Looking at Matt Hinton’s first preseason projection of the likely crop of conference starters in 2021, it’s striking how sizeable the gap appears to be between Ole Miss and Georgia on one side, and the rest of the conference on the other.
First of all, here’s the list of returning starters (2020 passer ratings in parenthesis): Matt Corral (177.61); JT Daniels (178.50); Miles Brennan (154.75); Bo Nix (123.94); Will Rogers (123.49); Connor Bazelak (132.05); and Ken Seals (127.62).
That’s half the league. The other half will see some variation of quarterbacks in waiting, like Florida’s Emory Jones, and a bunch of somewhat to fully blank slates.
Now, certainly there’s upside with several of these QBs. Young will be Alabama’s starter, enough said. Brennan is surrounded with talent and should benefit from a better coaching staff, assuming that’s the case. Bazelak showed promise in spots during the 2020 season. (Jones, for that matter, is a better fit for what Mullen traditionally wants from his quarterbacks.)
But, for now, in terms of established 2020 performance, staff stability and surrounding cast, Georgia and Ole Miss start with a leg up on the rest of the SEC. In a quarterback-centric world, that’s a big deal.