Ranking the SEC’s backup quarterbacks

Previous Rankings:

I’m all about some quarterbacks. Signal callers are what drive fan interest, and let’s face it – sometimes the backup quarterback is the most popular player on the roster.

Several starters have to watch their back in 2013. There’s Missouri’s James Franklin with Maty Mauk on his heels, and Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson are sure to split some time. But don’t forget about Auburn’s situation – the Tigers have four QBs fighting for the job, but I project Kiehl Frazier to get first nod. We’ll see how it plays out.

Anyway, here are the 10 best backups, fueled by rash and aggressive speculation:

Ace in the hole

1. Dylan Thompson, South Carolina (JR)

No doubt the best backup quarterback is South Carolina’s Dylan Thompson. In fact, Thompson is my No. 10 overall quarterback, because of the ice-cold respect he earns from teams coming off the bench. Some say there’s a quarterback controversy, but Shaw’s 17-3 record is too much for Steve Spurrier to not start him. Thompson threw for 1,027 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2012, and he’s a bad, bad man.

Ready to be starters

2. Jonathan Wallace, Auburn (SO) (Projecting Nick Marshall to start)
3. Jalen Whitlow, Kentucky (SO) (Projecting Max Smith to start)
4. Maty Mauk, Missouri (FR)

I went out on a limb and said Jonathan Wallace won’t be named the starter. Kiehl Frazier should get the nod, but Wallace is sure to get some playing time if 2012 is any evidence of Frazier’s game. And yeah, watch out for JUCO transfer Nick Marshall…Kentucky sits in an interesting situation. They have a logical passing quarterback in Max Smith who can wing it 40 times per game, but Jalen Whitlow may give them the best chance to win now, because he’s more mobile. Anyway, I’m giving Smith the edge here, but Whitlow can and will make things happen in 2013…Is calling Maty Mauk the fourth best backup going out on a limb? Maybe, but he has a rocket arm and underrated mobility. And believe me, with Gary Pinkel’s employment possibly hanging in the balance, he won’t hesitate to make a switch if he needs to go that route. Maybe the shear threat of Mauk will push Franklin to new heights

Good backups for the system

5. Dak Prescott, Mississippi State (SO)
6. Barry Brunetti, Ole Miss (SR)
7. Hutson Mason, Georgia (JR)
8. Blake Sims, Alabama (JR)
9. Nathan Peterman, Tennessee (FR) (Projecting Justin Worley to start)

Dak Prescott could have a big career for Mississippi State. The rising sophomore is a dual-threat pounder at 6-2, 230 pounds. He ran for 118 yards and four touchdowns last season…Barry Brunetti lost the starting job to Bo Wallace last season, but he’ll be an asset in 2013. Sure, he hasn’t looked that good to date, but he can spell Wallace so Ole Miss can run more zone-read offense with less worry…Hutson Mason hasn’t seen live rounds in an SEC game yet, but he looks the part of Aaron Murray’s replacement. He’s 27 of 47 for 356 yards and three touchdowns for his career, and he looked serviceable in the spring game…Blake Sims won’t see any significant playing time this season unless AJ McCarron gets hurt, but he’s a dual-threat quarterback who can do some things in the running game, something Alabama hasn’t seen during Nick Saban’s days. Sims has played in nine games and rushed 30 times for 187 yards…Nathan Peterman could earn the starting gig before season’s end. He’s a better fit for Butch Jones’ system because he’s more mobile, but he just lacks experience. He looked solid in the spring game and should be a factor in 2013. We just don’t know how he’s going to react to the bright lights.

Gentle giant

10. Stephen Rivers, LSU

Stephen Rivers is believed to be the tallest LSU quarterback in history at 6-8, and he went 0-2 last season in the passing department. But with a spring and a complete season under new OC Cam Cameron, Rivers is gaining some valuable experience.

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