The last-man standing in Auburn’s quarterback competition was also the first one to enter the race.

T.J. Finley, the former LSU transfer and the lone returning scholarship quarterback from last year’s roster, has been named Auburn’s starting quarterback for its season opener against Mercer. A source told AL.com that coach Bryan Harsin informed Finley of the news shortly after 1 p.m.

The decision brought an unsurprising ending to an offseason competition that gained clarity over the last three weeks. Finley emerged as the No. 1 option from a competition that began in the spring, spanned the offseason months and hit its stride during preseason practices this month. Finley edged out Oregon transfer Robby Ashford for the starting role, as well as Texas A&M transfer Zach Calzada, to take the reins of Auburn’s retooled offense in Year 2 of the Harsin era.

Finley’s rise to the top of Auburn’s depth chart is the culmination of a goal he set out to accomplish more than a year ago, when he transferred to the Plains after his freshman season at LSU. The 6-foot-7, 250-pound junior started five games at LSU as a true freshman in 2020 but left the program the following spring and transferred to Auburn, where he tried to push Bo Nix for the starting job but couldn’t unseat the third-year starter last season.