Preview 2010 - SEC Quarterback Rankings
LSU QB Jordan Jefferson
Tim Tebow? A Bronco. Jevan Snead? Gone. The SEC might have some top-shelf talent at quarterback, like Ryan Mallett, John Brantley, Stephen Garcia, and LSU's Jordan Jefferson, but good luck naming the projected starter for seven teams. Check out the CFN Preview 2010 SEC Quarterback Rankings.
Preview 2010 - SEC
The Top Quarterbacks
- SEC Skill Position Rankings
1. Ryan Mallett, Jr. Arkansas
At 6-7 and 238 pounds, he has tremendous size, a huge arm, and is a pure pro bomber who's expected to take Arkansas to a whole other level. Expected to shine right away, after getting a year off after transferring to learn the offense and to figure out what he's doing, he blew up from the start highlighted by a 409-yard, five touchdown day in the loss to Georgia. He finished the season as the SEC's best passer completing 56% of his throws for 3,624 yards and 30 touchdowns with seven interceptions. Consistency will be a key and he needs to be far better against the top teams. Against Alabama, Florida, Ole Miss, LSU, and in the bowl against East Carolina, he completed 68-of-171 of his throws (just 39.7%) and with five touchdown passes while never throwing for more than 254 yards.
2. John Brantley, Jr. Florida
The 6-3, 218-pound star-in-waiting could've started almost anywhere else a few years ago, but he always dreamed of becoming a Gator, his dad and brother both went to UF, and former star quarterback Kerwin Bell was his high school coach. The NFL arm is there with a tight rotation, tremendous zip, and a pocket poise and presence that Tim Tebow could only dream of owning. However, while Brantley can run from time to time, he's never going to be Tebow when it comes to running for the key first down, and it's asking the world to take over for one of the most accomplished legends in college football history.
3. Stephen Garcia, Jr. South Carolina
As a top recruit with 6-2, 230-pound size, good mobility, a live arm, and a nasty streak for good on the field and bad off of it (getting suspended off and on early in his career), he has been fine so far, but not great. He only completed 55% of his throws for 2,862 yards and 17 touchdowns with ten interceptions last season, but he eight of his picks over the final eight games with one give away in each of those but one. To be fair, he didn't have a chance behind a line that gave him no time whatsoever to operate, but he'll be on a short leash this year if the offense doesn't start to produce under his watch. While he can run, gaining 186 yards and four touchdowns, he's not a perfect fit for all the things the offense is going to want to do this year. Even so, he's not the problem with the offense and the more time he gets to work, the better he'll be.
4. Greg McElroy, Sr. Alabama
Despite the perception, the 6-3, 225-pounder actually is a passer and was a good prospect coming out of Southlake Carroll High in Texas where he threw for 56 touchdowns in the year after taking over for former Missouri star, Chase Daniel. But it's not his role to bomb away in the Bama offense, and he didn't as he completed 61% of his throws for 2,508 yards and 17 touchdowns with (and here comes the key) a mere four interceptions. The myth, though, is that he just spent his year handing off to Mark Ingram. The senior hit the 200-yard mark seven times, and while he hit a mega-wall in the middle of the year after starting out red hot, the team still survived.
5. Jordan Jefferson, Jr. LSU
The 6-5, 220-pound Jefferson is supposed to take the next step up in the progression and become the type of player who carries a talented SEC team to big things, but he struggled with his consistency this offseason and was way too erratic in practices. In 2009, he came up with a nice year after completing 61% of his passes for 2,166 yards and 17 touchdowns with seven interceptions, while showing some mobility with 171 rushing yards and a score. Talented and with the drive to be better, he'll turn out to be terrific; the mediocre offseason was an aberration if he can be more decisive and improve his decision making ability.
6. Cam Newton, Jr. Auburn
The 6-6, 242-pound bomber started out his career at Florida, had an incident over an alleged theft of a laptop, and ended up transferring. After spending a year leading Blinn College to the NJCAA National Championship with 2,833 yards and 22 touchdowns, with 655 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns, he was a hot prospect once again and he's the near-perfect fit for the Tiger attack. He's big, fast, and he knows how to handle the up-tempo style the offense is going to demand. If everything works out according to plan, he'll become a statistical superstar.
7. Nathan Stanley, Soph. Ole Miss
Stanley has the upside and the potential to be a star with 6-5, 215-pound size, decent mobility, and a live arm. He saw a little bit of time last season completing 48% of his throws for 163 yards and a touchdown with an interception, but he was far better in practices and looked like a No. 1 target this spring. He knows what he's doing, knows the playbook, and he should be more consistent than Jevan Snead even with his little bit of experience.
8. Aaron Murray, RFr. Georgia
In a war of attrition, the 6-1, 206-pound redshirt freshman ended up getting the job, but he had a tenuous hold at best this offseason before rising to the top. He's not that big, but last year's star recruit out of Tampa has a cannon for a right arm and has decent mobility and toughness. He broke his leg in high school, but he rebounded to lead his team to a Florida state title. He has looked just good enough to be given a shot to grow into the job, but the spotlight and the pressure will be on to take the passing game to a level it wasn't at last year under Joe Cox.
9. Mike Hartline, Sr. Kentucky
He might not have the biggest upside and he might not be the most talented quarterback on the roster, but Hartline has shown his resiliency, coming back from a knee injury to be in the hunt for the starting job again. At 6-6 and 206 pounds, he has good size and enough experience to know what he's doing, throwing for 1,666 yards and nine touchdowns and eight interceptions in 2008, but he has to show he can get the offense moving and he has to prove he isn't a statue. A pure drop-back passer, he looks the part and will have his moments, but he has to cut down on his interceptions after throwing seven in his limited action last year, to offset six touchdown passes. The job is his, and he has to be head-and-shoulders better than the other options.
10. Larry Smith, Jr. Vanderbilt
The 6-2, 220-pound junior struggled to generate points last year completing just 47% of his throws for 1,126 yards with four touchdowns and seven interceptions, and he finished third on the team with 213 yards and two scores. He came up with a nice game in the win over Rice, throwing for 268 yards, but he couldn't carry the offense by himself and ended up missing the second half of the year with a torn hamstring. A winner who led his high school team to the Alabama state title, he'll be better with more help around him, but he also has to be far more efficient and far better on third downs.
11. Chris Relf, Jr. Mississippi State
There will be a steady rotation at quarterback, and while everyone wants to see Tyler Russell, Relf is the veteran who turned into saw plenty of work last year completing 22-of-41 passes for 283 yards and five touchdowns with three interceptions. While two of his picks came in the second game of the season, he still wasn't the most polished passer. After making great strides this offseason, he should be more than just a runner with better touch and improved decision making ability. His strength, though, is as a load of a runner coming up with 500 yards and two touchdowns including 131 yards and a score on 15 carries in the win over Ole Miss. At 6-4 and 240 pounds, he's a very big, very tough runner to bring down, and if he can show even more improvement as a passer, he'll get more time.
12. Matt Simms, Jr. Tennessee
Simms isn't as good as his brother, Chris, and he certainly isn't as talented as his dad, Phil, but the Louisville transfer will get the first look at the starting job despite a rocky offseason. At 6-3 and 209 pounds he has good size and a decent arm, but his main assets at the moment are his experience, having thrown for 2,204 yards and 17 touchdowns for El Camino CC, and his personality, he's extremely likeable and a natural leader. However, he also threw 12 picks at the JUCO level and completed just 4-of-10 passes for 39 yards and a pick at Louisville. While he's the safe option at the moment, he might be quickly replaced to get one of the young prospects some key playing time.