By Dylan Larck
Auburn made headlines Monday after bringing in former LSU quarterback TJ Finley from the transfer portal. The former three-star recruit chose Auburn over Penn State, Houston, and Alabama.
Over the course of his recruitment, Finley was not shy to show how confident he was that he would become the starter at Auburn.
“If I feel like I can beat Bo Nix out, then I’ll go there and do what I have to do,” Finley said in an interview with AL.com.
More recently, Finley has stated that he did not come to Auburn to be a backup. This brings up questions for the future of the Auburn quarterback room that now consists of Bo Nix, Grant Loy, Dematrius Davis, and TJ Finley, who would have four years of eligibility left. Auburn also has the commitment of 2022 four-star Holden Geriner.
Davis was Auburn’s most hyped-up recruit from the 2021 class, and Tiger fans got to see little of him in the A-Day game, and even though he might be listed as Nix’s backup now, the commitment of Finley, who has SEC experience, puts him at third-string.
With the talent level that Davis holds, I would not be surprised if he ends up transferring in the next year. Seen as Nix’s replacement under the Gus Malzahn era, some thought that he would decommit once Malzahn was fired, but he stayed loyal to Auburn and signed.
Auburn had a quarterback room about as talented as this one in 2019 with Nix, Joey Gatewood, and Malik Willis in the mix. Once Nix was announced the starter, Willis transferred to Liberty, where he has found success in Hugh Freeze’s offense. A year later, Gatewood transferred to Kentucky, where he is expected to be their starter this year.
Bryan Harsin looks to build a pro-style offense at Auburn, a scheme that fits Finley and, eventually, Geriner well, but not as much Davis, who would fit more of a spread offense.
With Geriner coming in as a part of Harsin’s first official recruiting class, the quarterback depth chart is going to be too loaded to not have a couple of quarterbacks leave the program.
Nix is going to be the starter for Auburn, and I find it unlikely that Finley will beat him out for the job this year, but it does leave a quality backup for Auburn that could compete for the starting job with Nix, forcing him to develop into the player Auburn fans want him to be. Competition makes everyone better, and if Nix doesn’t improve, Finley is there to take it.