Auburn's QB1 has unfinished business.
Tigers redshirt sophomore quarterback Jarrett Stidham, who turned in just the second 3,000 passing yard season in program history, will return to The Plains.
"Made the decision to stay at Auburn," Stidham said in a tweet Friday evening. "We have unfinished business and I’m excited for what the 2018 season holds! War Eagle, Auburn Family!"
Stidham passed for 3,158 yards this season with a 66.5 completion percentage. The Baylor transfer racked up 18 passing scores to six interceptions.
Stidham, who beat out 2016 starter Sean White in preseason camp for the No. 1 spot, began to find his niche in the offense after a poor showing in the first two games of the year. Midseason, Stidham led the SEC in completion percentage, and was named second team All-SEC at year's end.
The 2017 SEC Newcomer of the Year Award winner showed NFL-caliber mobility as the year went on as well, totaling four rushing scores over the 14 games played.
“I feel like there is a lot of unfinished business for me,” Stidham said. “This year, we were really close to being where we wanted to be as a team. I didn’t like that taste in my mouth. I want to come back and finish what we started.”
The 21-year-old signal-caller made up his mind on an elk hunt in his home state of Texas just days after the Peach Bowl.
“I went on the elk hunt to get away from everything,” Stidham said. “It’s been a long five months since we started fall camp. I wanted to reflect on everything and figure out what was best for me and my future.
“I’ve got to raise my level in all areas for the betterment of the team, for the betterment of myself. And hopefully it feeds off to everybody else, and we can continue to get better and win a lot of football games.”
His 2018 leaders will be consistent, as head coach Gus Malzahn parried Arkansas rumors with a new contract, and offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey elected to remain on The Plains in favor of a deal with the South Alabama Jaguars, a rumor that Lindsey quickly denied. Stidham credited his success in 2017 and going forward to his two offensive gurus.
“They’ve been great,” Stidham said. “I’ve learned a lot of football in my time at Auburn. I learned a lot from both of them. Now that I’ve gotten to be with them for a year and they’ve been with me for a year and we understand each other really well, I think it’s only going to help.”
Despite a sour two-game losing streak at the conclusion of this past season, Stidham's aspirations for next year remains the same: bringing home a championship for the Auburn Family.
“The Auburn fans, the Auburn family, they’re about as good as it can get,” Stidham said. “I’m excited to play in front of them and give them everything that I have. It’s all about the fans and giving back to them. I’m excited about it. My family is excited about it. We’re all in and we’re ready to do this thing even bigger next year.”
After stating that he "had a lot of work to do" in the offseason after the Peach Bowl loss to UCF, Gus Malzahn's leading gunslinger will have to work in 2018 without his top two running backs in Kerryon Johnson and Kamryn Pettway, who both declared for the draft. Stidham has two years of eligibility remaining.