Kiehl Frazier moves to safety

Updated: August 13, 2013, 1:45 AM ET
By Greg Ostendorf | ESPN.com

The quarterback competition at Auburn cleared up some Monday when former starter Kiehl Frazier took himself out of the race.

Frazier asked coach Gus Malzahn if he could move to safety when he was told that junior college transfer Nick Marshall and true freshman Jeremy Johnson would get the majority of reps at quarterback going forward.

As a sophomore in 2012, Frazier started the first five games for the Tigers. He threw for 753 yards with two touchdowns and eight interceptions but lost the starting job midway through the season. He played in all 13 games as a freshman.

The move further indicated that a newcomer will be taking snaps for Auburn when they host Washington State to start the season. Whether that will be Johnson or Marshall is still yet to be determined. Malzahn said Jonathan Wallace is in the mix, too.

Malzahn said he and offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee met with all four quarterbacks on Sunday.

"We told them all that, 'Hey these two new guys, we feel have earned the right to compete for the job and they're going to get the majority of the reps with our ones this week,'" Malzahn said. "That's not to say that Jonathan Wallace will not be the starter come Day 1, but we are going to give those two new guys a real chance to compete for the job and really show what they can do."

Johnson was the nation's No. 9 pocket passer coming out of high school a year ago. The 6-foot-5, 219-pound quarterback was named Alabama's Mr. Football after a senior season in which he threw for 3,193 yards, rushed for 706 yards and combined to score 38 touchdowns.

Marshall was a quarterback in high school, but he signed with Georgia in 2011 as a cornerback. The dual-threat star ended up at Garden City (Kan.) Community College, which allowed him to stay at his natural position.

As for Frazier, he's not the first Auburn signal caller to move to another position. Kodi Burns moved to wide receiver in 2009 after starting at quarterback the year before. He embraced the new role and made a contribution in the Tigers' national title run in 2010.

Frazier said he had been considering the move since a couple of weeks before preseason camp but didn't bring it up to Malzahn until Sunday.

He praised the remaining three quarterback contenders.

"All three of them are doing well enough that whoever wins the starting job, the team will be in good hands," Frazier said. "They're all three capable. They know the game. It's a good battle right now. Whoever wins it, the team will get behind them and we'll have a chance to be real good this year."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Greg Ostendorf | email

Auburn/SEC reporter

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