As we continue our march to kickoff, we take a look at the top 100 recruits to sign with Auburn of all-time*. The rankings are based on 247’s composite recruit rankings, which unfortunately only date back to 2000.
Hey, y’all know this cat? Joey Gatewood was recruited by Gus Malzahn out of Florida and the immediate thought was “Whoa, he’s got, like, Cam Newton size.”
It’s true, and his time may soon be here.
Joey Gatewood signed his letter of intent on Early Signing Day in 2017 as Auburn was getting prepared to play UCF in the Peach Bowl, and he enrolled just a few weeks after for the spring semester. That followed a heck of a high school career that saw him become one of the top fifty players in the nation.
He was certainly used like Cam Newton was, as he ran for over 1,100 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2017 at Bartram Trail, while passing for another 1,400 yards and 12 touchdowns. Here’s what the experts said about him coming out of high school.
Gatewood, who possesses intriguing size for a young quarterback, is a dual-threat that can dismember defenses by extending plays with his legs. He is effective when throwing on the run, and shows good poise and anticipation in the pocket as well. Gatewood has big-play capabilities and does a nice job of evading pressure once the pocket gets congested, but is athletic enough to finish the play off for six points as well. He’s at his best when putting defenses on their toes in the read-option, but must continue to work on his release and weight transfer moving forward.
Sounds like the kind of guy that we need on the Plains.
Gatewood sat down the pecking order last season as a freshman in 2018, redshirting and only getting to play in the Music City Bowl against Purdue. However, even in a blowout situation at the end of the game, he showed glimpses of what Auburn fans have been dying to see from a quarterback for several years now.
And with the departure of Jarrett Stidham to the New England Patriots, as well as Malik Willis to the new Hugh Freezes over at Liberty, it’s Joey’s turn to battle it out with fellow freshman Bo Nix for the 2019 starting quarterback position. Based on what we saw in the A-Day Game, Gatewood’s got a great shot to take control of the role. He threw for 130 yards and 2 touchdowns (both to Seth Williams) on just 8-12 passing after taking the first reps at quarterback. Afterward, some of his cohorts got asked the inevitable question.
Repeat after me: Don’t get excited. Don’t get excited. Don’t get excited.
There’s still a lot of work left for Gatewood to seize the starting spot, especially with a super-talented Bo Nix right there with him, but Gatewood’s size and strength could give him an upper edge with it comes to providing that mobile aspect that has generally meant good things for a Gus Malzahn offense.