The 2019 season was undoubtedly an interesting one when it pertains to the quarterback position. Especially so in the SEC. Back before the season began, we ranked the top five SEC quarterbacks entering the season. Now that the dust has settled with the season ending over a week ago, it is a good time to look at the list again. Four of the signal callers that made the top five in the preseason do find themselves on the postseason edition. In the preseason rankings a statement was made that there were two first round draft picks in the conference. While that is still true, one of the two has changed.
Who Were The Top Five Quarterbacks In SEC In 2019?
#1. Joe Burrow, LSU
Preseason rank: #3
No debate here, right? Joe Burrow did not just make a great leap from last season to this season, but perhaps the biggest leap by a quarterback in the history of college football. Burrow was a good quarterback in 2018, but he was not on anybody’s radar as a Heisman candidate or the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Burrow passed for 5,671 yards and 60 touchdowns. That was an improvement from his 2,894 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2018. Those numbers are great improvements but the one that is the most astonishing is the completion percentage. Going from 58% to 76% is just not something that has been seen by a quarterback before. His run in the College Football Playoffs was amazing. In the two playoff games he passed for 12 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Burrow will always have legend status in Baton Rouge but now he will try to replicate that in the NFL with most likely the Cincinnati Bengals.
#2. Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
Preseason rank: #1
It was another disappointing season for Tua Tagovailoa and the Alabama Crimson Tide. Tua put some incredible numbers in 2019 throwing for 2,840 yards and 33 touchdowns. When he was on the field there was not a defense that could slow the high-powered Alabama offense down. An ankle injury in mid-season and a hip injury against Mississippi State ended any hope of a Heisman Trophy or more importantly a National Championship. Without Tua, Alabama was not able to win a wild shootout against the Auburn Tigers that eliminated the Crimson Tide from the College Football Playoffs. Tua had a great career at Alabama and broke records but it feels like he didn’t quite accomplish everything he could have had the injuries not had the impact that they did.
#3: Jake Fromm, Georgia
Preseason rank: #3
If there is one word that can define Jake Fromm it is winner. Fromm went 35-7 in three years as a starter at Georgia with three SEC Championship appearances that includes the 2017 championship. Like Alabama, Georgia had high expectations for 2019. The season was an offensive struggle for the Bulldogs that saw them lean heavy on their defense. Fromm saw his completion percentage drop from 67% to 62%. His touchdowns also went down from 30 in 2018 to 24. That was largely due to an almost new supporting cast surrounding Fromm. The Bulldogs lost their top five leading receivers and the new group showed signs to being good but were inconsistent. Fromm announced after the season that he would enter the NFL Draft. The reigns of the offense will now be turned over to Wake Forest transfer Jamie Newman.
#4: Kyle Trask, Florida
Preseason rank: NR
In the preseason, a Florida quarterback held down the fourth spot, but that was Feleipe Franks. Franks had showed great improvement towards the end of the 2018 season and it was believed he would continue that trajectory. Franks was up and down the first couple of games, but sustained a season ending leg injury late in the third quarter against Kentucky. Enter Kyle Trask. The Gators were down 21-10 at the point, and Trask would lead the team to three fourth quarter touchdowns for a 29-21 victory. The following week against Tennessee, Trask made his first start since his freshman season in high school. Trask spent his high school career as the back-up to D’ Eriq King. It was just the beginning of a breakout season for Trask. On the year he threw for 2,941 yards with 25 touchdowns and a completion percentage of 67%. The Gators ended the season at 11-2 with the only two losses coming against LSU and Georgia in games that Florida were competitive in throughout. For 2020, Trask will be one of the better returning starters in the SEC and a potential favorite to get to Atlanta.
#5: Kellen Mond, Texas A&M
Preseason rank: #5
It was a solid 2019 for Kellen Mond. Mond finished third in passing yards with 2,897 and fifth in touchdowns with 20. The Aggies had one of the toughest schedules in all of college football playing five top-ten teams. Texas A&M went 0-5 in those games and were also hampered by a lack of running game most of the season. That meant more pressure on Mond to carry the team. He ended the season as the Aggies second leading rusher with 500 yards and eight scores. Mond will be one of the most experienced quarterbacks heading into the 2020 season and look improve not only his status as a player but help Texas A&M take the next step as a program.
2020 will be a year of change at quarterback in the SEC with Burrow, Tagovailoa, Fromm, and others moving on. More signal callers to look out for will be Auburn’s Bo Nix, Feleipe Franks at Arkansas, and Tennessee’s Jarrett Guarantano.