Week 2 in the college football season marked the beginning of SEC play, including a new era of young shining SEC talent.
Missouri and Texas A&M introduced their talent pool to their new conferences, including two dual-threat quarterbacks that challenged the SEC defenses to double-take.
Quarterbacks in the SEC are beginning to make their mark in the conference, altering the normative focus on defensive stars. Mississippi State’s quarterback Tyler Russell and Tennessee’s Tyler Bray reinforced that notion.
Those two played strong games in their second college football outings of the year, but did not top these three performances. Three players looked the part of future All-Conference stars this Saturday.
Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
For those that thought Texas A&M would have a rough awakening in the SEC, their quarterback helped soften the blow with one impressive debut.
Manziel brought the excitement back to Aggie football in their SEC opener, executing a crafty gameplan by head coach Kevin Sumlin.
The redshirt freshman used his jackrabbit quickness and an assortment of play fakes to keep the Gators defense guessing.
With Manziel’s dual-threat option, Texas A&M moved down the field with relative ease in the first half. The Aggies scored 17 points on their first three possessions, taking advantage of an undisciplined Florida defense.
The second half was a different story, with the Gators making the right adjustments to pull out a victory, but Manziel showed the moxey in his first game to carry the Aggie in the SEC.
Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
Last week Codaerrelle Patterson caught Volunteers QB Tyler Bray’s eye, now Harper got to show off his talents in a marquee performance.
The Tennessee wideout finished with eight receptions for 146 yards and three touchdowns on the day, with a gaudy average of 18 yards per catch.
No Dar’rick Rodgers? No problem for the Vols. They have two quality targets in Patterson, and now Harper.
Georgia State isn’t exactly Florida, though, who the Gators will play next week in Knoxville. A repeat performance would go a long way for Tennessee’s SEC East title hopes.
AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama
McCarron only needed 12 throws to put Alabama in pole position against Western Kentucky.
The junior quarterback for the Crimson Tide completed nine of them for 175 yards and a 306.1 QB rating in the first half. Short and sweet for Alabama’s blooming sophomore quarterback.
Nick Saban has asked his quarterback to be a game manager while sprinkling a few third-down throws. McCarron has done all that and more.
Quarterbacks are not heralded in the SEC as other conferences, but with McCarron coming into his own that will change.