Johnson are very high as one of the few quarterbacks in the SEC with any experience. Even though his time has been limited in games the junior has shown the ability to get the job done. Pair that with an offense that is known for producing big numbers and Coach Gus Malzahn said it all comes together if things are done the right way.
“The expectations are higher for him as far as execution,” Malzahn said. “He understands the offense very well so he needs to be very good and very precise with his passes and execution-wise. So that's the challenge.
“The challenge for him is for Coach Lashlee to coach him hard, to strain him, to make him as best he can be. Jeremy's very coachable and he understands that. He's really gotten off to a great start.”
Former quarterback and current wide receiver Jonathan Wallace backs up the sentiments of his head coach. A mentor for Johnson early in his career before changing positions, Wallace said he’s seen nothing but good things from Johnson in camp and he’s ready to see what he can do.
“He’s embraced it so well,” Wallace said of Johnson. “He looks very comfortable back there in the pocket. He’s developed tremendously as he’s been in college. Everybody has great faith in him and knows that he can get the job done.”
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