If you think that one big reason the SEC appeared to be down last season is because of the relatively sparse great quarterback play – and when you read something like this…
The conference had a high water mark in 2013 with eight quarterbacks having a season passing efficiency of at least 140, headlined by the likes of Johnny Manziel, Zach Mettenberger, AJ McCarron, Aaron Murray, Nick Marshall, and Connor Shaw. Not included in those eight were Bo Wallace, who’d top the 140 mark in Ole Miss’s breakout 2014 season, and young versions of Brandon Allen and Dak Prescott, who were two of the best signal callers this past year.
In 2015, only five SEC quarterbacks hit 140: Allen, Chad Kelly, Prescott, Jake Coker, and Greyson Lambert. Lambert’s splits show that he only squeaked out a 141.5 because he torched bad teams to make up for mediocre-at-best performances against good teams. Florida’s Will Grier had a shot at beating 140, but then he got busted for PEDs and has since transferred.
… it’s hard to argue against that proposition – then the 2016 recruiting class may help the conference’s perception dramatically in the coming years.
This year, though, the SEC is bringing in one of its best quarterback bunches in recent memory. It should be a cause for excitement. Here are the headlining quarterbacks of the 2016 class. The stars and ratings are from the 247SportsComposite, and “EE” means early enrollee.
Player Team Style EE? Stars Rating Shea Patterson Ole Miss Pro Yes 5 0.9979 Jacob Eason Georgia Pro Yes 5 0.9973 Feleipe Franks Florida Pro Yes 4 0.9721 Jarrett Guarantano Tennessee Dual No 4 0.9612 Brandon McIlwain South Carolina Dual Yes 4 0.9254 Jalen Hurts Alabama Dual Yes 4 0.9231 Woody Barrett Auburn Dual No 4 0.9149
Only seven quarterbacks achieved a rating of at least .9600, and SEC schools have secured at least a firm commitment from four of them. Patterson and Eason are the only 5-star quarterbacks, and they’ve already enrolled.
That is an impressive haul. We’ll see if it pays off.