Commitment is a word used often in recruiting but very rarely displayed. Commitment usually just means that as of this moment in time, said prospect favors this school. Things will and usually change. Coaches leave and convince players to follow them to their new school. Players fall in love with a new school or a different coach. New coaching staffs decide that certain players really aren’t a great fit for their scheme (I’m watching you Tennessee). Players trade up when a blue blood comes calling and coaches drop kids when a more highly rated player wants to jump on board. Recruiting is a messy business and it’s often times comical that the word “commitment” is so casually employed.
But there are always exceptions. 4* QB Joey Gatewood is one of those exceptions.
The 6’4” 230 lbs signal caller committed to Auburn on December 5th, 2015. That was a long time ago. Decades in the world of recruiting. Gatewood jumped on board after Gus Malzahn’s most disappointing season. He stayed committed despite Rhett Lashlee leaving after the 2016 season, a man he called “like a father” at one point. He didn’t waver when AU went after other big name QBs such as Justin Fields and Emory Jones. He ignored late pushes by new coaching staffs in Gainesville and Tallahassee. In simpler terms, Joey Gatewood was truly committed to Auburn. Now he’s officially a Tiger.
Please welcome @Joey1gatewood to the Auburn Family!#WarEagle | #AUNSD18 pic.twitter.com/hg8z9n7uuH— Auburn Football (@AuburnFootball) December 20, 2017
The Jacksonville, FL native has been one of the more controversial prospects this recruiting class. There are some “talent evaluators” who believe his future is somewhere other than quarterback. Others think if given time, he can be Auburn’s quarterback of the future. Many fall somewhere in between. As for me, I think Joey Gatewood has the highest ceiling of any quarterback in this class. I also think he’s a ways away from that ceiling. But stuff like this...
aren’t coachable. That’s raw talent that you don’t often see. Dudes that big aren’t supposed to move that quickly while also being able to accurately throw the ball down field. He’s got all the talent in the world, he just needs the coaching to get him there. Good news for Auburn is he plans to enroll early and will start getting that coaching this spring. That means Auburn fans should get a taste of what he has to offer in the 2018 A-Day game.
Gatewood was the centerpiece of this Auburn recruiting class. He was a vocal supporter of Auburn on social media and been in the ears of plenty of other top prospects trying to convince them to join him on the Plains. There’s no doubt he’s a little rough around the edges as a QB. He needs to improve his footwork, learn to diagnose defenses quicker and honestly just continue to get more reps at the position. Remember he didn’t get to play QB full time until his final year and even then was forced to rotate every other series with 3* Riley Smith. But despite that he put together a monster senior season and helped lead his team to a state title game. There’s no debating the fact this kid has an elite skillset. Now here’s to hoping it translates into an elite QB on the field one day for the Tigers.
War Eagle Joey!