I don’t think it’s much of stretch to say the ACC got the better of the SEC this past season. There are plenty of reasons for that tossed around, although the two that appear to have gotten the most traction are the relative experience levels of the two conference’s head coaches and quarterback play.
The latter, especially, is hard to argue with, but it’s not as if the SEC wasn’t trying.
From 2012-16, SEC teams signed 39 four- or five-star quarterbacks, according to 247Sports. So far, only one of those recruits turned into a very important player who finished his career at the same school: Tennessee Volunteers ‘s Joshua Dobbs . Major SEC recruits like David Cornwell , Kyler Murray , Kyle Allen , Kenny Hill , Will Grier , Maty Mauk, Hayden Rettig and Zeke Pike have come and gone…
The hit-rate scoreboard on these quarterback recruits: 14 percent for the ACC, 3 percent for the SEC.
That, friends, is a boatload of whiffing.
The question going forward is whether the worm is about to turn again.
The SEC had one passer in 2016 ranked among the top 25 quarterback rating (Dobbs), according to CFBStats.com. The ACC had six (Pittsburgh’s Nathan Peterman, North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky, Virginia Tech’s Jerod Evans, Watson, Kaaya and Jackson).
However, only Jackson will return from that group in 2017. The SEC will bank on the possible bright futures of Hurts, Ole Miss Rebels ‘ Shea Patterson, Georgia’s Jacob Eason, Florida’s Feleipe Franks, Tennessee’s Jarrett Guarantano and South Carolina’s Jake Bentley . Half of the top-14 rated quarterback recruits in 2017 are going to the ACC or SEC, including No. 2 Hunter Johnson to Clemson and No. 3 Tua Tagovailoa to Alabama.
Clemson and FSU will be okay, but you get Solomon’s point there. Should be interesting to see how that plays out over the next couple of seasons.