Gatewood’s departure took place Tuesday after he met with Auburn coaches.
“He’s just at a point now where he wants to be a starting quarterback and feels like he needs to start looking for schools now so that he can find the right spot, and I respect that,” Malzahn said.
Malzahn said he appreciated everything Gatewood had done for the Auburn program and that “everyone in our program will be rooting for him moving forward.”
Gatewood and true freshman Bo Nix competed for the starting job throughout the offseason, with Nix ultimately winning it.
Nix has started Auburn’s first eight games with mixed results, leading a winning comeback in the season opener against Oregon but struggling in road losses to Florida and LSU. Gatewood, a redshirt freshman, has appeared in seven contests, completing 5 of 7 pass attempts with two touchdowns. He also has 29 rushes for 148 yards and three touchdowns. Auburn used Gatewood mostly in a short-yardage run package this season.
Gatewood, a native of Jacksonville, Florida, ranked as ESPN’s No. 3 dual-threat quarterback and No. 36 overall player in the 2018 recruiting class. Redshirt freshman Cord Sandberg is expected to back up Nix with Gatewood’s departure.
Auburn returns to the field Saturday, when it hosts Ole Miss.
ESPN’s Chris Low contributed to this report.