This is a good piece by Bud Elliott, making the case that, indeed, 2018 may be the time when the SEC’s quarterbacks rise up to become a real factor.
It’s certainly been a while since the conference has been in such a lofty position. We all recognized the fall off in Athens post-Aaron Murray, but Elliott makes the point that the regression was conference-wide.
It’s odd that QB would be the position of weakness, considering how well the SEC recruits every other position.
Much of the recent lull can be tied to a major recruiting failure following the 2013 season, which featured the SEC’s best group of QBs in a while, including Johnny Manziel, Aaron Murray, Zach Mettenberger, A.J. McCarron, and Connor Shaw, all of whom ranked in the top 15 in passer rating.
In 2014, the SEC signed seven of the 11 top-rated QBs in the country, with some of them expected to eventually replace 2013’s stars. None panned out in the SEC.
Texas A&M’s Kyle Allen transferred to Houston. Florida’s Will Grier transferred to West Virginia following a suspension. LSU’s Brandon Harris transferred to North Carolina. Alabama’s David Cornwell transferred to Nevada. Kentucky’s Drew Barker hasn’t found success. Georgia’s Jacob Park transferred to Iowa State. And Auburn’s Sean White was dismissed.
Bad run of luck, or bad player development? Probably a combination of both, but it looks like the conference is on a real upswing now.