Auburn's starting quarterback in 2024: Hank Brown?

Auburn quarterback Hank Brown had a big performance against Maryland.
TransPerfect Music City Bowl - Auburn v Maryland
TransPerfect Music City Bowl - Auburn v Maryland / Carly Mackler/GettyImages

The only two quarterback names heard across the SEC for the near future at Auburn University have been current starter Payton Thorne and second-string Holden Geriner. That was until the Music City Bowl.

With the Auburn Tigers struggling throughout the game, the Tigers brought in third-string quarterback and true freshman Hank Brown. Brown was a three-star prospect in the 2023 class according to Rivals, but played like a five-star in his limited time against the Maryland Terrapins.

Auburn's 2024 starting quarterback: Hank Brown?

Brown went 7 of 9 passing for 132 yards and no interceptions in the game, while Thorne and Geriner went a combined 14 of 33 passing for a combined 92 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

The offense seemed to move much more fluid down the field with Brown having what seemed to be a more natural connection with his wide receivers, which is something that to many had been lacking all year with starting quarterback Payton Thorne at the helm.

Thorne was a redshirt junior this season and started the previous two seasons at Michigan State before transferring to Auburn. During his two years in East Lansing, Thorne threw for an average of 3,250 yards per season with averages of 25 touchdowns and  11 interceptions.

This season at Auburn, Thorne only compiled 162 pass attempts with 1,755 yards and 16 touchdowns for an offense that seemingly struggled to find it is rhythm at the quarterback position the entire season.

Before the bowl game, Auburn head coach Hugh Freeze was also hinting to the fact that he would be sticking with Payton Thorne for 2024. Since the bowl game however, Freeze changed his tune as he mentioned in the post-game press conference that the quarterback battle was “wide open.” One can only speculate that this was because of the performance of Brown, who caught the eyes of many Tigers fans.

Locked On Auburn podcast host, Zac Blackerby and guest, Darrell Dapprich analyzed Brown’s play from their point of view on a recent episode. Dapprich said , “Dudes (players) that were dropping passes all year for Auburn (Brown and Hooks), were catching the ball…I think that matters.” Blackerby agreed going on to say, “I do think that matters. A catchable ball is totally a thing. I am not saying Hank has it better than anybody else on this roster but based on what we just saw, he did.” Blackerby was also complimentary of Brown’s composure going on the say, “the thing that stands out to me about Hank is that kid’s composure is unbelievable. You see it in his high school tape…That dude is so composed. I would be that kid was not nervous at all…And I think that feeds to the guys around you.”

The tail of the tape from the Music City Bowl absolutely confirmed these thoughts on Brown’s calmness in the Music City Bowl, and so did Brown on a recent appearance on the Locked On Auburn podcast himself when interviewed by Blackerby. Brown stated “I feel that my confidence going into the game was only because I place my identity in Christ and I do not play my identity in football. It is (football) is just something that I do but it is not my identity. I can go out there and play free.”

For a true freshman, this attitude, mindset and play could take the Tigers to new heights if given the opportunity in 2024. Look for the label of “third quarterback on the depth chart” to change really quickly heading into spring practice in Auburn. Hank Brown is a name to watch out for, for years to come.