Obviously, to be a really good football team you are going to need 11 good to great players on offense and 11 more of similar quality on the defensive side. Then, it would be pretty nice to have a good place kicker and a good punter. Some quality depth would be a nice luxury for a really good football program.
It is sort of an important position in football, but as has been said so many times already the Quarterback gets more credit than he deserves and more blame than he deserves as well.
I am going to look at most major college programs and determine what their Quarterback situation looks like. But, first, let’s look at the SEC.
Alabama: This seems almost like a repeat of last season. The Crimson Tide had just lost their senior Quarterback, AJ McCarron and all of the talk around the water cooler was about Florida State transfer, Jake Coker. Senior Quarterback Blake Sims had not looked all that impressive in mop up duties in 2013 and he looked just plain awful in the Spring Game. Bama fans had to be losing it when talking about Quarterback last Spring. But, a funny thing happened during the Fall, Blake Sims actually became better than AJ McCarron and the Crimson Tide never looked back.
But, sadly, Sims was a senior this season so we have the same questions this year as last. Jake Coker was Sims back up this year and should be the favorite next year. Coker has all of the same qualities as last season with the great arm and the mobility. He threw for just over 400 yards this past season.
Coker was expected to start this past season and will be the number one prospect again this year. But, will he finally step up and be the man or will he lose the starting job to junior to be, Alec Morris? Or, will somebody like Cooper Bateman or David Cornwell come from out of nowhere to steal the job? Number one Quarterback prospect in the nation, Blake Barnett, from Corona, California is committed to Alabama. Will he come in and shock the world and grab the starting job away from all of them?
Stick around till next season and find out. Blake Barnett may not win the job this season but he is a fantastic prospect and should make Bama fans giddy. I really liked David Cornwell from last season as well and the Quarterback position at Alabama is in good hands.
Arkansas: The Razorbacks should be set at Quarterback with Senior to be Brandon Allen coming back. Allen threw for over 2,000 yards in 2014 and 18 Touchdowns. The Pigs prefer to run the ball, so Allen is a good Quarterback for them.
The Hogs also have freshman Quarterback Damon Mitchell from Egg Harbor, New Jersey. This season, the Pigs redshirted Rafe Peavey from Bolivar, Missouri and for their next recruiting class they have Ty Storey from Charleston, Arkansas committed.
The Hogs should be in good shape at Quarterback for 2015.
Auburn: Nick Marshall has one more game for the Tigers/War Eagles. Waiting in the wings to replace Marshall is 6-5, 230 Junior to be Jeremy Johnson. Auburn will miss the mobility that Nick Marshall brought, but Johnson is a more traditional Quarterback with a super arm and should be able to take over next season.
Johnson should be the guy if he can beat out redshirt freshman Sean White from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. White is not the physical specimen that Jeremy Johnson is, being 6-1, 200, but he also has a really strong arm and can make all of the throws.
Possibly, they both could be challenged by Junior College transfer, Jason Smith from Mobile, Alabama. I’m not saying he’s another Nick Marshall, but he is talented and may get a shot.
Florida: New Florida Gator football coach Jim McElwain says he can win at Florida with his dog Claribelle playing Quarterback. I am fairly confident that Gator returning starter Treon Harris can out Quarterback Claribelle, but the Florida Quarterback situation is a mess.
Jeff Driskel is still around, but it may be too late for him. Will Grier was one of my favorite Quarterbacks in the last recruiting class and he redshirted this season.
This one is just going to be a wait until Spring Football and even then it’s probably going to be up in the air.
Georgia: Aaron Murray was a 4 year starter for the Georgia Bulldogs and he was missed this past season. But, Hutson Mason did a decent job in his one season for the Dogs at Quarterback. The first guy off of the bench this season was Brice Ramsey and from everything I have seen of Ramsey he is very impressive.
His main competition will be Faton Bauta. Bauta is an impressive athlete, but I think Ramsey has the better arm. Bauta will be a junior next season and Ramsey will be a sophomore.
Then, there is Jacob Park. I don’t know if you have seen Park, but he was a spectacular and very highly recruited Quarterback out of Goose Creek, South Carolina. In my opinion, Ramsey and Park have the most potential, but time will tell.
Stay tuned to Spring Ball with this battle to lead the Bulldogs in 2015.
Kentucky: The Wildcats are set at Quarterback for next season, but if returning starter Patrick Towles has another really good year expect him to be heading to the NFL. Towles is a big guy at 6-5, 240, and he can run. Towles threw for 2,718 yards last season, but kind of faded at the end of the year.
Towles back up should be sophomore Reese Phillips. But, for the long term, watch out for Drew Parker from Hebron, Kentucky.
The Kentucky Wildcats don’t have a lot of football history since Bear Bryant left, but these will be some good years for them over the next few seasons. I think Towles starts next season and then Parker takes over in 2016.
LSU: The Quarterback situation at LSU was not good last season and the natives were restless throughout the season.
True freshman Brandon Harris threw for 452 yards and 6 Touchdowns.
They do have a commitment from Justin McMillan from Cedar Hill, Texas but he is going to need some time to fill out and grow.
Unless Jennings or Harris matures in the off season, the Tigers are going to continue being one dimensional for a while.
Ole Miss: The Rebels have been Bo Wallace for the last 3 seasons and some fans have never been all that happy about that. Now, Wallace is gone and somebody else will need tot step up at Quarterback. The Ole Miss coaching staff brought in transfer Chad Kelly, the nephew of Hall of Fame Quarterback Jim Kelly, but he’s already been arrested. There was a reason that Clemson kicked him off of their team. If Chad Kelly is not in jail, he might challenge for the starting spot for Ole Miss.
Another freshman, Ryan Buchanan, is also in the mix getting about as much playing time as Kincade.
300 pound, short yardage Quarterback Jeremy Liggins is also going to contribute, but I am not sure how much.
Freshman to be, Jason Pellerin could also be in the mix but I hate to depend on a freshman.
Their best shot should be Chad Kelly if he can stay out of trouble. He’s got a strong arm and is very mobile. He would give the Rebels a stronger arm than Bo Wallace with better running ability, but he has to clean up his act.
Otherwise, Kincade and Buchanan will battle for the job in the Spring and early Summer.
Mississippi State: Dak Prescott has graduated from Mississippi State, but has another year of eligibility. Supposedly, he will decide after the Orange Bowl game against Georgia Tech if he will declare or play another year in college. I am suspecting he didn’t get very good news from the NFL advisory board and will not be a high pick.
He could return to school and work on his passing. My thing is just get that degree and he’s already done that and college football is just so much more entertaining than the NFL and I would like to see him back in Starkville.
If he leaves, look for clone Damian Williams to take the job. Williams is a similar build at 6-1,225 and runs well. Williams will be a junior and would be a steady performer for the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs also have redshirt freshman Elijah Staley from Marietta, Georgia who is an intriguing prospect at 6-6, 210 and a former 4 star recruit. I watch either game film or highlight videos of a large majority of these players and Staley looks taller than 6-6 and was an outstanding small forward in high school. He’s a lefty that throws well on the run or in the pocket and has a strong arm. He’s a long strider that is deceptively fast and has as much potential as nearly anyone. I can’t wait to see this kid play at Mississippi State.
They also have Nick Tiano committed from Chattanooga, Tennessee for next season. They must like him a lot since they called Chason Vigil from Mesquite, Texas and pulled his offer. Supposedly, they pushed Vigil to graduate early so he could go through Spring Drills and then they pulled his offer. If true, that’s not a smart move by Miss State coach Dan Mullen and his staff and could come back to haunt them some time.
Missouri: The Tigers are in good shape at Quarterback with Maty Mauk returning for his junior season. Mauk impressed as a freshman when he had to be and was good again as a sophomore when the job was solely his. Mauk is 6-0, 200 so probably should stay in school and make the Tigers a good Quarterback over the next two football seasons.
Mauk was backed up this past season by freshman Eddie Printz from Marrieta, Georgia.
Plus, they have a commitment from a 4 star Quarterback out of Lee’s Summit, Missouri who is really good named Drew Lock. Lock is also a good basketball player which tells us he is a tremendous athlete.
The Quarterback position is in good hands in Columbia, Missouri for a while.
South Carolina: I don’t get a coach like Steve Spurrier who played an won a Heisman Trophy as a Quarterback and then played in the NFL, yet doesn’t prepare a Quarterback for the following season or just in case his starter gets hurt. Dylan Thompson Quarterbacked South Carolina very well this season in his one and only season as a starter, but he is done.
The main back up this season was either freshman Connor Mitch or sophomore Perry Orth. Neither played enough to learn a lot and we will have to go through Spring Ball and maybe the Fall to discover who will Quarterback the Gamecocks in 2015.
Mitch threw 6 passes and Orth threw 2.
Things are not looking great for the South Carolina Gamecocks in 2015.
Tennessee: The Vols are looking completely opposite of the Gamecocks and the future looks sparkling bright. As soon as Joshua Dobbs started playing well for the Vols, the team did a complete turnaround and qualified for a Bowl Game. Dobbs will be a junior next season and the Volunteers should be a contender.
Nathan Peterman should be his backup. The Vols have Quinten Dormady from Boerne, Texas committed for next season but he is really rough around the edges.
If Dobbs stays healthy, then the Volunteers will be a solid ball club.
Texas A%M: The Aggies started off really well last season with Kenny Hill at Quarterback. Things kind of fell apart and Hill was suspended after the Alabama fiasco. Hill never played again after that game and to be perfectly honest I do not know what is going on with him.
Hill had been arrested before the season started and I have no idea if he has a future in football. Allen could be really good in time.
The Aggies have zero depth. These are the only 2 Quarterbacks on campus. They do have Kyler Murray from Allen, Texas committed, but the rumors are swirling about the strength of that commitment.
Vanderbilt: The Commodores had a rough time after James Franklin left them to take the job at Penn State. They went through 4 Quarterbacks last season and finally got some good results out of freshman Johnny McCrary from Decatur, Georgia.
McCrary threw for just under 1000 yards last year. He’s a big strong guy at 6-4, 230 and is Vanderbilt’s best shot at success next season.
Of the four Quarterbacks, Stephen Rivers was a senior and is gone. The others were Patton Robinette, a sophomore and Wade Freebeck who was a freshman.
At least they should have a little depth.
My early predictions for All SEC Quarterbacks right now will be Maty Mauk in the East and obviously Dak Prescott if he returns in the West.