The last time that Jarrett Stidham saw meaningful live action in a game was in 2015.
As a true freshman at Baylor, Stidham was 75-of-109 passing for 1,265 yards and 12 touchdowns in limited playing time. After transferring to Auburn this offseason, Stidham has made quite the impression on coaches, fans and media members alike.
Given his dual-threat abilities, which perfectly suit Gus Malzahn’s preference on offense, and the weapons that the Tigers possess, it’s no surprise that Sports Illustrated recently named him one of its dark-horse Heisman candidates.
In explaining his inclusion of Stidham on his list, SI’s Chris Johnson wrote, “There’s a very real possibility that Stidham, a former five-star prospect, makes good on his recruiting hype with a breakout campaign and propels Auburn into College Football Playoff contention.”
Some may believe this is yet another case where offseason hype has been blown out of proportion, and that may prove to be the case. Based on what Stidham showed this spring, however, we know there is more than enough substance to back up all of the talk he’s receiving. The redshirt sophomore led five first-half scoring drives in Auburn’s A-Day game while completing 16 of his 20 attempts for 267 yards, including passes of 50 and 46 yards.
— Skye Underwood (@SkyeUnderwood) May 4, 2017
For a program that has longed for a quarterback capable of scaring defenses with his arm, Stidham should undoubtedly be the best since its last Heisman Trophy winner.
Sports Illustrated did offer a reason why Stidham should still be considered a dark horse, however.
“But Stidham ultimately may lack the statistical résumé to hang with other top candidates in the Heisman race,” Johnson wrote. “The Tigers are not going to abandon their running game, which will be fronted by arguably the nation’s best rushing tandem (juniors Kamryn Pettway and Kerryon Johnson).”
While the presence of Stidham, Pettway and Johnson may prevent any single player from putting up monster statistics, it’s a backfield that should have more than enough talent to help Auburn make a serious run at Alabama in the SEC West. At the end of the day, a division title is a pretty good consolation prize.