AUBURN — Jarrett Stidham had so much fun on his official visit at Auburn, he decided to spend the night and make it a two-day trip.
Stidham, a former Baylor quarterback who has been identified as Auburn’s top recruiting target, was in attendance Tuesday night at Auburn’s men’s basketball game against USC-Upstate.
Stidham, who spent one season at Baylor before receiving his release in July and transferring to McLennan Community College, was seen in Auburn Arena arriving with Tigers head coach Gus Malzahn and offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee. The trio arrived in the first half of Auburn’s 90-83 victory Tuesday night and sat next to Auburn Athletics Director Jay Jacobs. In the second half, the group was joined by Auburn tailback and former Baylor signee Kam Martin.
Stidham sent out a Twitter message confirming he’d arrived on the Auburn campus Tuesday morning for an official visit as he attempts to decide on a transfer destination between Auburn, Texas A&M and other Southeastern Conference schools offering him late, including Florida.
Stidham’s Twitter message was immediately retweeted and was the subject of several teammates responding with encouragement.
Multiple reports have confirmed that Stidham made the one-day trip into a multi-day affair by staying the night in Auburn and continuing his visit the next day.
This visit was one of many Stidham has made to Auburn since leaving Baylor following the dismissal of Art Briles and the subsequent scandal that has rocked that school’s campus over the last calendar year. Stidham, who started three games of the 2015 season at Baylor after Seth Russell suffered a season-ending injury, was seen in street clothes watching an Aug. 3 preseason practice. Stidham was next to Malzahn during the open media viewing portion of practice going over the play sheet of the Tigers’ hurry-up, no-huddle offense.
Since Stidham has reportedly transferred to McLennan Community College in Waco, Texas, which doesn’t have a football program, he will not have this fall — where he didn’t play football — count against his eligibility.
Auburn will have starter Sean White, injured backup Tyler Queen and redshirt freshman Woody Barrett back from this year’s depth chart. Junior college transfer John Franklin III, who got more action following White’s right shoulder injury, said he expects to be back at Auburn for the 2017 season but also suggested after the Iron Bowl that he is investigating a possible graduate transfer option. The Tigers also have a verbal commitment from four-star athlete Tray Bishop from Georgia, who wants to play quarterback at Auburn.
After his third consecutive loss to Alabama by double digits in the Iron Bowl rivalry game, Malzahn could do nothing but acknowledge that his program has the same problem as it ended the 2015 campaign — no reliable quarterback depth behind the injury-prone White.
“Obviously if Sean White had stayed healthy, you wouldn’t be asking that question (about quarterback depth),” Malzahn said. “We got to have depth and we’re going to work on that.”
The first day Stidham will be allowed to sign with any Division I football program is Dec. 14, and he’ll likely not wait that long to make a decision as he intends to be an early enrollee to be eligible for spring practices.
Stidham was one of 70 Auburn recruits from the 2017, 2018 and 2019 recruiting classes on campus for the Sept. 3 season opener against Clemson. Stidham’s highlight game of 2015 was when he threw for 419 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-24 win at Kansas State. In a three-game stretch against KSU, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, Stidham averaged 311 passing yards.
Stidham is obviously the last highly coveted transfer prospect left on college football’s free-agent market. After Stidham received his release from Baylor interim head coach Jim Grobe, multiple reports confirmed the only restriction on Stidham’s next destination is he can’t transfer to another Big 12 Conference school.