Jason Caldwell's Monday Morning Quarterback Column--Talking Auburn, Quarterbacks And Baseball

Talking Auburn freshman quarterback Malik Willis, 2019 quarterback Bo Nix and a big weekend for the Tigers on the diamond.

What You Talking About Willis?

Don’t look now but Auburn early enrollee Malik Willis is quickly catching the eye of his coaches and teammates with his play in spring football practice. That came to a head on Saturday when he and Woody Barrett went live during the scrimmage.

Making plays with his legs and showing a good arm, Willis was one of the stars on Saturday and left his teammates seeing plenty of potential with him down the road.

“He’s a stud, there’s no doubt about it,” senior Austin Golson said. “He’s going to be really good. He kind of reminds me a lot of Nick (Marshall). He can run and make plays whenever plays might not be there. I’m really excited about his future.”

The interesting thing is seeing Willis’ development in such a short period of time. Starting only a year and a half in high school, he enrolled early at Auburn and has already gotten noticeably bigger and stronger since January.

That combined with a work ethic that had him working out every night with personal coach Sean McEvoy in Atlanta during his spring break has Willis poised to be one of the big winners of spring practice for the Tigers.

While he’s not likely to be a starter or even the second guy with Jarrett Stidham and Sean White the odds-on favorites for those roles, a push ahead of Barrett would mean a world of difference for Willis next fall with more reps and work with the offense.

Barrett won’t go down without a fight, however. Impressive all spring with his improvements, Barrett didn’t have a good first scrimmage on Saturday. but he will have at least two more opportunities to show Offensive Coordinator Chip Lindsey what he can do this spring.


The Future?

I was in Buford, Ga., on Sunday for the Atlanta Opening and came away even more impressed with class of 2019 quarterback prospect Bo Nix than I already was, and that’s saying something. With a load of top quarterbacks in attendance it was easy to see from the first few reps that Nix was head and shoulders above the rest.

Very accurate with a quick release, Nix combines the physical qualities with a strong work ethic that saw him in the front of the line at every opportunity. That along with being a very coachable kid will make him among the very best quarterbacks in the country the next two years.

With his connections to Auburn and a love for the Tigers, Nix will get a full court press from the Auburn staff because he is one of the best in-state quarterbacks in recent memory.


Big Road Wins For Tigers

Following a sweep of Florida to open SEC baseball play, Coach Butch Thompson’s Auburn Tigers took to the road over the weekend and won two of three from Georgia to remain tied for first in the SEC through two weeks of conference action.

Now 20-6 overall and 5-1 in SEC play, Auburn split the first two games of the series and turned the ball over to freshman Davis Daniel on Sunday and the Montgomery native came through with his best performance of the season.

It was also fitting that Jonah Todd and Luke Jarvis came up with the big plays on Sunday based on their play all week. Coming up with three hits, including a two-run homer, Jarvis continued his hot streak at the plate while Todd’s two hits raised his average to a team-high .351 average.

Tied with Arkansas, Kentucky and South Carolina at 5-1 in league play, Auburn will have a showdown with the Gamecocks this weekend at Plainsman Park, but first up is the Capital City Classic in Montgomery on Tuesday at 7 p.m. against Alabama. The game will be televised on ESPNU.


SEC Standings Week 2

Auburn  5-1  20-6

Arkansas  5-1  20-5

Kentucky  5-1  18-7

South Carolina  5-1  17-6

Missouri  4-2  21-3

LSU  4-2  18-7

Vandy  3-3  16-9

Ole Miss  3-3  15-9

Miss. State  3-3  15-10

Florida  2-4  16-9

Texas A&M  1-5  16-9

Alabama  1-5  11-12

Georgia  1-5  9-15

Tennessee 0-6  13-8


This Week’s SEC Schedule

South Carolina at Auburn
Vandy at Kentucky

Georgia at Tennessee

Miss. State at Ole Miss

Florida at Missouri

Texas A&M at LSU

Arkansas at Alabama

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