Who are the top five quarterbacks in the SEC?
Traditionally the Southeastern Conference has been known as a line of scrimmage league, where being able to run the football was a must. Over the last few seasons, the SEC has been transformed into a passing league where most of the teams are now running a version of the spread. To do that, one must have a good or great quarterback. Despite losing several terrific signal-callers to the NFL, the depth at the position is unquestioned. In fact, 2019 possesses two potential first-round draft picks for the 2020 NFL Draft.
Top Five SEC Quarterbacks
#1: Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
There is no question that Tua Tagovailoa is the best returning quarterback this season in the SEC. The 2018 Heisman runner-up set the FBS record for passing efficiency and threw for a staggering 3,966 yards and 43 touchdowns. The big numbers will continue this season, but Tua and the Alabama team have unfinished business to attend to. While 2018 was a great season, it did not end the way the Crimson Tide wanted and Tua struggled down the stretch with injuries. The offense may look different with new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian but expect to see Tua in contention for the Heisman and National Championship once again.
#2: Jake Fromm, Georgia
Put Jake Fromm and in any other conference, and he would be the best. The actuality is Fromm is just as good as any quarterback in college football today. What holds him back? Well, Georgia runs a more traditional style offense that requires Fromm to be more a game-manager than a gunslinger like most spread quarterbacks. After just two seasons in Athens, Fromm has thrown for 5,376 yards and 54 touchdowns, but the most important statistic is his 25-5 record as the Georgia starter. The main concern for this season though would be that Georgia is replacing their top five receivers from last season, and adjusting to new offensive coordinator James Coley.
#3: Joe Burrow, LSU
It seems like quarterback has always been a question going into any season for the LSU Tigers. Well, 2019 is different. Joe Burrow really is the engine that makes the Tigers go with his toughness and leadership. There isn’t a situation or venue that will intimidate Burrow. The best example is his first SEC start last season. LSU was on the road at Auburn in the always loud Jordan-Hare Stadium. In that game, Burrow led LSU to a comeback victory that would give the team the momentum for the rest of the season to finish with ten wins. The numbers were solid in 2018 for Burrow with 2,894 yards and 16 touchdowns. Those numbers will see an increase with the arrival of passing coordinator Joe Brady, and a more spread look for LSU.
#4: Feleipe Franks, Florida
Feleipe Franks comes into the 2019 season with tons of momentum from 2018. After being benched during a 38-17 blowout loss to Missouri, Franks became a different quarterback. During the final four games, Franks had a completion rate of 65% with 862 yards and eight touchdowns to zero interceptions. The biggest development though was that Franks became a more willing runner in those final four outings. The Gators took a big leap in 2018 by winning 10 games and defeating Michigan in 41-15 in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl. If Franks can get improve consistency through the air, as well as taking advantage of his running ability, the Gators could be looking at a very special season.
#5: Kellen Mond, Texas A&M
Just like Franks, Kellen Mond had a lot of questions going into the 2018 season. Many wondered if the once-prized recruit would just be relegated to a career backup after the struggles in 2017. That’s one of the reasons Jimbo Fisher was brought to College Station. While at Florida State, Fisher coached three quarterbacks that were first-round NFL Draft picks (Christian Ponder, E.J. Manuel, and Jameis Winston). Mond may not make into the first round, but great improvement was shown by Mond under the guidance of Fisher. Mond finished sixth in passing yards (3,107) and fifth in touchdowns (24). That was after a 2017 season just throwing for 1,375 and eight touchdowns. The development of Mond will be intriguing to watch with more being put on his shoulders with Trayveon Williams now in the NFL.
There were other quarterbacks in the SEC that very easily can crack this top five throughout the season. Fans should keep an eye out for Kelly Bryant (Missouri), Jake Bentley (South Carolina), and Jarrett Guarantano (Tennessee). Each week during the season we will update this ranking with breakdowns on how each quarterback ranks.
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