What every Auburn fan essentially knew was finally made official Wednesday night: It's a two-man race at quarterback.
Gus Malzahn announced that the four-man race had been cut in half, choosing to go with the two younger options in redshirt freshman Joey Gatewood and true freshman Bo Nix over redshirt freshman Cord Sandberg and junior Malik Willis.
“Joey Gatewood, Bo Nix are really 1, 1A," Malzahn said at the Auburn Ambush alumni event in Dothan, Alabama, in a quote gathered from 247Sports's Brandon Marcello. "One of those two guys will be our starting quarterback for our first game. They’ll compete during the summer and during fall camp and we’ll make a decision."
The four quarterbacks battled it out over the course of 15 spring practices. Gatewood and Nix seemed to pull ahead after an A-Day that left Auburn fans on the edge of their seat. Gatewood was 8-of-12 passing for 130 yards and two touchdowns at A-Day. Tackling restrictions kept Gatewood from showing off his explosive running ability, only rushing once for 1 yard. Nix was 11-of-17 for 155 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Nix also threw a interception in the second half.
Both quarterbacks are labeled as dual-threat quarterback but with completely different styles. Gatewood is 6-foot-5 and 233 pounds with the toughness to handle the inside-zone as Auburn's biggest quarterback since Cam Newton. Nix is a pocket passer who fits zone-read plays better because of his quickness.
With the quarterback race down to two it will become much more focused as Auburn heads toward the summer. When summer workouts come around the starting set of receivers and skill-position players will be able to focus on these two quarterbacks' style of offense alone.
"The more reps they get, obviously the better they’re going to be," Malzahn said of his quarterbacks. "But they showed that they can lead our offense and both of them have a chance to be a very successful quarterback here at Auburn."
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