Chris Maurice takes a look at Jeremy Johnson and what he bring to the Auburn Tigers as he prepares for his first season as the starting quarterback.
Fans of the Auburn Tigers have known for a while now that Jeremy Johnson would be the starting quarterback come fall, and head coach Gus Malzahn made the official announcement on Monday following the Spring Game.
Johnson is entering his third season with the Tigers and his first as the starter after sitting behind Nick Marshall for the past two years.
Johnson actually started in the first game of this past season against the Arkansas Razorbacks while Marshall was suspended; and he was able to command the offense and move the ball down the field with easy, finishing the first half with 243 yards and two touchdowns on 12-of-16 passing. The Tigers are hoping they will see this sort of production out of Johnson in 2015.
Johnson certainly has the potential to be great this season in Malzahn’s high-powered, fast-pace offensive style. Johnson has an accurate arm and the able to make precision passes both from the pocket and on the run—something the team has lacked over the past few seasons with Nick Marshall.
Johnson should remind Tiger fans of Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton in 2015. With Duke Williams, Ricardo Lewis, and Melvin Ray all returning at wide receiver for Auburn, Johnson could easily stretch the field for over 3,000 yards through the air and another 1,000 on the ground.
Johnson had an outstanding Spring Game, passing for over 250 yards in the first half against new defensive coordinator Will Muschamp’s second team. In fact, the entire offense was able to move at will against the backups, who proved unable to stop Johnson or running back Roc Thomas.
Fortunately for Auburn, the first-team defense looked much better. Although the depth may not be there (or maybe the offense is just that good), the Tigers should have just enough defense to make a legitimate run at a College Football Playoff appearance.
At the end of the day, however, Auburn’s championship chances will hinge on the play of Jeremy Johnson. A Heisman-type performance this year could be just what the Tigers needs to make their second championship appearance in three seasons.