Flash Staff Report
(August 25, 2017) — Will 2015 Stephenville product Jarrett Stidham be at the forefront of quarterback chatter entering the 2018 NFL Draft?
NFL.com writer Lance Zierlein says yes.
One of seven NFL.com writers who made their “Fearless predictions for NFL prospects,” published on the official website of the National Football League just after noon Thursday, Zierlein’s fearless prediction reads:
Stidham will be QB everyone’s talking about
While there is considerable buzz surrounding quarterbacks like Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson, the quarterback who will rise to the forefront of draft discussions will be Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham. Stidham has decent size as well as excellent football intelligence, mobility and accuracy. Stidham should thrive in Auburn’s offense.
Stidham was a 2015 Under Armour All-American and a ESPN, Rivals and 247Sports 5-star prospect coming out of Stephenville, where he won a state title as a receiver in 2012 followed by two district championships and a regional title as an all-state QB in 2013 and 2014.
Stidham technically transferred to Auburn from McClennan Community College, but he only attended classes at MCC in Waco and used his redshirt season after shining in relief of an injured starter as a true freshman at Baylor.
Stidham appeared in each of seven straight blowout victories to begin the 2015 season at Baylor, and became the starter when Seth Russell was injured. Stidham made it three games before injuring an ankle himself, and did not appear in the final two regular season contests or in Baylor’s 49-38 Russell Athletic Bowl victory over North Carolina.
In his first college start, Stidham went to Manhattan, Kansas and was 23-33 passing for 419 yards and 3 TDs with no turnovers in a 31-24 win over Kansas State. He was 16-27 for 257 yards and two scores but also tossed two interceptions in a 44-34 loss to Oklahoma, and 12-21 for 258 and a TD before suffering an ankle injury that ultimately ended his Baylor career during a 45-35 victory over Oklahoma State.
Stidham was 75-109 (68.8 percent) for 1,265 yards and 12 TDs in 2015, a freshman season that has many across college football – and the NFL – relishing the opportunity to see him again.
Stidham was a late commitment to Baylor, having verbally committed to Texas Tech during the summer before his senior (2014) season, only to change his mind in December. He had completed his high school coursework and was ready to attend university classes and participate in spring football in 2015, finally announcing live on Stephenville radio station 93.1 KSTV-FM, that he was moving to Waco. Oregon was his other finalist after he decided agains going to Texas Tech.
Stidham left Baylor after Art Briles was fired amidst a mess of a sex scandal that is still playing out today, and reportedly informed a couple high school teammates and others close to him he planned to play in the SEC. He announced his commitment to Auburn on Twitter over Christmas break last December after sitting out all of the 2016 season as MCC student.
Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn did not name Stidham his starting QB until after an intrasquad scrimmage last week, but that appeared to be only a formality. An Auburn basketball game was paused so those on scene could give the dual-threat signal caller a full-house standing ovation when the public address announcer proclaimed his arrival at the arena in January, shortly after he made the move to Auburn, Alabama.
Auburn, 8-5 last season, and Stidham kick things off at home against Georgia Southern on Saturday, Sept. 2 at 6:30 p.m. CST. It can be seen live on the SEC Network.
A nationwide ESPN audience will be watching a week later when Auburn and its bluechip QB visit Clemson for one of the key early season games in college football. Kickoff in Clemson, South Carolina on Saturday, September 9, is set for 6 p.m. CST.
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