AUBURN — The quarterback situation at Auburn football took an unexpected turn entering the Tigers' SEC opener.
Starter T.J. Finley suffered a right shoulder injury against Penn State and is not expected to play. Third-string Zach Calzada plans to undergo left shoulder surgery and seek a medical redshirt. Suddenly, that leaves Auburn (2-1) with Robby Ashford as the starter and true freshman Holden Geriner as the backup.
The two of them have 29 combined career pass attempts (all Ashford). But what about Geriner? Here are three things to know.
Holden Geriner's recruiting ranking
Auburn's 2022 quarterback signee was a critical blue-chip recruit in an otherwise iffy commitment class for Bryan Harsin.
Geriner was the No. 271 overall recruit in the 2022 class, according to the 247Sports Composite. He was the No. 18 quarterback and the No. 25 prospect in Georgia.
His other offers included Tennessee, Kentucky, Cincinnati, Arkansas, LSU, Florida State, Michigan and Michigan State.
What Auburn football coaches have said about Holden Geriner
Auburn, of course, didn't plan for Geriner to be second on the depth chart entering SEC play. But such is the unpredictable nature of football injuries. Here's what coaches and teammates have said.
Bryan Harsin (Aug. 22): “Holden hasn’t had a ton of reps. Holden comes out there today (in preseason scrimmage) and he’s firing the ball better than all of them, in my opinion. We’re trying to do these drills, and all of the sudden Holden comes out of nowhere and he’s one of the best throwers that I’ve coached. He’s getting some things figured out fundamentally.”
Eric Kiesau, offensive coordinator (Aug. 19): "He's just really young. He needs some time to develop and get better, which he will. And it's just right now, the pressure is more on the other three guys right now. ... And not saying Holden didn't do it or didn't get a chance. It's just that as camp went on, you kind of saw the older guys mature a little bit. He just needs more time to mature and really kind of learn the system and have that college command."
Marcus Harris, junior defensive lineman (Sept. 21): "He carries himself like a pro already. He's staying after practice with guys and different receivers and passing the ball. Even after practice, even though he's not playing right now, he still does those types of things."
Our scouting report on Holden Geriner
In a room with four quarterbacks, it was always clear that Geriner might have the highest ceiling in terms of pure arm talent. He's a pro-style pocket passer with good deep ball potential, and he throws it with a lot of zip. It's easy to imagine him being a high-quality SEC quarterback in two years.
But like the other three Auburn QBs, his accuracy was inconsistent this offseason. And perhaps more importantly, his understanding of Harsin's complex offensive scheme isn't fully developed yet − not like it should be. He's a true freshman. He was the fourth-string for a reason.
This article originally appeared on Montgomery Advertiser: Holden Geriner: 3 facts about Auburn football backup quarterback