Roy Gilbert

The Rise of CFB’s Next Great QB

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The young quarterback walked out of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida, on Oct. 5, and into the warm autumn day, his head down, his mind racing. Over and over, on the grainy film of memory, he replayed the day’s missed throws, missed reads and missed opportunities. He couldn’t let go.

Outfitted in a blue blazer and an orange tie, he continued to stroll through the growing late-afternoon shadows outside the stadium. Bo Nix was only a month removed from becoming the first true freshman to start the season at quarterback for Auburn since Travis Tidwell in 1946, and he had already achieved folk-hero status at Auburn after throwing a 26-yard touchdown pass to Seth Williams with nine seconds left to lead the Tigers to a 27-21 season-opening win over No. 11 Oregon. But on this day, he had authored the worst game of his just-beginning college career in Auburn’s 24-13 loss to Florida. He threw three interceptions and completed just 11 of 27 passes for 145 yards. He looked, well, like a true freshman making his sixth career start against one of the top defenses in the nation in one of the loudest stadiums in the land.

Outside the Swamp, the 19-year-old silently moved past Tigers fans taking pictures of him and the what-the-heck-just-happened look carved onto his face. He stepped onto the idling team bus, taking a seat next to senior wide receiver Will Hastings, his roommate on road trips. Hastings glanced at his phone and saw that […]

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