SEC Football 2011: Ranking All 12 Starting Quarterbacks
Each year, the SEC has had a dominant quarterback from Matt Stafford to Tim Tebow to Cameron Newton. This year, the conference will showcase a myriad of young gunslingers and experienced dual-threat quarterbacks. However, none of these guys are household names across the country yet. Which quarterback is going to shine above the rest?
12. Nathan Stanley (Mississippi)
Ole Miss is really bad. Its quarterback fits in perfectly. Stanley has very limited experience and talent, so the SEC schedule should showcase abysmal prospects. If Ole Miss wins one SEC game this year, it would be an accomplishment. Stanley will not be the answer for the Rebels.
Prediction: 1,600 yards, 9 TD and 8 INT
11. Larry Smith (Vanderbilt)
As a dual-threat quarterback who struggles to find running room, Smith is in for another tough season. Smith is not an awful quarterback, but he is on a terrible team in a tough conference. He is very intelligent, so he should be improved from last year.
Prediction: 1,600 yards, 8 TD and 3 INT
10. Chris Relf (Mississippi State)
Option left. Quarterback sweep right. Quarterback dive. Relf is more of a fullback than quarterback in the current offensive system. He can get up to 30 carries a game with as few as eight pass attempts. He did lead Mississippi State to numerous victories last year, but his system is not quarterback friendly, and frankly, he is not much of a quarterback.
Prediction: 1,800 yards, 7 TD and 1 INT
9. John Brantley (Florida)
Coming out of high school, Brantley was one of the most coveted players in the country. Although he is a pro-style quarterback, he chose to attend Florida and its spread attack. That was a complete disaster last year. He split reps with a halfback and tight end. Now with a new pro-style regime in place, Brantley should be more comfortable. He has the potential to rocket up this list into the top three if he can assimilate into the new offense.
Prediction: 2,500 yards, 19 TD and 11 INT
8. Barrett Trotter (Auburn)
No one in the SEC is under more pressure to perform than Trotter. He has to replace one of the all-time great quarterbacks, Cameron Newton, and compete in the stacked SEC West. The chances of him performing anywhere close to Cam Newton are slim to none.
Nevertheless, he can be a good game manager for the Tigers. And with Michael Dyer and Onterio McCalebb returning, Trotter should have good support from the running game. However, he will be on a very short leash, and if he does not perform well, he will likely be replaced by the top dual-threat recruit, Kiehl Frazier.
Prediction: 2,100 Yards, 12 TD and 7 INT
7. Morgan Newton (Kentucky)
As a dual-threat quarterback Newton should be able to add a new spark to the Wildcat offense. Last season Kentucky was a fairly effective offensive unit with Mike Hartline, Randall Cobb and Derrick Locke.
Now that all three are gone, Newton will need to use both his throwing and running abilities to drive the offense down the field. Despite the lack of talent on the offense, look for Newton to show flashes of effectiveness.
Prediction: 2,900 yards, 20 TD and 12 INT
6. Jordan Jefferson (LSU)
Perhaps the streakiest quarterback in the league, Jefferson has elated and disappointed the LSU faithful since his freshman year.
In his freshman year, Jefferson thrilled everyone with his performance against Georgia Tech in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Since then he has struggled to be an effective starting quarterback. Despite his struggles, it would not be a stretch to say that Jefferson could return to his best form to lead the Tigers this year.
Prediction: 2,100 yards, 12 TD and 9 INT
5. A.J. McCarron (Alabama)
This kid has all the talent in the world, and has been impressive in his limited performances thus far. Although McCarron has not yet locked up the starting job, he is the definite leader. With a solid running game and superb defense, there should be limited pressure for McCarron to carry the team.
If he can manage the Crimson Tide offense down the field a few times a game, Bama will have a legitimate shot at a BCS National Championship.
Prediction: 3,100 yards, 15 TD and 4 INT
4. Stephen Garcia (South Carolina)
Last season Garcia was far from impressive. If not for Marcus Lattimore and Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina would have really struggled. He was even benched once for literally dropping the ball against Auburn.
Despite his struggles last season, Garcia will be impressive this year. Carolina will have the best rushing offense in the league, so teams will have to commit to the run. This will leave Jeffery and the other receivers with favorable matchups.
It is important to remember that Garcia has a plethora of experience that will help him lift his team through struggles. The 2011 Garcia will be much different than years past.
Prediction: 3,500 yards, 26 TD and 8 INT
3. Tyler Bray (Tennessee)
At 6’6” and 210 pounds, Bray is a prototypical college quarterback. Last year as a true freshman, Bray managed to reel off four straight wins to end the regular season. From spring onwards, he will take all of the first-team reps, which will only improve his timing and chemistry with his receivers. Tyler Bray isn’t quite a household name, but by season’s end, everyone will know his name.
Prediction: 2,900 yards, 23 TD and 8 INT
2. Aaron Murray (UGA)
After redshirting for a season, Murray came into 2010 as the clear-cut starter and played extremely efficient football. Although the Georgia offense struggled last season, Murray was consistent for them. At 5’11” he is a bit undersized to play quarterback, but he is able to make up for his lack of size with mobile ability. He consistently breaks out of the pocket either to tuck and run or create extra time to find an open receiver. Now as a sophomore, even without A.J. Green, he will be improved.
Prediction: 3,500 yards, 30 TD and 6 INT
1. Tyler Wilson (Arkansas)
Although Wilson struggled to get much playing time last season behind Ryan Mallett, he shined when given opportunities. He showcased his talents last season against Auburn when he threw for over 300 yards and four touchdowns.
Now as a junior, he will be the captain of the most high-powered offense in the SEC, which returns tailback Knile Davis as well as the potent receiving trio of Joe Adams, Jarius Wright and Greg Childs.
Since his defense "can’t stop a nose bleed," Wilson will be forced to put the team on his arm. He will often be forced to throw at least 50 times a game, giving him the most opportunities for success.
Prediction: 4,000 yards, 32 TDs and 9 INT