Will Zeke Pike be one of the next great Auburn Quarterbacks?
On an autumn Saturday in 2008, I remember talking to Charlie, a long time tailgate friend about the Chris Todd - Kodi Burns quarterback controversy. We had, had the discussion before. Charlie said, "I just don't understand why Auburn can't get some top notch quarterbacks in here to play."
I was reminded of that conversation last week when it was announced that 5- star Quarterback Zeke Pike out of Edgewood, Kentucky announced he was committing to Auburn. With 40 scholarship offers Pike could play anywhere he wanted and was thought to be leaning toward Michigan.
Auburn being the defending National Champions helped but Pike said there was more to it than that. "I got to see everywhere or at least everywhere in the country that I wanted (and) there are a lot of great places, but nothing had this place beat as far as the people and the atmosphere." He said. "Auburn is special and once you've been to Auburn, its hard not to fall in love with the place."
What struck this author about the news was Zeke also said the same thing that Cam Newton said when he committed, "I want to help Auburn win a National Championship." At this point he looks every bit the part, to be that type of quarterback.
Depending on the scouting service, Zeke is rated the number 1 or 2 quarterback in the country. Last year the 6'6" 225 lb. junior threw for 2,500 yards and 27 touchdowns and had another 17 touchdowns on 1,400 yards rushing. He is a pro-style quarterback with good speed and a 30 inch vertical jump. He averages 14 ppg. as a power forward on the basketball team and he has already been selected to play in the US Army All Star game at the end of his senior year.
Yet there was surprise in some circles when the top prospect committed to Auburn since the Tigers already have USA's National Player of the Year (Kiehl Frazier from Springdale, Arkansas) coming in this fall.
Pundits have questioned whether two Qb's of Frazier and Pike's caliber can co exist in the same program. Speculation surfaced this week that surely one would change his mind.
Yet both have said they are not going to change. Kiehl has said it has been his dream since junior high to play under Gus Malzahn. And Zeke remarked last week, "I'm really glad it's over a lot of kids go through the process and change it, but not me I am an Auburn Tiger."
One possible scenario for the two could be for Kiehl to come in and be a part of the offense this fall with Zeke taking a redshirt his first year. That would make Pike a redshirt sophomore when Frazier is a senior. At any rate it will be a good problem for the coaches to have.
Our own KoolBell did an excellent piece on current Qb's Barrett Trotter and Clint Moseley back on April 15th. But Gene Chizik said recently that although he is generally pleased with the spring play of the two, he does not expect to name a starter till two-a- days in August. He went on to say that Kiehl Frazier will have an opportunity this year, "We don't look at how young they are, or what year they are...we're going to play the best player,"
Of courseTrotter and Moseley will have a big advantage over Frazier since they have been under Malzahn's tutelage for two years. Nevertheless Frazier has been playing at Malzahn's old high school were they still run his style of offense so he will be learning fast and waiting in the wings.
Also added to the mix for 2011 is one of the top prospects from the state of Georgia - C J Uzomah from Atlanta's North Gwinnett. No matter who gets the nod Auburn is looking good at the quarterback position.
More importantly Chizik has now gotten commitments from a number one quarterback for the third year in a row.
And when I see Charlie this fall, I can say, "Auburn has done what you've been looking for; Auburn not only has a good quarterback but a stable full of top notch quarterback's."