Editor’s note: This article was originally published on Dec. 6, 2019 following Joey Gatewood’s commitment to Kentucky. Gatewood has since received waivers from the NCAA and SEC for immediate eligibility for the 2020 season.
[Back in December], former Auburn quarterback and top-40 recruit Joey Gatewood announced his transfer decision on social media, choosing Kentucky over interest and offers from a plethora of other schools including Florida.
On the surface level, it’s obvious what Gatewood brings to the table. At 6-foot-5, 237 pounds, the former four-star prospect is known as a strong, fast, and athletic dual-threat playmaker in the backfield. Looking at the offense Eddie Gran put together last year with Lynn Bowden at quarterback, the intrigue for a dynamic running threat like Gatewood is evident.
But what else do we need to know about the newest Kentucky quarterback? And to a greater extent, what have Gatewood’s past Auburn teammates and head coach said about the top-50 prospect in the 2018 247Sports Composite Rankings?
KSR has compiled a list of quotes from over the past year from AU receivers, defensive standouts, and Tiger head coach Gus Malzahn on Gatewood as a player and what he was expected to bring to the table during his time at Auburn.
Gus Malzahn compares Gatewood to Cam Newton on National Signing Day 2017…
”There’s only one Cam Newton and I think everybody knows that, but just from if he walked in the room, he’d look like Cam Newton,” Malzahn said. “That’s probably the fairest and best way to put that assessment. … I’ve got a lot of respect for Joey and there was a lot of people all around the country that wanted him. He stayed solid and was committed to us a long time. He’s very loyal and he’s got a wonderful mother. They hung in there with us.”
Auburn wide receiver Matthew Hill on the QB battle between Gatewood and freshman Bo Nix… (4/13)
“Both of them are straight ballers, they both came in ready to play,” Hill said of Gatewood and Nix. “Joey, I’ve been with him since he came in so I’ve seen him develop. So I knew what to expect out of both of them and I’m proud of the way they both played [in Auburn’s Spring Game].”
Hill on how Gatewood performs in live situations with the ball in his hands…
“A running back. I’ll tell you that. [He’s] a running back or a Cam Newton. I’m not going to sit here and lie to you, he doesn’t like to be compared to Cam Newton, but I mean, that’s just the only person you can compare him to.
Hill on why Gatewood doesn’t like Cam Newton comparisons…
“He doesn’t like it because he likes to be himself, he doesn’t like to be compared to anybody. So he’s just doing his thing by himself.”
Auburn wide receiver Seth Williams on comparing Gatewood to Cam Newton and his impressive running ability… (4/13)
“I’m telling you, he’s another Cam Newton back there. You see, forreal, with it being spring and this scrimmage, the QBs aren’t live. But once they’re live, [defenders] can’t get back there. If they get back there, [Gatewood] is going to run it, and he’s still going to have his eyes downfield [in case he wants] to throw it. But he can run, he can run really good.”
Auburn wide receiver Eli Stove on Gatewood’s running ability… (4/13)
“He’s trying to run everybody over. He’s a strong, big guy. I would expect him to do that, too. I feel like he’s a running back with the ball, making all the cuts and all that. He’s making good decisions, too.”
Auburn linebacker K.J. Britt on Gatewood’s playing style… (4/13)
“He’s faster than a lot of people. He’s really fast. He’s got a nice stride,” middle linebacker K.J. Britt said. “But when you have Joey out there it’s kinda like you have another running back who can throw it, because he can really pull it and go.”
“The positive was that all four quarterbacks made explosive plays, I thought that was good. Had a couple touchdowns to go with it. All of them did good things. … [Gatewood is] a different quarterback than he was this time last year. He does have more confidence. He really has been focused and desperate to win the job, he’s had a really good spring. Today, he made some explosive plays. When you let him go live, it’s a little bit different too.”
“Joey Gatewood, Bo Nix are really 1, 1A,” Malzahn said at the Auburn Ambush alumni event via Brandon Marcello of 247Sports Brandon Marcello. “One of those two guys will be our starting quarterback for our first game. They’ll compete during the summer and during fall camp and we’ll make a decision. … The more reps they get, obviously the better they’re going to be. But they showed that they can lead our offense and both of them have a chance to be a very successful quarterback here at Auburn.”
Malzahn on Gatewood’s departure and the former Tiger searching for a starting quarterback job… (10/30)
“I really appreciate Joey,” Malzahn said. “When he didn’t win the job earlier, he chose to stick around when most quarterbacks this day in and time would have quit and he didn’t do that. And he’s just at a point now where he feels like he wants to be a starting quarterback and feels like he needs to start looking for schools now so he can find the right spot, and I respect that. He’s a fine young man and I really appreciate everything Joey’s done for our program. Everybody in our program will be rooting for him moving forward.”
SEC Network analyst Cole Cubelic on Gatewood’s transfer to Kentucky… (12/6)
“Joey Gatewood is an excellent fit for UK Football,” Cubelic tweeted. “Touchdown Terry and Sawyer [Smith] could both be back next year as he sits and learns. Then Coach [Eddie] Gran can take the two balls of play doh that have been his offenses the last two years…smush them together and have the perfect athlete for it.”