Ranking The SEC Quarterbacks
No position garners the attention that quarterback does.
Regardless of what happens in a game, most fans look to the quarterback position to heap their praise or lay the criticism on.
The SEC is home to the player who most people consider the best college quarterback: Tim Tebow.
In the SEC, having a solid quarterback is paramount to thriving on a week-to-week basis in conference games.
This article ranks the twelve starting quarterbacks in the SEC for 2009.
12). Tyson Lee, Mississippi State
Senior Tyson Lee is the quarterback expected to try and run new head coach Dan Mullen's spread offense.
Although small in stature (5'10", 200 pounds), Lee was an All-American junior college quarterback, has adequate arm strength, and is mobile enough to run Mullen's schemes.
Lee's small stature typically creates issues in the passing lanes, where the height of the offensive lineman can become a problem for him.
In his career, Lee has passed for 1,519 yards and seven touchdowns.
11). Chris Todd, Auburn
On Aug. 14, it was announced that senior Chris Todd would be the starting quarterback for the Auburn Tigers in 2009.
Todd won the starting job in 2008 after battling with Kody Burns during the preseason for the position.
Todd's ineffective 2008 campaign that included a shoulder issue left fans demanding more of Kody Burns. Once Burns had the opportunity, he failed to fair any better than Todd had. In fact, he seemed to fair worse.
Now healthy, Chris Todd returns to the field once again having won the starting quarterback position and Burns has been moved to wide receiver.
In 2008, Todd completed 86 passes out of 156 attempts and threw for 903 yards with five touchdowns and six interceptions. Todd was sacked 12 times.
10). Joe Cox, Georgia
Fifth-year senior Joe Cox takes over as the starting quarterback for the Georgia Bulldogs and head coach Mark Richt.
Cox has very little experience and lacks the arm strength that former Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford had.
Cox is considered a smart, heady quarterback with average arm strength. If the Bulldogs don't need need to lean on him to win games and he can effectively manage the offense, Georgia could have another strong season.
In 2008, Cox completed 11 passes out of 15 attempts for 151 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
9). Larry Smith, Vanderbilt
Most sports writers feel redshirt sophomore Larry Smith will be the starting quarterback this season for the Commodores because he has higher upside than senior Mackenzi Adams.
Smith is a more athletic quarterback than Adams and a better pure passer. Smith's lack of experience is the concern for Commodore coaches.
In 2008, Smith completed 19 passes out of 34 attempts for 167 yards with one touchdown and an interception. Smith was sacked three times.
8). Jonathan Crompton, Tennessee
Senior Jonathan Crompton heads into his final season on rocky top as the favorite to be the starting quarterback for new head coach Lane Kiffin.
Crompton has been battling junior quarterback Nick Stephens for the position and appears to be in the lead.
Neither of the two performed very well last season, but neither did the team as a whole.
Coaches have simplified the schemes to try and aid Crompton in his responsibilities this season. Crompton has a strong arm and at 6'4" and 228 pounds, he has the size to be a durable quarterback now that he's healthy.
In 2008, Crompton completed 86 passes out of 167 attempts for 889 yards with four touchdowns and five interceptions.
7). Stephen Garcia, South Carolina
In 2008, sophomore Stephen Garcia was inconsistent at best as a starting quarterback. Garcia was forced to split time with former South Carolina quarterback Chris Smelley.
With Smelley's transfer to the University of Alabama to play baseball, Garcia returns as the main guy for head coach Steve Spurrier.
Spurrier believes Garcia has the physical tools needed to be an effective quarterback in the SEC and looks for more consistency out of him.
In 2008, Garcia completed 65 passes out of 122 attempts for 832 yards with six touchdowns and eight interceptions. Garcia was sacked 15 times.
6). Ryan Mallett, Arkansas
Redshirt sophomore Ryan Mallett, a transfer in 2008 from Michigan to Arkansas, enters the 2009 season as the starting quarterback for the Razorbacks.
Mallett, who stands 6'7" tall and weighs 248 pounds, has a rocket arm and is difficult for defenders to bring down due to his size and strength.
Mallet was a "hot and cold" type of quarterback in his one season at Michigan and struggled at times with touch passes.
When asked about his considerable arm strength, Mallett has been quoted as saying he can throw the football farther than 80 yards.
In his career, Mallett has completed 61 passes out of 141 attempts for 892 yards, with seven touchdowns and five interceptions.
5). Greg McElroy, Alabama
Redshirt junior Greg McElroy enters the 2009 season as the starting quarterback for the Alabama Crimson Tide and head coach Nick Saban.
McElroy is a smart, heady player with good arm strength. McElroy is a very accurate passer and should excel under the Jim McElwain offensive scheme. McElroy has little experience, but won't be asked to win many games with his arm.
Alabama will utilize the quarterback as a manager of the offense, while employing a rushing attack that calls for short to medium range passes at times and the occasional deep pass to back defenders away from the line of scrimmage.
If Alabama receives serviceable play from the quarterback position, another trip to Atlanta may be in store.
In 2008, McElroy completed eight passes out of 11 attempts for 123 yards with one touchdown and an interception.
4). Mike Hartline, Kentucky
Junior Mike Hartline enters the 2009 football season as the starter at quarterback for Kentucky.
Last season, Hartline was mainly a manager of the game, but showed ability at times. This season, coaches hope he moves from manager of the offense to playmaker.
Hartline was steady for the most part in 2008 and had moments where he looked like a potential solid SEC quarterback.
In 2008, Hartline completed 172 passes out of 311 attempts for 1666 yards with nine touchdowns and eight interceptions. Hartline was sacked five times.
3). Jordan Jefferson, LSU
Sophomore Jordan Jefferson enters 2009 as the starting quarterback for the LSU Tigers.
Jarrett Lee is still around, but a 2008 season that saw him struggle with interception problems has effected his position in the lineup.
Jefferson is a very athletic quarterback with good arm strength and running ability. While Jefferson lacks experience, his upside is excellent. At 6'5" and 220 pounds, Jefferson has excellent size for durability.
Despite the limited game experience, Jefferson was impressive enough in the Chick-Fil-A bowl game against Georgia Tech, that he has been named to the preseason watch list for the 2009 Davey O’Brien Award.
In 2008, Jefferson completed 36 passes out of 73 attempts for 419 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. Jordan was sacked nine times.
2). Jevan Snead, Ole Miss
Junior Jevan Snead enters the 2009 season as the starting quarterback for the Ole Miss Rebels.
In 2008, Snead passed for 26 touchdowns and was third in the SEC in passing efficiency, behind only Tim Tebow and Matthew Stafford .
Snead is considered to be the best quarterback Ole Miss had had since Eli Manning. Snead struggled with interceptions early on last season, but finished strong. Snead is an excellent passer with good touch on his throws.
In 2008, Snead completed 184 passes out of 327 attempts for 2,762 passing yards with 26 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Snead was sacked 20 times.
1). Tim Tebow, Florida
Senior Tim Tebow returns to the swamp for his final season as the starting quarterback for the Florida Gators.
Tebow has led his team to two national championships and two SEC titles. Tebow won the Heisman Trophy in 2007.
At 6'3" tall and 245 pounds, Tebow has the frame to run the ball with power and has a solid arm when passing. Tebow throws with touch and is an accurate passer.
Tebow is the best dual-threat quarterback in the game of college football.
Florida is considered the favorite to repeat as national champions with Tebow under center.
In 2008, Tebow completed 192 passes out of 298 attempts for 2,746 yards with 30 touchdowns and four interceptions. Tebow was sacked 15 times.