The most misleading statistic in college football entering the 2016 season is that the majority of teams in the Southeastern Conference have their starting quarterbacks returning.
Technically, it’s true but only in spirit, especially in the SEC West.
With Jake Coker, Brandon Allen and Dak Prescott having all seen their eligibility expire, Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi State will all be having quarterback competitions.
Alabama will see if Cooper Bateman can hold off Blake Barnett and David Cornwell, Southern California transfer Ricky Town will compete with Austin Allen at Arkansas, and Nick Fitzgerald is considered the favorite at Mississippi State but has to beat out Elijah Staley for the job.
But they won’t be the only ones.
After Sean White and Jeremy Johnson combined to have 11 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions last season, Auburn added junior college transfer John Franklin III.
After Kyler Murray and Kyle Allen both left Texas A&M, Jake Hubenak took over, which made him the starting quarterback. However, Trevor Knight transferred in from Oklahoma and will have one chance to win the starting job.
Head coach Kevin Sumlin addressed Knight's importance to the team during his press conference on national signing day:
I count Trevor in this class and as probably the most important recruit. We secured him right after the bowl game. Trevor Knight is a young man—a man at this point—that has graduated and has enrolled in the Mays Business grad school. Was MVP of the Sugar Bowl. Has been on big stages and won big games. Brings experience, brings stabilizing factor, brings competitive nature to the position along with Jake.
That leaves Brandon Harris at LSU and, of course, Chad Kelly at Ole Miss, who might be the league’s most indispensable player in 2016.