A closer look at Zach Calzada's 2021 — and what it means for Auburn in 2022
One of Auburn's new quarterbacks was second-to-last in the SEC in a lot of passing categories last year. But dig a little deeper, and there are some serious reasons for optimism.
(Todd Van Emst/Auburn Athletics)
Last week, Pro Football Focus analyst and friend of the newsletter Seth Galina tweeted that he had watched every single Power 5 quarterback so far in this offseason.
His four favorite quarterbacks, which he tweeted with those AI-generated images that were all the rage this month online, were expected names — Alabama’s Bryce Young, Maryland’s Taulia Tagovailoa, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud and Mississippi State’s Will Rogers.
He also added a second tier of quarterbacks, including Kentucky’s Will Levis, UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson, Utah’s Cameron Rising, Louisville’s Malik Cunningham, USC’s Caleb Williams, South Carolina’s Spencer Rattler and… Auburn’s Zach Calzada, who he listed first.
His follow-up tweet contained even more praise for the former Texas A&M Aggie-turned-Auburn Tiger:
When Calzada announced he was transferring to Auburn during the winter, the move wasn’t met with universal acclaim from fans. Calzada took over for Haynes King after an early-season injury in 2021 and went 6-4 as a starter. Among qualified SEC quarterbacks, Calzada ranked second-to-last in yards per attempt (6.7), completion percentage (56.1%) and passing efficiency (123.67).
His season-long numbers were a step down from what Auburn had just lost in Bo Nix, who suffered a November injury and later transferred to Oregon. They were slight upgrades on what Auburn had just finished with in T.J. Finley — 6.5 YPA, 54.7% completion percentage and 122.87 passing efficiency — but only by a small amount.
Calzada was limited during spring practices at Auburn due to a shoulder injury he suffered last season against, coincidentally, his new team. Last month, Auburn head coach Bryan Harsin said that Calzada was back to “full go” for summer workouts. He’s expected to be 100% for fall camp, where he’ll be in a heated multi-man battle for the starting quarterback job with Finley, Oregon transfer Robby Ashford and true freshman Holden Geriner.
Calzada’s numbers weren’t mind-blowing as a whole last season, but Galina’s tweets last week prompted a deeper dive here at The Observer. While it’s just one man’s opinion, it’s a highly informed one — who else can say they’ve watched every single Power 5 quarterback this offseason?