Power ranking every QB Auburn will face in 2019
Congratulations, Auburn defense. During your 12-game stretch in the 2019 season, you get to face 2 Heisman Trophy contenders (Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa and Oregon’s Justin Herbert) who threw for more than 3,000 yards last season. Add in Georgia’s Jake Fromm, LSU’s Joe Burrow and Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond, and the Tigers have a rough slate on their hands.
It’s no secret that Auburn’s schedule is tough, but the amount of talented signal-callers the Tigers will face is impressive — and daunting. Luckily, defensive coordinator Kevin Steele will unleash possibly the best defensive line in the nation and the secondary is full of veterans ready to make their mark.
Here is a power ranking of the quarterbacks the Tigers will face.
12. Chris Oladokun/Liam Welch (Samford)
Both quarterbacks will come into Jordan-Hare inexperienced, and that will spell trouble for the Bulldogs. Oladokun, a transfer from South Florida, sat for 2 years behind Bulls’ star Quinton Flowers and then lost the competition for starting job before last season to Alabama transfer Blake Barnett. Expect to see him behind center when Samford visits in November.
11. Justin McMillan (Tulane)
A seasoned veteran, the LSU transfer will bring a dual-threat attack on Sept. 7 against the Tigers and could cause some problems from a little bit of letdown after Auburn faces Oregon in the opener. In 9 games last season, McMillan finished with 1,304 passing yards and 10 touchdowns to 4 interceptions while rushing for 5 TDs and 238 yards for the Green Wave. McMillan was part of LSU’s 2015 recruiting class.
10. Woody Barrett (Kent State)
A familiar face returns to The Plains as Barrett, who transferred from Auburn after the 2016 season, leads the Golden Flashes’ attack. In his first season at the MAC school in 2018, Barrett completed 58.7% of his passes for 2,339 yards and 11 touchdowns with 9 interceptions. He’s also a running threat, rushing for 503 yards and 7 TDs.
9. Nick Starkel/Ben Hicks (Arkansas)
Both graduate transfers, Starkel and Hicks are fighting for the chance to run Chad Morris’ offense that still isn’t ready for primetime in Year 2. If it is Starkel, who Morris recruited out of high school, the Tigers will face a familiar foe. In 2017, Auburn held Starkel to 11-of-22 passing for 184 yards and 2 touchdowns when he was with Texas A&M.
8. Tommy Stevens/Keytaon Thompson (Mississippi State)
Gone is Nick Fitzgerald, but coach Joe Moorhead will have a plan ready for either Stevens or Thompson after seeing what a running quarterback could do against the Tigers last year. Fitzgerald threw for only 69 yards but rushed for 195 yards.
7. Matt Corral (Ole Miss)
Corral will try to fill the shoes of Jordan Ta’amu (3,918 passing yards and 19 TDs, 342 rushing for 6 TDs last season), but he has the potential in Rich Rodriguez’s offense. There is a reason that he was the No. 4-ranked pro-style quarterback in the 2018 class. He has the arm talent to create problems for the Tigers’ defense.
6. Feleipe Franks (Florida)
Franks seemed to start to get it in the second half of last season, his first in Dan Mullen’s system. He’s a pro-style quarterback (24 passing TDs) who has become a willing runner (7 rushing TDs in 2018) under Mullen. Franks has one of the strongest arms in the country and, although he isn’t a burner, he is big enough to shake off arm tackles and has enough mobility to extend plays. He’s not exactly polished, but he’s vastly improved.
5. Joe Burrow (LSU)
If you ask about facing Burrow last year, the Tigers might just shake their hand. It was the Ohio State transfer who led the comeback last season in LSU’s 22-21 victory at Auburn. That memory will be fresh in the mind of the guys on Auburn’s defense.
4. Kellen Mond (Texas A&M)
Mond might be a dark horse Heisman candidate. His skill set is impressive. He didn’t have his best game at Auburn last season, completing just 16-of-32 passes for 220 yards with a touchdown and interception. How much better will he be in Year 2 under Jimbo Fisher? We shall see.
3. Justin Herbert (Oregon)
Auburn’s job got much harder in the opener after Herbert decided to come back for his senior season. The likely first-round pick in next April’s NFL Draft will be a big test for the Tigers’ secondary. As a junior last season, he threw for 3,151 yards and 29 touchdowns with just 8 interceptions.
2. Jake Fromm (Georgia)
Fromm wasn’t asked to do much last season in the 27-10 victory over Auburn, throwing 20 passes (13 completions) for 193 yards and 2 touchdowns with an interception while handing the ball off as the Dawgs ran all over the Tigers for 303 yards. The last time Fromm was in Jordan-Hare Stadium, though, it turned into a nightmare. Then a freshman, he was sacked 4 times as Auburn dominated the Dawgs 40-17. Can he defeat the noise that he couldn’t in 2017?
1. Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama)
The Tigers, much like the rest of the Tide’s competition not named Clemson, had trouble containing Tagovailoa last year as he went off for 324 yards and 5 touchdowns on 25-of-32 passing. Auburn will have the home crowd behind them this season. They’ll also have the most dominant defensive line in college football trying to derail Tagovailoa’s Heisman bid. If that happens often enough, Auburn could walk out with a win in what likely will be Tagovailoa’s final trip to The Plains.