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TWO-A-DAYS: 79 Days to Kickoff

Remember the dual-threat before the dual-threat?

Todd J. Van Emst

THE RECRUIT

The 2009 recruiting class was ranked as the tenth-best in the SEC, but in the top 25 nationally. Such is life in the land’s toughest conference, and such is life when you’re coming off of the worst season in a decade, after which your long-time head coach headed elsewhere. Meanwhile, the once-downtrodden program across the state is at a championship level in a surprisingly short time, and Auburn seems to have no answers.

Gene Chizik is hired as head coach, and we get the “We want a leader, not a loser” guy yelling at him from the fence at the airport. A 5-19 record at Iowa State certainly doesn’t look good, but he picks it up with a solid crop of assistant coach hires and some fire on the recruiting trail. Chizik’s time in the Big 12 helps, as perhaps the quarterback of the future signs with Auburn out of Sulphur Springs.

Tyrik Rollison was the fifth-ranked dual-threat quarterback in the 2009 class, and a top 150 recruit nationally. A four-star kid, he had the elusive and hitherto unseen mobility that Auburn had not truly experienced in a quarterback in more than two decades.

This was before Cam Newton, who didn’t sign with Auburn until roughly ten months later. He was a guy that could absolutely sling the ball and put pressure on defenses on every snap. I remember being very, very excited about him.

THE PLAYER

Uh, there’s not much to list here. He redshirted the 2009 season and got suspended for the Outback Bowl game against Northwestern. After that, Cam Newton came in and wowed in spring practice, in which Rollison didn’t participate.

In May of 2010, he announced that he was going to transfer to Sam Houston State, which was much closer to home. He got a medical redshirt, and ended up at Tyler Junior College for the 2011-12 seasons, and he ended up being named to the NJCAA All-American team before looking elsewhere again.

For his junior and senior seasons, Rollison played at Texas A&M-Commerce, where they beat East Texas Baptist 98-20 in 2013. At that same time, another dual-threat quarterback named Nick Marshall was finding his footing at Auburn. Oh, what could’ve been.