Where Does Jarrett Stidham Rank Among The Best Auburn Quarterbacks?

Jarrett Stidham
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When football fans think Auburn football they think quarterback, right? Probably not. More than likely they think of running backs. When a program has had talent like Carnell “Cadillac” Williams, Ronnie Brown, Tre Mason, Rudi Johnson, and most recently Kerryon Johnson, it’s hard to not think running back. And that list is only in the last 20 seasons.

Where Does Jarrett Stidham Rank Among The Best Auburn Quarterbacks?

So, what about the quarterbacks? Well, the 2018 Tigers have a pretty good one. If you haven’t heard of him, his name is Jarrett Stidham. Stidham had a very successful first season on The Plains and for this team to meet expectation he will have to be even better.

But where does he rank among the best Auburn signal callers in the past 25 seasons?

5. Brandon Cox (2004-07)

Brandon Cox had the difficult task of replacing one of the most beloved players in Auburn history. During Cox’s redshirt freshmen season (2004) he was the backup for Jason Campbell, who led the Tigers to an undefeated season. In his first game against Georgia Tech he threw four interceptions. The Auburn faithful were ready to move on after just one game.

Cox turned things around and led Auburn to a 9-3 season and a berth in the 2006 Capital One Bowl. In 2006 the Tigers would go 11-2 with a Cotton Bowl victory against the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Cox closed his career out with a 9-4 record during his senior season in 2007. The biggest record for Brandon Cox at Auburn? 3-0 against the Crimson Tide of Alabama. He was a part of the second half of the six victories in a row Auburn would have over Alabama under Tommy Tuberville.

4. Jarrett Stidham (2017-Present)

Jarrett Stidham may end up being the best pure passer Auburn has ever had on campus. In 2017 Stidham hit 17 passes of over 40 yards or more. He led the Southeastern Conference in completion percentage at 66.5%. He was the missing piece to the puzzle to finally beat Alabama (Auburn had not beat the Tide since the 2013 Kick Six Game).

If there is a preseason watch list for any quarterback award, Stidham is on it. Also, only one other quarterback in Auburn history has ever thrown for over 3,000 yards in one season. Does Auburn beat Georgia and Alabama last season with Sean White? Probably not. Entering the 2018 season Auburn is expected to contend in the SEC and Jarrett Stidham is a major reason why.

3. Dameyune Craig (1994-1997)

When Dameyune Craig was at Auburn he was everything to the Tigers offense under Terry Bowden. Craig would be the full-time starter in 1996 and 1997. During those seasons he went 18-7 as the starter and led the Tigers to a berth in the 1997 SEC Championship Game, a 30-29 loss to the Peyton Manning-led Tennessee Volunteers. In his career at Auburn he would throw for 6,026 yards and 39 touchdowns. That includes being the first Auburn quarterback to throw for 3,000 yards in a season in 1997.

When Craig got to the NFL he was never given a real chance to play quarterback for the Carolina Panthers, but he does hold the record for most passing yards in a professional football game with 611 yards in 1999 as a member of the Scottish Claymores of the now defunct NFL Europe. His jersey from that game sits today in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Craig is now wide receivers coach at Texas A&M after stints at Florida State, Auburn, and LSU.

2. Jason Campbell (2001-2004)

Jason Campbell had one of the most turbulent careers of any Auburn quarterback. In his time on The Plains Campbell would have four different offensive coordinators. Noel Mazzone (2001), Bobby Petrino (2002), Hugh Nall (2003), and Al Borges (2004). Campbell showed signs of greatness in his first three seasons at Auburn, but lacked consistency.

It was in his final season that all of his potential would finally be realized. Under the play calling of Borges and the use of the west-coast offense, Campbell flourished and led the Tigers to an undefeated season and a Sugar Bowl win over Virginia Tech. His numbers in that final season included 2,700 yards, 20 touchdowns, and a near 70% completion percentage. During that season he would also be named SEC Offensive Player of the Year and Sugar Bowl MVP. Inconsistency with offensive coordinators would follow Campbell to the NFL and could be the reason why he bounced around the league with five different teams.

1. Cam Newton (2010)

The best Auburn quarterback discussion is a short conversation. Cam Newton is on top of this list, by a wide margin. What is amazing is the other signal callers on this list all played multiple seasons in Auburn. Newton only needed one year to cement his legacy. And it was a historic season filled with moments no Auburn fan will ever forget. Cam Newton would break the Auburn single season passing touchdown record that season with 30 and added another 20 touchdowns on the ground.

The epic, high scoring game against the Arkansas Razorbacks, the run against LSU, and the “Camback” were all moments that highlight a season that ended with a Heisman Trophy and a National Championship victory for Auburn. There is no way Cam Newton isn’t the best Tigers quarterback in the last 25 years. In fact, he’s the best Auburn quarterback in program history.

Climbing The List

With the 2018 season quickly approaching, one has to wonder where Jarrett Stidham will rank when the season is done. If Stidham can turn in another statistically significant season and lead Auburn to a conference championship, he could easily move into the third or second slot.

What would it take him to overcome Newton at the top? A national championship, for starters. And incredible football memories along the way.

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