October 8, 2009

Auburn facing NFL-type QB

Auburn's defense hasn't faced a quarterback quite like Ryan Mallett and probably won't for the rest of the season.

The 6-foot-7, 238-pound strong-armed Mallett leads the SEC averaging 287 passing yards per game. He's completed 54.5 percent of his passes with 11 touchdowns and just two interceptions.

"He's as good as anyone we're going to face," AU safety coach Tommy Thigpen said. "...The last arm I saw like this was Roethlisberger and then before that it was Leftwich at Marshall. I always looked at those guys because when they can be on one hash and throw the 45-yard out to the field and put it on a rope like it was a slant route, he can do that.

"His arm is as big as anybody in college football and it is pretty darn accurate. So this is a major test for us on the back end as far as playing our assignments and reading keys and just making sure we can tackle in open space."

Mallett was one of the nation's top quarterback prospects in 2007, rated a five-star by Rivals.com, when he signed with Michigan out of Texarkana (Tex.) High. He played for the Wolverines as a true freshman before transferring to Arkansas and sitting out the 2008 season.

The sophomore won the starting job in the spring and is quickly establishing himself as a future top NFL prospect.

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