SEC Football: 10 Best SEC Quarterbacks of All Time

Jake Martin@JakeMartinSECCorrespondent IIIMay 13, 2013

SEC Football: 10 Best SEC Quarterbacks of All Time

0 of 11

    Tim Tebow or Cam Newton? Archie Manning or Joe Namath?

    These are the some of the most remarkable quarterbacks in SEC history, but which quarterback is the greatest? And hey, where does the new guy, Johnny Manziel, fall in this debate?

    In devising a historical list of the most stellar quarterbacks this conference has ever seen, the qualifications to be judged by are wins, championships, athletic ability, records and capability to lead his team on the field.

    These are the best quarterbacks to ever do that in the SEC.

Honorable Mention: AJ McCarron

1 of 11

    Hear this one out, will ya?

    AJ McCarron might not have the gaudy stats or the national awards that most of the men on this list have, but he certainly has the championships.

    McCarron has won back-to-back championships with the Crimson Tide, while throwing for 5,985 yards, 49 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

    Should McCarron win another championship with Alabama, he should go down as the greatest quarterback in the school's rich history.

10. Johnny Manziel

2 of 11

    Johnny Manziel is destined to be on the top five of this list. He still has some work to do, though.

    Did he win any championships? Not yet.

    Manziel, did however, become the first freshman to ever win the Heisman trophy, and he did it during Texas A&M's inaugural SEC season. Impressive stuff.

    He won that championship by being electrifying. Manziel not only accumulated 47 total touchdowns, but he also led the SEC in rushing.

    Still, he has yet to conquer the SEC. Should Manziel repeat last season and add some championships to his resume, he could go down as one of greatest quarterbacks in SEC history. However, the lack of hardware for the time being finds Johnny Football leading off this historic list.

9. Tim Couch

3 of 11

    Tim Couch's name is on repeat in the SEC record books.

    Couch is the all-time leader in completion percentage in the conference, first in most passing yards in a season and third in SEC history with touchdown passes in a season. He was the SEC Player of the Year in 1998 and a Heisman finalist.

    Couch never led his Wildcats to an SEC championship, though.

    In fact, Couch's Wildcats only won 12 total games with him as the full-time starter. Couch might have lit up the scoreboard and stat sheets, but he failed to lead his Wildcats to victory.

8. Pat Sullivan

4 of 11

    The year 1971 was proclaimed as the year of the running back. Somebody forgot to notify Pat Sullivan.

    With 2,012 passing yards and 20 touchdowns, Sullivan earned the 1971 Heisman Trophy.

    Sullivan was a pioneer. Before Cam Newton gifted Auburn fans with high-scoring contests, Sullivan was doing it in the early '70s.

    In three seasons, Sullivan helped the Tigers attain a 25-5 record while averaging 34 points a game.

7. Peyton Manning

5 of 11

    Manning. If you didn't expect to see that name a few times on this list, then, well, you're as disoriented as Bob Stoops.

    Though Eli just missed the list with his impressive tenure at Ole Miss, Peyton graces the top 10 because of his phenomenal career at Tennessee.

    Because it isn't done enough, let's compare the Manning brothers. this time on the college level. Peyton passed for 915 more yards, six more touchdowns and three fewer interceptions. Peyton won the Maxwell, Davey O'Brien, Johnny Unitas and the Sullivan his senior season. He also finished as a runner-up in the 1997 Heisman race.

    Peyton made a larger impact at Tennessee than his brother did at Ole Miss. However, simply because Manning could never beat Florida and came short of winning national championships, he falls behind one other Manning in the top 10 SEC quarterbacks list.

6. Archie Manning

6 of 11

    Peyton and Eli might have had the better professional careers, but their daddy made a bigger name for himself in college.

    Why? Well, he grabbed the attention of the greatest college football coach of all time—Paul "Bear" Bryant.

    In an article posted by the New York Times in 2003, Joe Drape wrote that Bryant once stated, "Archie Manning is the greatest quarterback I have ever seen play."

    Enough said.

    Manning finished his career throwing for 4,753 yards, along with 56 touchdowns. He was named the Most Valuable Player in the Southeastern Conference in 1969.

5. Steve Spurrier

7 of 11

    Before he was the ol' ball coach, he was one of Florida's finest quarterbacks.

    Like Sullivan and Manning, Steve Spurrier paved the way for the quarterbacks of today. Spurrier was just as animated back then as he is today.

    In a game against Auburn, he waved the placekicker off the field to kick a critical field goal to win the game. Spurrier finished his career at Florida with 4,848 passing yards and 37 touchdowns.

    Spurrier won the Heisman Trophy in 1966 after a stellar senior season.

4. Danny Wuerffel

8 of 11

    The greatest quarterback in Florida history was Mr. Danny Wuerffel.

    Wuerffel not only captured the 1996 Heisman Trophy, he also led the Gators to a national championship while coached by Spurrier.

    Wuerffel is a staple in the SEC record books. He stands fourth all-time in passing efficiency, fifth in total touchdowns scored and ninth in most yards thrown in a season.

    In his four seasons with the Gators, Wuerffel completed 708 of 1,170 passes for 10,875 yards and 114 touchdown passes. To say Wuerffel aired it out in Gainesville would be an understatement.

3. Cam Newton

9 of 11

    It's hard to make a better first impression (on the field) than Cam Newton.

    In Newton's first season with the Auburn Tigers, he managed to win a national championship, win the Heisman Trophy, accumulate 51 total touchdowns and break the SEC record for most rushing yards by a quarterback.

    Not too shabby. Those accomplishments are spectacular to say the least, but watching him operate the quarterback position was simply marvelous.

    Newton was gifted with a size, speed and athletic ability that is unmatched by anyone in history. Had he stayed for his senior season and ruled college football again, he would have easily attained the No. 1 spot on this list.

2. Joe Namath

10 of 11

    Broadway Joe was Bear Bryant's greatest quarterback.

    More importantly, Joe Namath was the greatest quarterback to ever wear Crimson.

    Though Namath didn't win the Heisman Trophy, he was considered to be the best player in football. Namath was flamboyant, athletic and accurate with the football. He led the Crimson Tide to a national championship in 1964, and he threw for 2,713 yards and 24 touchdowns under the Bear.

    If Namath would have been injury-free for his entire football career, he could have been the greatest to ever man the quarterback position. Heck, he's considered to be one of the greatest despite those injuries.

1. Tim Tebow

11 of 11

    Love him or hate him, you can't deny that Tim Tebow is a college football legend.

    He's undoubtedly the greatest quarterback to ever grace the SEC. Let's run through the checklist, shall we?

    Wins? Tebow led the Gators to 35 total as the starter.

    Championships? Tebow either led or contributed to two national championships and two SEC championships.

    Stats? Tebow holds the most touchdowns in a single season record in the SEC with 55 and is the all-time leader in passing efficiency. In four seasons with the Gators, Tebow amassed 9,285 passing yards, 2,947 rushing yards and 145 total touchdowns. He also won the Heisman Trophy in 2007.

    As great as all of Tebow's stats may be, his greatest quality was his leadership on and off the field. He was the heart of the Gators, and he willed his team to victory time and time again. The SEC has never seen a greater captain.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.