Photo by Jason Caldwell

Jason Caldwell's Monday Morning Quarterback Column: John Franklin's Touches, Auburn's DB Shuffle And More

Talking quarterback rotation, secondary shuffle, Josh Donaldson and a big recruiting weekend in this week's Monday Morning Quarterback.

Josh Holsey (above) could prove to be a valuable player for the Auburn football team's defense.

Quarterback Shuffle

Even though Sean White has been named Auburn’s starting quarterback to start the 2016 football season, it’s far from a closed book at the position with both Jeremy Johnson and John Franklin still very much in the discussion to get playing time this season for the Tigers. There is no question that it is White’s team at the moment and the best news for the Tigers would be for him to take control and never relinquish the job, but Franklin is a guy who will likely get a few snaps here or there because of his speed with the potential to see his role expand beyond that.

In 2009 with Chris Todd at quarterback for the Tigers it was Kodi Burns that got the call as the “wildcat” quarterback. That season Burns ran the ball 56 times and scored five touchdowns. That average of just over four carries a game may be a little bit under what we could expect from Franklin, but I don’t believe he will be a guy who gets double-digit touches with each game.

Gus Malzahn has always been very selective with his use of a second quarterback and I expect that to be the case again with Franklin, especially in Saturday’s opener against Clemson. With very little experience and the pressure of facing the No. 2 team in the country, I expect the Auburn coaches to take it very slow with Franklin coming out of the gate and add to his touches during the season.


Secondary Shuffle

When the Auburn Tigers take the field on Saturday night in the season opener against Clemson the quarterback position will get much of the attention for Gus Malzahn’s team, but the most important spot on the field may be in the defensive secondary. Already thin following the injury to Jamel Dean, with the arrest of Stephen Roberts last week things are even dicier as one of the most talented quarterback/wide receiver groups in the country rolls into Jordan-Hare Stadium.

While the starting group should still be solid with Carlton Davis and Javaris Davis at cornerback and potentially Tray Matthews and Nick Ruffin at safety, the lack of depth and experience has to be a concern for Auburn. Fifth-year senior Josh Holsey is the linchpin that will be counted on to hold things together for Coach Wesley McGriff and that’s likely to come at two different positions.

Playing both cornerback and safety, Holsey will likely be on the field a whole lot Saturday night and his experience is a huge bonus for the Auburn defense.


Another MVP

Former Auburn baseball standout and current Toronto Blue Jays star Josh Donaldson is once again in the thick of the race to be the American League Most Vauable Player. Winning the award last season, he is currently batting .294 with 33 home runs and 91 RBI following his three home run game on Sunday.

With still 32 games remaining in the regular season the third baseman is on pace to match or maybe even exceed his numbers from a year ago when he hit .297 with 41 home runs and 123 runs batted in.

Dan Hamilton / USA TODAY Sports

Josh Donaldson hits for power and average and is a good fielder for Toronto.

Placing fourth in the MVP voting with the Oakland A’s in 2013 and eighth in 2014 before being traded to Toronto last year, Donaldson is a shoo-in at this point to be among the top candidates for the award this year. That would put him in the Top 10 in AL MVP voting for four consecutive seasons and securely place him among the best players in baseball.


Football Recruiting Weekend

Saturday's football opener is setting up to be a busy one for Malzahn’s Tigers with a load of top prospects expected to visit from all over with Alabama on the road in Texas and LSU in Wisconsin. That means some a large group of talented prospects in the region will converge on Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Included in the group that could visit is former Baylor quarterback Jarrett Stidham. A five-star prospect coming out of Stephenville, Tex., High, he played well last season for the Bears with 12 touchdowns and just two interceptions when forced into action for injured Seth Russell. Transferring out of the program when Coach Art Briles was fired, Stidham recently made a visit to Auburn for a practice and will likely be one of the most sought-after players in the country for the 2017 class as a QB who will be eligible next season. He is currently attending junior college just taking classes, but is not playing football this fall.

Another top 2017 prospect expected to be on campus is four-star defensive end Isaiah Buggs from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. With fellow four-star wide receiver teammate and one-time Auburn commitment Brandon Martin also making the trip, Auburn has a chance to impress a pair of players that could likely be impact guys next season for the Tigers.

Click Here to Order 2016 ITAT Auburn Football Guide

Subscribe To

Get Inside The Auburn Tigers Magazine and Newsletters


Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories