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Calzada to have season-ending shoulder surgery

An Auburn football rests on a table at the final day of SEC Media Days in Atlanta, Georgia, on July 21, 2022
An Auburn football rests on a table at the final day of SEC Media Days in Atlanta, Georgia, on July 21, 2022

In the wake of a high-profile transfer from Texas A&M to Auburn, sophomore quarterback Zach Calzada will miss the remainder of the season after electing to have surgery on his non-throwing shoulder. 

With the announcement, originally reported on by Justin Hokanson of On3 Sports, Calzada will apply for a medical redshirt and have three years of eligibility remaining.

Head coach Bryan Harsin confirmed the report Monday at the beginning of his weekly presser. This will be the second time he has surgery on that shoulder.

"Zach Calzada, on his repaired shoulder, will get another surgery on that," Harsin said. "That'll be Wednesday, so they'll go in there and repair some of what had happened from before. That'll be season ending there."

In an earlier press conference, there was a tense exchange with John Zenor of the Associated Press concerning Calzada’s health, where head coach Bryan Harsin was noncommittal about the status of Calzada’s status.

“You know something I don’t know? He’s competed like everybody else,” said Harsin. “Those guys, every single week, get those opportunities. And we try to play the best players.” 

Calzada's surgery comes at a pivotal time for Auburn quarterbacks, with original starter T.J. Finley spending Saturday's LSU game in street clothes and transfer Robby Ashford taking over the starting role. 

A former Under Armour All-American and consensus top-20 quarterback prospect from the class of 2019, Calzada originally signed with Texas A&M out of Lanier High School in Buford, Ga.

Calzada’s signature moment came against then-top-ranked Alabama on Oct. 9, 2022, when he willed Texas A&M to an improbable 41-38 victory.

He finished the game against the Crimson Tide 21 of 31 for 3 touchdowns, 1 interception and a career-high 285 yards.

Thus far in his collegiate career, Calzada has completed 196 of 352 passes for 2,318 yards, 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, all with the Aggies. He has yet to play a snap for Auburn.

Before the season began, there had been hope among Auburn fans that Calzada could come in and lay claim to the starting quarterback position. After all, he had already defeated the Tigers’ in-state foe.

Following a string of five successive defeats to close the 2021 campaign and the transfer of longtime starter Bo Nix to the University of Oregon, the transfer was also seen as a way to reset the offense.

However, things did not go as expected for Calzada. After being unable to take part in spring camp due to a preexisting injury in his non-throwing shoulder, he was ruled out until summer workouts began.

Even after making a comeback as documented by semi-viral workout videos, he was unable to secure the starting job, and there has been a shakeup in the room ever since. 

With Calzada appearing to be unavailable the rest of this year, Auburn now finds itself with four scholarship quarterbacks: Finley, Ashford and freshman Holden Geriner. Auburn also recently awarded senior QB Trey Lindsey with a scholarship.

Furthermore, Calzada's unavailability is even more of an issue now that Finley is no longer dressing out for games. 

Auburn took its first loss against LSU on Saturday and now face a long stretch of SEC games with one less scholarship quarterback available. 

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Daniel Schmidt | Assistant News Editor

Daniel Schmidt, senior in journalism, is the assistant news editor for the Auburn Plainsman. 

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